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UK saving high street businesses and workers in developing countries

Christian Fernsby |
The UK Government launched a new programme to help high street businesses to strengthen their supply chains by supporting workers in developing countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The new funding announced by International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan includes investment from UK businesses to keep vulnerable workers in their supply chains in safe and secure employment.

The UK imports 20% of its food and drink from developing countries.

The coronavirus pandemic has put many of these supply chains at risk as factories and farms worldwide have been forced to close temporarily.

The new Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility will help to ensure the steady supply of products like vegetables, coffee and clothes to the UK high street.

The UK aid fund will partner up UK businesses with expert organisations such as CARE UK, the Fairtrade Foundation and the Ethical Trading Initiative to improve working conditions and support greater access to healthcare and health information for workers in some of the world’s poorest countries.

This will help make workplaces safer, meaning employees can return to work and supply chains can keep moving and become more resilient.

The facility, made up of £4.85 million UK aid and £2 million from businesses, will focus primarily on supply chains and workers in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana.

These countries provide huge proportions of the world’s food, flowers and clothes.

Ghana alone produces a quarter of the world’s cocoa and Bangladesh is the world’s second largest garment exporter.

As part of the scheme, the Ethical Trading Initiative will improve workplace health and safety for vegetable, coffee and flower suppliers to UK brands.

It is estimated that 10,000 workers in African countries, mainly women, will benefit from safer working environments.


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