The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has launched the ‘vulnerable supply chains’ facility in partnership with some of the UK’s largest retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer. Retail Gazette reports that the £6.85 million fund includes investment from UK businesses to keep vulnerable workers in their supply chains in safe and secure employment and bids to ensure a steady supply of products like vegetables, coffee and clothes. The fund consists of £4.85 million from the DFID and a £2 million from its retail partners.
The initiative will focus primarily on supply chains and workers in countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana. Meanwhile, retailers will work with charities and non-governmental organisations to improve working conditions and support greater access to healthcare in some of the world’s poorest countries.
M&S has pledged to work with international aid charity Care to improve health services for 80,000 factory workers in Bangladesh. The government said the scheme aims to help alleviate the ongoing disruption to international supply chains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UK’s International development secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said, “We want to ensure people in Britain can continue to buy affordable, high-quality goods from around the world. This new fund will strengthen vital supply chains for UK consumers while supporting some of the most vulnerable workers in developing countries. It will make a real difference to people in the UK and abroad.”