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Marsh: Lessons learned from Bangladesh factory collapse

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 people highlights the serious risks that labor conditions can pose not only to workers, but also to organizations’ reputations, supply chains, and bottom lines, according to a report by global insurance broking and risk management firm Marsh.

In its latest Marsh Risk Management Research report, Bangladesh Factory Collapse: Lessons in Risk for the Retail Industry, Marsh provides an overview of the wide range of risks retailers face and risk mitigation advice when sourcing textile goods from Bangladesh and other low-cost markets.

“Even though major retailers and suppliers have sourced from Bangladesh for decades and have worked to improve labor conditions in the past, the Rana Plaza incident clearly reinforces to organizations that labor-related globalization risks require robust oversight efforts, greater visibility, increased vigilance, and continuous improvement,” said Tracy Knippenburg Gillis, global reputational risk and crisis management practice leader for Marsh Risk Consulting. “Retailers and suppliers should use this tragedy as a catalyst to more fully identify and understand their operational and supply chain risk exposures, reform and strengthen workforce safety practices, and improve supply chain and reputational risk resiliency.”

In addition to carefully considering their approach to reputational risk, crisis management, and supply chain resiliency, Marsh recommends that retailers focus on improving compliance efforts and transparency by further standardizing factory audit processes for and contract language with suppliers. This could include: more frequent and unannounced inspections, greater worker engagement in factory audits, and stricter penalty clauses for failure to meet workplace safety requirements.

Click here to download the report.

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Connecting with Canadians HBC style

BY CSA STAFF

An epic journey and exercise in social media brand building is now underway in Canada where four intrepid young men are crossing the country in a custom RV to promote awareness of Hudson’s Bay and have a good time in the process.

The 90 unit department store chain kicked of the tour on on June 19th in Vancouver, British Columbia. The custom branded RV which features the retailer’s signature stripes will stop in 49 Canadian cities and before arriving in Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland on August 11th. Dubbed “Project Aventure,” the two month journey is billed as a celebration of Hudson’s Bay’s past, present and much-anticipated future with a truly Canadian experience that showcases the outdoors

"Our brand has always represented the Canadian spirit of adventure and this cross-Canada tour is an opportunity for us to engage with our consumers in an exciting way and take them on a trip of a lifetime across this beautiful country and into the great outdoors,” said Marc Metrick, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Hudson’s Bay.

The team of four travelers, Michael Simonetti, 27, Brent Marson, 27, Ryan Banting, 20 and Chris Arthur, 20, will document their activities on land, sea and air in a series of Web episodes that begin airing on July 1 across all social media channels, according to the company. The men will partake in surfing, kayaking, bear tours, an alpine helicopter tour, mountain biking, visiting a bison safari, snorkeling with Beluga whales, dog sledding, wakeboarding, waterskiing, the CN Tower Edge Walk and paragliding while equipped with cameras. In addition, along the way, selected Canadian Olympic athletes will meet up with the explorers for exclusive Olympic training sessions. The explorers will get to spend a day in the life of an Olympian and will receive lessons from the pro’s in the sports or activities that they’ve spent their lives training for, or in their current outdoor athletic passion including surfing, kayaking, mountain biking, volleyball and archery.

Plans call for the tour to stop at various Hudson’s Bay locations across the country in major markets including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and Moncton, where consumers can stop by the parked RV and hang-out with the explorers to hear about their journey to-date and what’s just around with the corner.

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TreeHouse Foods fattens brands portfolio

BY CSA STAFF

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Food manufacturer TreeHouse Foods has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cains Foods, a privately owned manufacturer of shelf stable mayonnaise, dressings and sauces.

Cains is based in Ayer, Mass., and generates approximately $80 million in annual revenue. The company employs approximately 100 people. Itsproduct portfolio offers retail and foodservice customers an assortment of packaging sizes, sold under both private label store brands and the Cains, Naturally Delicious and Olde Cape Cod brands.

TreeHouse has agreed to pay $35 million in cash for the business, subject to adjustments for working capital and taxes. The transaction is expected to have a neutral impact on TreeHouse’s earnings in 2013, but is expected to positively impact 2014 earnings by approximately $0.05 per share. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, and will be financed through borrowings under TreeHouse’s existing $750 million credit facility.

"Cains has a nearly 100-year tradition of manufacturing high quality products, and this is a very good business with experienced management and a dedicated team of employees," said Sam K. Reed, chairman, president and CEO of TreeHouse Foods. "Cains will be a great fit within the TreeHouse family, rounding out our industry leading assortment of private label pourable and spoonable dressings."

TreeHouse primarily services the retail grocery and foodservice distribution channels. Its products include non-dairy powdered creamers, private label canned soups, refrigerated and shelf stable salad dressings and sauces, powdered drink mixes and single serve hot beverages, hot cereals, macaroni and cheese, skillet dinners, Mexican sauces, jams and pie fillings, pickles and related products, aseptic sauces and liquid non-dairy creamer.

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