BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions, USFIA's Sustainability Partner for 2017, has provided the below alerts from  Supply Chain Risk Exposure Evaluation Network (SCREEN), BSI’s web-based, comprehensive global supply chain intelligence system.

July 25: Ukrainian Customs Officers in Odessa Seize 18,840 Pairs of Counterfeit Footwear from China

Ukrainian customs officers in Odessa seized 18,840 pairs of counterfeit men’s sport shoes from China. Authorities flagged the shipment during import proceedings and discovered footwear infringing on the trademarks of three of the largest sports apparel companies in the world. Shipping documents indicated that a Chinese company manufactured the counterfeit sneakers for sale in Ukraine. Expert investigators noted that the professional illicit quality of the footwear logos could easily be confused with the legitimate trademarks.

July 5: Boiler Explosion at Garment Factory Near Dhaka, Bangladesh Kills 13, Injures 40

Bangladeshi authorities accused 13 people, including three deceased boiler operators, of negligence in an explosion at a garment factory outside Dhaka earlier this week that killed 13 people and injured 40 more. The explosion occurred late on Monday at a factory in Gazipur, north of Dhaka, that was a supplier for several Western apparel brands. The facility was also covered by one of the two major garment sector working conditions improvement programs in Bangladesh backed by Western brands.

The factory was still technically closed for the Eid holiday at the time of the explosion, and was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday after the ten-day holiday. However, several workers returned to the facility one day early, and three workers attempted to restart the boiler, causing the blast. Authorities and other employees at the factory said that the three workers who attempted to restart the boiler had not informed the management of their plans to do so, and ignored a warning light on the device. Investigating authorities said that the license for the boiler in question had recently expired, although factory management said that they had applied for a license renewal and that the device had recently undergone maintenance. Officials at the Bangladeshi boiler inspectorate said that the device had passed an inspection last year and was scheduled for its next inspection later this month.

The latest incident demonstrates continuing safety concerns at garment factories in Bangladesh, including at facilities covered by the two major Western brand-backed working conditions improvement programs. Neither program conducts boiler inspections, which are the responsibility of the Bangladeshi government. The Bangladeshi boiler inspectorate is severely understaffed, with only six inspectors responsible for overseeing thousands of registered and unregistered boilers throughout the country. Union officials said that the latest explosion demonstrates the need for the two working conditions improvement programs to include boiler safety as part of their remit.

June 14: Indian Government Decision to Restrict Cattle Trade Leads to Sharp Decrease in Leather Supply, Potentially Impacting Apparel Supply Chains

The Indian government’s recently-imposed restrictions on the cattle trade, along with increasing vigilante attacks on cattle traders by far-right wing “cow protection” groups, are having a significant impact on the country’s leather industry. The central government banned the trade of cattle for slaughter or other non-agricultural uses at the end of last month, sharply restricting the supply of leather to tanneries and workshops that produce apparel and accessories for Western brands. The head of a tanners’ association in Uttar Pradesh state estimated that nearly 400,000 employees in the leather industry in the city of Kanpur, a leather production hub, were temporarily out of work due to a lower supply of buffalo hides and to environmental restrictions on tannery operations. Increasing vigilante attacks by far-right groups on cattle traders, including on trucks suspected of transporting cattle or cattle products, have also impacted the leather industry, with one tannery owner in Uttar Pradesh seeing an over 80 percent reduction in his supply of hides due to truck operators’ reluctance to transport hides. The Indian government has suggested in recent days that it might revisit the cattle trade restrictions, but there are no indications yet that it is considering fully reversing its position. BSI will continue to monitor this situation and its potential impacts on business continuity in India.