Toxic Tanneries: Human Rights Watch report
Bangladesh is widely known as significant exporter of garments to major Western brands in Europe and the US. Less noticed has been the rapid growth of its leather industry, which last year exported around $663m worth of leather and leather products to Italy, Spain, Germany, China, South Korea and Japan.
But global importers sourcing leather from Bangladesh for handbags, shoes and jackets are running the risk of a severe blow to their reputation, with a human rights group now training its sights on abuses by the country’s unregulated export-oriented leather industry.
In an indictment of Bangladesh’s tanneries, Human Rights Watch, the US-based rights group, has found that most of Bangladesh’s leather skins are produced by workers in appalling conditions: tanneries spew uncontrolled toxic effluent, workers lack even basic protective safety equipment as they handle hazardous chemicals, and child labour is pervasive, all while the government looks the other way. Read more via Bangladesh: a poisoned supply chain | beyondbrics.