Attention remains focused on Bangladesh’s new workplace safety agreement as fashion brands and retail giants rush to reveal their support by September 1.
At the time of publication, 80 signatories have joined the International Agreement on Health and Safety in the Textile and Clothing Industry – the successor agreement to the historic Bangladesh Accord on Building Fire Safety which was adopted in 2013 following the Rana Plaza disaster.
Signatories include American Eagle Outfitters Inc., PVH Corp., Zalando, Otto Group, Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., John Lewis, Tchibo and Marks & Spencer.
“The new agreement is not only an important step towards strengthening employee rights, but also towards preserving the progress already made in the field of building and fire safety”, commented Tobias Wollermann, vice president of the corporate responsibility of the Otto group. “In this regard, we are delighted that all stakeholders involved have agreed on this goal and encourage other companies to join us and sign the new international agreement.
Nanda Bergstein, director of corporate responsibility at German coffee and retail chain Tchibo, echoed this, saying: “We hope this momentum allows us to take further binding action and focus on joint action on the ground. Decent wages must be achieved. The climate needs protection, as does the biodiversity of this planet. Together we can create change. The last 10 years of the Bangladesh Accord prove this point and we hope that the new structure in Bangladesh will continue the good work. “
While brands can sign the International Accord at any time, a good favor can increasingly be given to the inaugural ensemble – something sought after in an age of social media transparency and pro-activism. sustainable development.
Last week, H&M, Inditex, Bestseller and C&A were among the first signatories to the International Agreement. The aim of the agreement is to extend health and safety coverage for factory workers in Bangladesh – and beyond, to other high-risk sourcing countries in parts of Southeast Asia. South.
As the deal has gained momentum as it appears to match the roughly 200 signatories to the previous deal, Bangladesh’s largest trade association – the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, or BGMEA – has refuted its effectiveness. . In a statement on Sunday, the BGMEA said that the international agreement “”[would] have no scope to be implemented and [RMG Sustainability Council, Bangladesh’s licensed sector entity] would not operate beyond its mandate.
“The International Agreement is binding between brands and unions globally because it is binding in nature. The BGMEA statement doesn’t change that, ”said Ayesha Barenblat, founder of Remake, a human rights-based nonprofit that championed the arrival of the International Accord.