Two years on from the Rana Plaza disaster, a new social media campaign aims to highlight the importance of understanding the length of a retail supply chain.

April 25 marked the two anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh in which 1,129 people lost their lives.

Last year, April 25 was renamed Fashion Revolution Day, with a campaign running across 71 countries to encourage transparency across the supply chain. This year, people are remembering the disaster by asking retailers #whomademyclothes.

Orsola de Castro, co-founder of Fashion Revolution Day, said: “If companies don’t know how and where their products are made, then there’s no way for them to ensure their workers are protected.

“Transparency is important because it shows a company’s willingness to be held accountable for its supply chain and this builds up public trust.”

Criticism of compensation payments

Factories in the Rana Plaza building supplied large fashion retailers, and the tragedy prompted international action leading to the establishment of the Rana Plaza Agreement to coordinate aid payments.

This called for the 29 brands that were associated with the factories to pay compensation to the victims of the collapse.

Many retailers have been criticised for their lack or late payments to the fund.

Two retailers that have paid are Primark and Benetton Group, but social and ethical groups are calling on brands and retailers to contribute compensation to the fund.

Last month, the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and Social Accountability International (SAI) specifically called on those businesses that sourced from Rana Plaza but have not yet “stepped up” to contribute urgently.

ETI director Peter McAllister said: “It is unacceptable that nearly two years after the Rana Plaza disaster, some victims and their families are still waiting for the compensation they are due. We hope this joint call with BSCI and SAI sends a strong signal to companies that sourced from Rana Plaza and have not yet made payments.

“We also hope this spurs donations from others that source from Bangladesh, so that victims and their families can get on with living their lives.”

The groups are hoping that the anniversary will serve as a timely reminder to those retailers that have not already paid their contribution to do so, and combined with the consumer pressure from the new social media campaign, that the families will finally get the compensation they deserve.