Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home / Case database / PWT Group's role in the Rana Plaza collapse

PWT Group's role in the Rana Plaza collapse

Case overview

Date filed 12 December 2014
Current status Concluded
Issue PWT Group's role in Rana Plaza building collapse
Summary of the case In December 2014, Clean Clothes Campaign Denmark and Aktive Forbrugere (Active Consumers) submitted a compliant to the Danish NCP regarding PWT Group A/S for failing to carry out due diligence in relation to its supplier, the textile manufacturer New Wave Style Ltd., which operated in Bangladesh's Rana Plaza building. The Rana Plaza building collapsed on 24 April 2013, killing 1,138 people and injuring more than 2,000 people. PWT through its relationship with New Style was responsible for monitoring its suppliers' employment standards to ensure its operations complied with international human and labour rights standards. The complainants alleged that the company failed to carry out due diligence to ensure compliance with basic human rights and requested that in the future, PWT Group must take necessary measures to guarantee that similar cases as experienced in Rana Plaza do not happen elsewhere, by disclosing supplier lists to the public and ensuring transparency regarding its business practices by regularly publishing inspection reports from where their external production takes place.
Developments/Outcome The Danish NCP accepted the case on 2 February 2015 and encouraged the parties to resolve the matter themselves, but as the parties did not wish to resolve it on their own, the Danish NCP completed its initial assessment and offered the parties mediation assisted by the NCP. Three mediation meetings were held, but the parties were unable to agree on a mediation agreement. The mediation process then ended in February 2016. The Danish NCP then announced it would conduct an actual investigation of the case on 17 March 2016. On 17 October 2016, the Danish NCP issued a final statement concluding that PWT Group had “violated the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises by failing to carry out due diligence in relation to its supplier”. However, the NCP stated it was not able to determine that the inspection of PWT Group's suppliers' building structures was an incorporated and established buyer practice at the time of the accident.

The Danish NCP recommended that PWT Group:
--Revises its management and risk assessment systems in order to meet due diligence
requirements in accordance with Chapter II of the OECD Guidelines;
--Ensure that the company's CSR policy complies with the OECD Guidelines;
PWT Group is recommended to review its suppliers self-assessments in conjunction with an analysis of industry and country risks, and on this basis, select which circumstances are to be inspected;
--Report and communicate about these efforts and measures taken to prevent potential risks;
--Take efforts to systematically incorporate the company's Code of Conduct into management and risk systems;
--Within one year, PWT Group should provide the NCP with a report on follow-up taken on these recommendations.

While the complainants were pleased that PWT Group was found to have breached its obligations to carry out due diligence in accordance to the OECD Guidelines, the complainants were not happy that the NPC was unable to determine that the inspection of building structures was an incorporated and established practice at the time of the accident and that PWT Group was not considered responsible for the collapse of the building, as the NCP stated “it has not been documented that an inspection would have identified the risks present in the building.”

The Danish NCP issued a follow-up statement on the 17 January 2018 stating that “through extensiveefforts and the additional initiatives planned, PWT Group has complied with recommendations of the NCP to such an extent that the final statement of 16 October 2016 can be removed from NCP’s website.” The NCP stated that PWT had provided information in October 2017 stating that they had revised their CSR policies in accordance with the Guidelines, that they had made changes to their risk management systems to ensure management oversight, and that they are systematically implementing its Code of Conduct among suppliers. Furthermore, PWT Group has engaged stakeholders in their revised CSR policies and have made public information on how to make complaints to the company and has established means to submit complains under the Bangladesh Accord.

Despite the progress made by PWT Group reported by the NCP, the complainants are concerned that one original recommendation made to by the NCP has not been adhered to yet. The NCP had recommended that the PWT Group should review its supplies self-assessment and “Report and communicate about these efforts and about the measures carried out by the supplier to prevent potential risks.” The NCP states that the company is working to improve its CSR communication, but provides no deadline as to when PWT Group must comply with this recommendation.

The NCP has now removed the final statement from its website and published PWT Group’s report, along with the NCP's follow-up report.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Health and safety, Supply chain, Labour rights, Textiles / Apparel

NCP Information

NCP name Danish Business Authority Erhvervsstyrelsen
NCP address Langelinie Allé 17 2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark
NCP website http://www.businessconduct.dk
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible PWT Group
Company address
Company website
Company in violation PWT Group Ltd.
Country of operations Bangladesh
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
17 January 2018 Danish Business Authority Erhvervsstyrelsen statement Follow-up statement by the Danish NCP download pdf (583Kb)  
17 October 2017 PWT Group Ltd. report Report made by PWT Group regarding its follow-up (in Danish) download pdf (224Kb)  
28 October 2016 Danish Business Authority Erhvervsstyrelsen letter A Business of Society blog by Karin Buhmann, academic and independent member of the Danish NCP, provides analysis into the reactions and importance of the NCPs statement. She highlights that while the statement was criticized because the NCP did not state that the company was accountable for the collapse, the NCP itself does not have authority to attribute legal liability. However, she believes the statement deserves more attention as it highlights that companies do have responsibility under the OECD Guidelines to ensure that their suppliers protect their employees occupational safety and health, which also entails carrying out risk assessments in relation to building safety and integrity. download pdf (206Kb)  
17 October 2016 Danish Business Authority Erhvervsstyrelsen statement Upon a failed mediation process and then an investigation into the complaints concerns, the Danish NCP issued a final statement concluding that PWT Group had “violated the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises by failing to carry out due diligence in relation to its supplier”. download pdf (178Kb)  
17 March 2016 Danish Business Authority Erhvervsstyrelsen statement As the parties were unable to resolve the matter through mediation, the Danish NCP announced it would conduct a proper investigation into the complaints concerns. download pdf (202Kb)  
1 June 2015 Danish Business Authority Erhvervsstyrelsen Danish NCP encouraged the parties to resolve the matter themselves, but as the parties did not wish to resolve it on their own, the Danish NCP completed its initial assessment and offered the parties mediation assisted by the NCP.  
2 February 2015 Danish Business Authority Erhvervsstyrelsen accept  
12 December 2014 Clean Clothes Campaign Denmark file Compliant submitted by Clean Clothes Campaign Danmark and Aktive Forbrugere to Danish NCP regarding PWT Group's alleged failure to carry out due diligence of its supplier, New Wave Style Ltd. in the Rana Plaza building that collapsed in Bangladesh. download pdf (498Kb)  

Personal tools

OECD Watch is hosted by