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Article

4 Nov 2021

Author:
Simon Glover, EcoTextile

Bangladesh: Levi's urged to sign new Accord on health and safety in garment factories

"Campaigners urge Levi's to sign new Accord", 4 November 2021

Campaigners are urging...Levi's to sign the new International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry to protect the workers who make their clothes in Bangladesh...

..."It is high time that Levi's starts to take responsibility for the safety of the workers in its supply chain and contributes financially to making factories safer," [Clean Clothes Campaign] said in a statement.

"Many of the factories that Levi's currently sources from are not covered by any transparent efforts to detect and fix safety hazards.

"In many other factories Levi's is free-riding on the efforts of Accord signatories such as Uniqlo, Next, Varner, G-Star and Sainsbury's, who through their signature under the Accord committed to ensure that safety renovations are financially possible in the factories that they source from."

Kalpona Akter, president of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF) and founder of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), said: ..."Brands' self regulation has never saved our workers' lives. The Accord is the highest standard the garment industry has, and any brand that produces in Bangladesh and fails to sign it, is basically saying they don't care about their workers' safety."

A Levi's spokesperson said:...

"...We did not have production in any of the facilities where tragedies have occurred over that time span, and in 2009, we forbid working with suppliers operating in multi-level, multi-owner buildings, where safety standards are difficult to enforce. 

"We also require all our suppliers in Bangladesh to undergo third-party electrical safety audits and building integrity audits, and we were among the first brands to then expand those building and electrical safety guidelines to other countries such as Cambodia and Pakistan.

"The programmes we currently have in place cover the areas that Accord seeks to govern, so...we believe our current programmes and practices provide the same level of verifiable worker protections and uphold our responsibility to ensure a safe workplace.

"Going forward, we will maintain rigorous enforcement of our existing high standards around fire safety and building integrity and continue to share best practices with the industry, including collaborating with other brands in shared locations to reduce duplication and enhance corrective action efforts.”

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