Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Visits BSR’s HERproject Factory in Bangladesh

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Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Visits BSR’s HERproject Factory in Bangladesh

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Monday, July 1, 2013 - 3:00am

CONTENT: Press Release

Paris/San Francisco, July 1, 2013 /3BL Media/ - In a two-day visit in Bangladesh focusing on the garment industry, Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, visited a BSR HERproject factory in Dhaka.

Minister Ploumen’s visit in Bangladesh focused on the working conditions in the garment sector and coordinated with the announcement that the Netherlands will contribute €9 million to support the industry’s responsible growth, specifically, improvement of working conditions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands provides financial support to BSR’s HERproject – a global women’s empowerment program that provides sexual and reproductive health education in factories and farms in Asia and Africa. HERproject’s activities in Bangladesh continue to grow, with 14 multinational companies and more than 30 factories participating.

The Minister’s visit included HERproject as an efficient and impactful example of existing workforce empowerment and condition improvement models in Bangladesh.

“The strength of HERproject lies in the dissemination of knowledge about health, family planning, and hygiene, which is knowledge normally not obtainable for women working in the factories. This is a unique opportunity to reach out to workers way beyond the factory walls,” said Anne Katrine Berthold Blirup, Corporate Sustainability at BESTSELLER, which is sponsoring a HERproject program at the factory the minister visited.

HERproject has reached more than 220,000 female workers in 200 factories and farms in eight countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

As the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh makes all too clear, the factory jobs in our global supply chain carry significant risks for the millions of people who fill them—the majority of whom are women under the age of 30,” said Racheal Meiers, HERproject Director, BSR. “Beyond ensuring basic building safety, we also need to invest aggressively in the women employed in these factories to help them realize their full potential.”

The minister’s visit came after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands awarded a US$1.77 million grant to BSR’s HERproject earlier this year.

About HERproject
Launched in 2007 in China, BSR’s HERproject links multinational companies and their factories to local NGOs to create sustainable workplace programs that increase women’s health awareness. Working with HERproject partner RAISE Health, BSR also seeks to demonstrate the return on investment for factory-based women’s health programs. HERproject is active in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Participating companies include Abercrombie & Fitch, ANN Inc., Burberry, Clarks, Columbia Sportswear, George, H&M, HP, J. Crew, Levi Strauss & Co., Li & Fung, Lindex, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Primark, and Timberland. For more information about HERproject, visit www.herproject.org.

About BSR
BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit www.bsr.org for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

Stéphanie Leblanc
Europe Communications Manager, BSR
+33 1 46 47 28 05