Walmart is occupying the familiar role of corporate villain again this week as new details emerge regarding a fire that killed 112 people at a Bangladesh apparel factory used by one of the retailer’s suppliers.
It doesn’t matter that supplier was not supposed to be using the factory in question or that other retailers were also found to have had goods manufactured at the facility. What matters is that once again Walmart is in the headlines against the backdrop of familiar themes relating to the complexity and operational challenges inherent in its size and the impact its low cost/low price business model has on suppliers who are forced to cut corners to meet Walmart’s requirements. At least that is how the situation tends to be portrayed.
For more on the situation in Bangladesh and Walmart’s involvement click here to read a Reuters account about how "apparel factory fire reveals big brands’ shadowy supply chains," or here for Bloomberg’s perspective on how, "Walmart shouldn’t discount worker safety."