Bangladesh: Report published by witness signatories to the Accord highlights need for new legally binding safety agreement to protect workers in supply chains of global fashion retailers
“Unfinished Business: Outstanding safety hazards at garment factories show that the Accord must be extended and expanded”, 30 April 2021
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the Accord) is set to expire on May 31, 2021 ... Unions and labor rights advocates have proposed a binding successor agreement that will continue the Accord in Bangladesh and expand the model to other countries ... Apparel brand signatories of the groundbreaking agreement must decide whether to continue and expand the Accord’s life-saving work or to allow it to expire, and risk the lives of innumerable workers.
It is well established that the Accord has been the most successful safety program in the contemporary history of apparel supply chains…
… [D]espite this extraordinary progress, deadly safety risks remain in a substantial number of factories producing for Accord signatory brands … this report enumerates uncorrected safety hazards at factories producing for 12 leading brands covered by the Accord … Every brand included in this report is fully aware of the safety deficiencies at its factories in Bangladesh and receives regular reports on these from the Accord.
… [I]f the Accord agreement is not extended and expanded:
The circumstances of factories with unresolved safety problems would get worse, not better … [F]actories and brands would no longer have the critical financial incentive … to motivate and allow factories to protect the progress that has been made…
Voluntary initiatives would replace the Accord’s safety program, leaving companies unaccountable … The inevitable result of any non-binding replacement would be more injuries and deaths in garment factories.
The failure of brands to extend and expand the Accord would prevent progress in other garment-producing countries.