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Our commitment to being a responsible and sustainable business extends to how we manage our supply chains in over 40 economies around the world. Our global vendor compliance team regularly monitor compliance and work with our suppliers to meet our Code of Conduct, as well as industry- and customer-specific audit standards, protocols and methodologies.
Li & Fung's most significant opportunities and risks are in the supply chains where we engage suppliers to manufacture products for our customers. In 2012 we began the year by launching our updated Code of Conduct for Suppliers and Supplier Compliance Manual and then by following up with over 375 training sessions for over 5,000 of our suppliers and close to 4,000 of our colleagues. This marked a significant milestone in our sustainability journey in that both our updated Standards, which are in line with industry requirements, and the practices that our suppliers are expected to implement to meet these Standards, are clearly outlined. We continue to be a strong advocate for responsible sourcing within our business and with our customers, suppliers and industry partners. Through collaboration we can more effectively address the risks in the supply chain, effect change and grow business opportunities in areas that contribute to better working and environmental conditions and stronger and healthier communities.
To support the rollout of our updated Code of Conduct, we developed standard operating procedures and a variety of resources for our global Vendor Compliance (VC) team of 159 people and our business divisions around the world to screen, monitor, audit and assess the performance of our suppliers. We also developed guidance materials and practical tools for our suppliers to comply with our requirements and to improve their operational performance. These resources, which are outlined below and are translated in local languages, cover issues and risks associated with business operations and labor, health and safety, environmental and security practices.
As highlighted below, in 2012 we expanded our involvement with several key industry initiatives that bring our customers, peers and industry associations together to work collectively to set standards and effect change, and we collaborated with our customers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to implement focused programs that address the particular challenges of our industry and the specific countries where we operate.
We also implemented several focused programs in collaboration with some of our key customers that we will continue to expand and replicate in our supply chain. Examples include:
We also recognize that significant efforts, in collaboration and in partnership with our stakeholders, continue to be required to improve labor practices, working conditions and to reduce environmental impacts in the supply chain. This need was sadly reinforced by the tragic death of workers in a fire at the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh. We participated in aid efforts for immediate relief and matched the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)'s financial assistance to each family of every victim.
The safety of workers in our supply chain is a priority for Li & Fung. Safety, including fire safety, is embedded in our approach to sourcing and, with our Code of Conduct for Suppliers, is integral to our compliance and sustainability program. In Bangladesh, specifically, we have worked with suppliers to upgrade fire safety since early 2012. Initiatives include in-depth training for factories on how to enhance their management systems to build sustainable solutions for safety at factories. We also piloted and launched in Bangladesh a series of videos on fire safety. These innovative videos explain clearly and practically why it is essential for the survival of workers and the business to adopt proper fire safety practices. They are core to our continuing efforts across our network to increase education and training in this area. To find out more about the steps we have taken to address fire safety of suppliers in Bangladesh, please click here.
Improving factory procedures and systems, and enhancing awareness of good sustainability practices, is an integral part of a long-term process to raise industry standards, and one which requires sustained commitment by multiple parties. We will continue to evolve our programs to meet market needs and local conditions, and work with the industry to share best practices and accelerate this change.
Our aim is that through improved visibility, tracking and performance, impacts and risks will be better managed in the supply chain. Sustainability and business resilience also drive innovation, which is critical for creating products with sustainability attributes that are made in better-managed factories. We will continue to work with our customers, suppliers and industry partners to improve our collective knowledge and capabilities around responsible and sustainable sourcing, products and packaging.