Avery Dennison teams up with Mothers@Work to promote maternity rights

Desk Report: Avery Dennison, a global materials science and digital identification solutions company has teamed up with United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to support the Mothers@Work program.

The Mothers@Work program is a national initiative that promotes maternity rights and childcare support to women workers in the ready-made garments (RMG) sector in Bangladesh. 

Through this partnership, the Avery Dennison Foundation will provide funding of $200,000 over two years to expand the program in 160 more RMG factories in Bangladesh.

This will help build the capacity of their 2000 staff including health workers and care providers and strengthen initiatives that provide maternity protection and breastfeeding support in the workplace. 

The collaboration was announced at an event held in the national capital on Sunday in the presence of representatives of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA). 

Bangladesh’s garment industry is the second largest clothing exporter in the world, contributing about 11% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The funding will enhance the protection of maternity rights through BKMEA and BGMEA and support the RMG factories in establishing an environment for breastfeeding and childcare facilities for women workers.  Moreover, Avery Dennison, a core grant for the Mothers@Work program, is also organizing a fundraising campaign involving its employees. 

Under this campaign, artwork by children of employees will be auctioned and products created with the artwork will be sold online, with all proceeds going to the Mothers@Work initiative. 

At the event, Kenny Liu, vice-president and general manager of South Asia & EMEA, Apparel Solutions, Avery Dennison, said that the organization is committed to improving the livelihood and diversity of garment workers. 

“We are proud to partner with Unicef in the Mothers@Work program to support would-be and new mothers at the ready-made garment and knitwear factories. This aligns with our 2030 sustainability goal of making a positive social impact on our people and communities,” he added. 

Sheldon Yett, the Unicef representative to Bangladesh, said that breastfeeding spaces, childcare facilities, paid maternity leave and safe work environments are central to the well-being of working mothers and their children and the success of businesses competing for the best staff. 

Unicef is grateful for the generous support from Avery Dennison and its efforts to meet the rights of children and their mothers working in the Bangladesh garment sector. The Mothers@Work program was implemented in 113 RMG factories during 2017-2021. 

With the current support from Avery Dennison, 160 more RMGs will be reached with the Mother@Work program interventions over the next two years and 144,000 female workers will be made aware and informed about maternity rights, breastfeeding support services and nutritional requirements during pre-and post-pregnancy