During the fall 2014 semester, Alicia Miller (MBA '15) and I started working with the Center through the Stern Signature Projects program to map garment factories in Bangladesh. The project grew out of the Center's report (PDF) on indirect sourcing and the need to know where garments actually are being produced.
Last semester, Alicia and I gathered data from five publicly available databases:
- Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments, Ministry of Labour and Employment
- Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association
- Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association
- Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety
- Alliance on Bangladesh Worker Safety
We consolidated the data into a single spreadsheet that contains more than 10,000 records, including many duplicates (naturally the same factory could be listed in more than one database). The Center estimates that there actually are between 5,000 and 6,000 factories and facilities producing for the export market, only some of which appear in these databases.
This semester, our goal is to place each of these records on a map to identify "hot spots" of garment production in Bangladesh. The map will serve as the basis for a physical survey to identify both registered and unregistered facilities.
Sarah Manning (MBA '16) is a graduate fellow with the Center and a former urban planner. She is starting her own line of ethically sourced accessories from India.