Disney hasn't been producing merchandise in Bangladesh since March, Bloomberg News reported today. The decision was revealed Thursday in a letter Disney released to its licensees. Belarus, Ecuador, Pakistan and Venezuela were also taken off the list. The decision came after a massive factory fire last year exposed the poor workplace conditions in Bangladesh.
But was Disney acting out of humanitarian concerns, or was this just a cold, calculating business decision?
“These are complicated global issues and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” Bob Chapek, president of the Disney's consumer products division, said in a statement.
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“Disney is a publicly held company accountable to its shareholders and after much thought and discussion we felt this was the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain," he added.
The decision was revealed after yet another, more recent tragedy struck Bangladesh. A building collapse last week left more than 500 people dead.
Yet some people, such as Peter Grier of The Christian Science Monitor, argue that it would be better for workers if major companies stayed in Bangladesh and used their clout to insist on better working conditions.
The Worker Rights Consortium writes on its website that it "strongly encourages licensees to stay and work to correct violations at problem factories." In fact, the organization says that it "views 'cutting and running' from a factory as a serious abrogation of a licensee's responsibilities."