By  on July 10, 2013

WASHINGTON — A group of 17 North American retailers and brands, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Gap Inc., VF Corp. and Target Corp., unveiled a binding five-year worker, fire and factory safety pact here on Wednesday that will provide a minimum of $42 million in funds to improve factory safety conditions in Bangladesh and train workers and factory owners in the wake of garment factory tragedies that have claimed the lives of more than 1,200 workers.

The companies taking part in the new Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety said their initiative will cover 500 factories in Bangladesh and aims to complement an existing legally binding building and fire safety accord signed by more than 70 mainly European brands and retailers.

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