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10 Sep 2021

Campaigners and labour activists celebrate new Accord on health & safety in garment factories

On 26 August 2021, the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry was announced by apparel brands and unions as the replacement for the Bangladesh Accord on Health and Safety. This followed efforts by labour activists and campaigners to ensure the Bangladesh Accord, which was set to expire in August 2021, was succeeded by another agreement that ensured legal liability for brands.

The agreement is a 26-month legally binding agreement that will support the independent Ready-Made Garments Sustainability Council (RSC), which has already undertaken health and safety related programs in Bangladesh, and is based on the principles of the 2013 and 2018 Accord agreements: legal enforceability of brands’ commitments, independent oversight of compliance, the obligation to pay prices to suppliers sufficient to support safe workplaces, and the obligation to cease business with factories that refuse to operate safely. The International Accord will also now be expanded to other apparel-producing countries beyond Bangladesh.

On 1 September 2021, the International Accord announced 77 brands and retailers that had signed the agreement.

On 13 December 2021, it was reported that the International Accord had 147 brand and retailer signatories.

In December 2022, it was announced that the International Accord had been expanded to Pakistan, following a decade-long campaign by unions and campaigners demanding improved working conditions in Pakistan's garment industry. The agreement is set to begin in 2023 for an interim period of three years, and will build on all the key features of the International Accord. By February 2023, 35 global brands and retailers had signed the Pakistan Accord.