PVH Corp, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, has partnered with The Power of Nutrition, a charitable foundation, to provide women in Bangladesh's apparel sector with essential nutrition services.
The joint mission aims to help tackle undernutrition of working mothers and pregnant women in the fashion giant's suppliers' factories in the country.
The collaboration that forms part of a four-year national programme involving $15 million with support from Unicef Bangladesh will reach at least 1 million female garment workers in Bangladesh districts where undernutrition rates are the highest.
Of the amount, $7.5 million will be provided by The Power of Nutrition and the rest will come from PVH.
Welcoming this initiative to improve nutrition for Bangladesh's female apparel workers, Faruque Hassan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told The Business Standard that a discussion is going on to introduce another programme with support from five partner brands including PVH.
The government is also implementing a project named "Working Lactating Mother Assistance Fund Programme" in RMG factories, he said.
The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs is providing female workers with monthly allowances through the BGMEA and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) so that working lactating mothers can buy nutritious food.
BGMEA sources said under the project, Tk23.32 crore was distributed to 8,100 workers in 240 factories in the fiscal 2019-20.
PVH has businesses with some 52 Bangladeshi companies from the apparel industry, according to its suppliers' updated list as of December 2020.
Plummy Fashions Ltd, the greenest knitwear factory in the world is a Bangladeshi supplier of PVH Corp.
Its managing director Md Fazlul Hoque said, "Such kinds of projects have already been taken up in the apparel industry, mostly in factories having a direct business with brands, by the government, brands and development partners."
With support from PVH, Unicef Bangladesh and The Power of Nutrition will introduce an additional core package of nutrition support in eight PVH supplier factories through Unicef's Mothers@Work programme, reports Just-style.
Mothers@Work was launched by Unicef to provide minimum standards of maternity protection and breastfeeding support to women in RMG factories, including breastfeeding spaces and breaks, childcare provision, paid maternity leave, cash and medical benefits, employment protection and non-discrimination, and safe-work provision for expectant mothers. The programme has successfully reached 92 factories and 160,000 workers.
PVH's investment in The Power of Nutrition and Unicef's programme will also support in-country advocacy to strengthen the nutrition regulatory framework in Bangladesh and protect working women and mothers' rights.
"At PVH, we recognise that we have an important role to play in investing in the health and prosperity of our people and their communities. Through our partnership with The Power of Nutrition, we are supporting an innovative initiative to provide access to critical services for working mothers and ultimately empower women in the global supply chain – a crucial priority within our Forward Fashion strategy," says Smruti Govan, senior manager, corporate responsibility at PVH.
By accessing match funding and working through The Power of Nutrition's multi-sectoral model, PVH's investment will be leveraged over four times, the pair say, with the overall partnership expected to reach more than 1 million women and have a positive long-term impact on the country's nutrition as well as socio-economic levels by addressing the root causes of stunting and encouraging more productive, healthy communities.
Michelle Thompson, director of partnerships and brands at The Power of Nutrition, adds, "This partnership is a great example of businesses playing an active role in improving the health of the communities they work within while benefiting from pooling resources and expertise with other sectors for maximum impact."