Coles defends supply chain

Supermarket group Coles has denied paying Bangladeshi suppliers so little they cannot operate safe factories.

Supermarket group Coles has denied paying Bangladeshi suppliers so little they cannot operate safe factories.

The allegation was made by a Bangladeshi factory manager during a program on the garment trade in the poverty-stricken country, broadcast on ABC TV on Monday night.

Coles also said it was pulling out of Bangladesh within "the next few weeks" and if it returned it would sign a garment industry safety accord put together following the collapse of a factory building that killed more than 1100 people in April.

"Coles is currently contracted with just one supplier in Bangladesh for a small Mix clothing order, which will be completed in the next few weeks," Coles spokesman Jon Church said. "Like all of our international suppliers, the factory working on this order has been audited to international standards and complies with our ethical sourcing policy.

"Our sourcing from Bangladesh has always been small - less than 5 per cent of the total Mix clothing range - and we have no plans to source any further product from the country. Should this change in the future, we would audit any factory supplying to us and be prepared to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord."

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