Working to make sure UW licensed apparel is made under safe conditions. On the anniversary of a tragedy in Bangladesh, the UW is offering support to an international effort at improving working conditions there. On April 24, 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza building, outside of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, collapsed during work hours, killing 1,134 people.
Cindy Van Matre, UW-Madison’s director of trademark licensing, said all 21 companies that disclosed sourcing, producing or purchasing any apparel from Bangladesh under a UW-Madison license will be required to sign onto the international Accord on Fire and Building Safety, by July 30th. So far, 11 of 21 have done so or indicated they will or intend to. “Most of them I think in the end will either end up signing on, or they know that will lose their license with the University of Wisconsin,” Van Matre said.
Van Matre said the amount of licensed UW merchandise that comes from Bangladesh is relatively small, with no licensees sourcing from more than four factories there. The university currently has contracts allowing 448 companies to make products bearing its name or logos.