August 14, 2014
By Stephanie West
Albany, NY – Following a Ralph Lauren garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, the AFL-CIO has urged the clothing maker to detail how it handles potential and actual human rights risks in its operations and supply chain. Worker safety in the Ralph Lauren factories is now an issue for the New York State Common Retirement Fund since the fund holds 173,000 shares of Ralph Lauren with an approximate market value of $27,864,000.
“The devastating loss of life in the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh still reverberates,” Comptroller DiNapoli said. “As global investors, the New York Common Retirement Fund supports the AFL-CIO’s proposal. Ralph Lauren uses numerous suppliers in Bangladesh and should explain what steps it is taking to ensure human rights are upheld there and throughout its supply chain. Safety in the workplace is not just a human right; it is necessary to good business management and integral to preserving a positive corporate reputation. It is vital that companies take all steps possible to hold their suppliers accountable for upholding human and workers rights in order to protect themselves and their investors against the risks that can damage long-term value.”
As trustee of the $176.8 billion New York Common Retirement Fund, DiNapoli has requested greater disclosure on how companies are mitigating the risk inherent to their supply chains. In May 2013, after discussions with DiNapoli’s office, Ralph Lauren agreed to issue a sustainability report that would measure and analyze its labor practices, and its human rights and environmental impacts.