Walmart has committed to continued sourcing from Bangladesh and to improve safety standards in the country.

The world’s largest retailer said that it is working with authorities and suppliers to improve working conditions in Bangladesh.

The commitment follows both the collapse of a building housing clothing factories - which did not supply Walmart - last week, and a fire at one of its suppliers, Tazreen Fashions, last November which killed 112 workers.

A Walmart spokeswoman said: “Bangladesh continues to be an important sourcing market for Walmart. We welcome the opportunity to work with the respective governments, suppliers and factories to improve worker safety conditions and standards.”

Bangladeshi press reports in March suggested that Walmart might seek to reduce the volume of clothing sourced from Bangladesh from next year, but it is understood this is not the case.

Earlier this month Walmart donated $1.6m to launch the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Academy in Bangladesh to provide comprehensive training on fire safety and environmental, health and workplace safety.

The retailer has also introduced a “zero tolerance” policy on unauthorised subcontracting and strengthened its fire safety standards in Bangladesh.

The EHS Academy will focus on improving fire safety, water management, improving gender equality in the workplace and creating professional opportunities for Bangladeshi women. 

Walmart subsidiary Asda is also working on initiatives to improve working conditions, staff training and factory efficiencies in Bangladesh through its Lean programme.

The death toll following the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza in Savar reached 400 yesterday and the death toll is expected to rise significantly.

A far-reaching new safety code is being drawn up for retailers that source from Bangladesh via the Ethical Trade Initiative.