An international study is looking into the consequences that might be drawn from the collapse of the Bangladeshi textile factory Rana Plaza, the most serious accident in the history of the textile and clothing industry. The study is being coordinated by Junior Professor Elke Schüßler from Freie Universität Berlin's School of Business and Economics. On April 24, 2013, the nine-story factory building in the town of Savar Upazila collapsed. More than 1100 people died in the disaster, and more than 2400 were injured. The operator had ignored life-threatening construction defects. The research project "Changes in the Governance of Garment Global Production Networks: Lead Firm, Supplier and Institutional Responses to the Rana Plaza Disaster" is being supported with 800,000 euros from the Europe and Global Challenges program that is sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.
The aim of the three-year study is to identify appropriate governance structures for the observance of labor and environmental standards in global production networks in the apparel trade. The project will examine the responses to Rana Plaza from the perspective of all the actors involved in the production process, from Western commercial enterprises to factory workers in Bangladesh.
The project partners are the University of New South Wales in Sydney, the London School of Economics, the University of Gothenburg, and the BRAC University in Bangladesh. The international research consortium is being coordinated at Freie Universität Berlin.