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6 Nov 2023

Jasmin Malik Chua, Sourcing Journal (USA)

International Accord on Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry renewed for six years

"International Accord Renewed for Record-Breaking 6 Years", November 6 2023

Fashion’s brands, retailers and trade unions have agreed to extend the International Accord on Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry for another three-year term, with an automatic renewal of an additional three years ..

...the original Bangladesh Accord, which coalesced in the wake of the 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza, a watershed catastrophe that killed 1,134 garment workers and injured thousands more just outside the capital of Dhaka, had an initial run of five years.

With this year marking the 10th anniversary of the disaster, the commitment holds particular significance. The new iteration of the International Accord is effective as of Nov. 1, leaving no gap in the coverage of 1,600 factories in Bangladesh. A Pakistani offshoot of the pact, its first expansion outside of Bangladesh, runs on a slightly different timeline, beginning at the start of 2023 for an interim period of three years. More than 420 facilities have been identified for inspections and remediation work so far, including textile mills, which weren’t under the purview of the Bangladesh Accord before.


Other new features in this iteration of the International Accord include a potential future expansion of the scope of the worker complaints mechanism beyond health and safety in the various country-specific safety programs, the outlining of key signatory obligations and principles upon which country programs will be built, and the requirement that participating brands sign both the International Accord and the relevant country-specific safety framework programs instead of choosing one or the other...


The International Accord had roughly 200 signatories, including high rollers like H&M Group and Zara owner Inditex, which were among the first brands to sign up to the Bangladesh Accord at its creation. But companies have to re-sign the renewed International Accord and the Bangladesh agreement, which they will be able to do from Nov. 16 onward. The secretariat said that it will announce the initial signatories to both in the first week of December. Brands sourcing from Pakistan that have not yet joined the Pakistan Accord’s 80 signatories are also encouraged to sign “as soon as possible,” it said.


Whether U.S. brands beyond American Eagle Outfitters, Fanatics and Calvin Klein owner PVH Corp. will embrace the International Accord this go-around remains to be seen, however. Many notable names, including Gap, The North Face owner VF Corp., Levi Strauss & Co. and Walmart, continue to back Nirapon, the safety group that replaced the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the Accord’s less legally robust alternative, after its expiration in 2018.