“The global Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on global garment supply chains, and the situation will get far worse before it gets be”er. As clothing outlets have been shut by lockdowns in developed market economies, sinking demand for apparel, brands and retailers have moved quickly to cancel or postpone production orders – refusing, in many cases, to pay for clothing their supplier factories have already produced. The result has been the partial or complete shutdown of thousands of factories in producing countries. As a result, millions of factory workers have been sent home, often without legally-mandated pay or severance.

This Research Brief draws from responses from an online survey of Bangladesh employers, administered between March 21 and March 25, 2020, to document these trends. It reveals the devastating impact order cancellations have had on businesses and on workers. Crucially, it illustrates the extreme fragility of a system based on decades of buyers squeezing down on prices paid to suppliers: factory closures, unpaid workers with no savings to survive the hard times ahead, and a government with such a low tax revenue that it has very limited ability to provide meaningful support to workers and the industry.”