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21 Jul 2023

Simon Glover, EcoTextile

Pakistan: Gap signs Pakistan Accord safety programme to improve health & safety in garment factories

"Fashion giant Gap signs up to Pakistan Accord", 21 July 2023

...Gap has become the 65th brand to sign up to the Pakistan Accord garment factory safety programme launched late last year by the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry.

Gap, which sources from 14 factories in Pakistan, joins the likes of H&M, Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, and PVH in backing the programme which now covers more than 450 textile and garment factories and nearly a million workers.

“We are encouraged by Gap Inc’s commitment to ensuring worker safety in their supply chain and look forward to working with them and their local partners for a safer Pakistani apparel manufacturing industry,” said a spokesperson for the International Accord.

Gap's decision to support the initiative was also welcomed by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) NGO which said that participation in the programme by US brands was lagging behind that of European companies...

The legally binding Pakistan Accord includes independent safety inspections, remediation monitoring, safety committee training, a worker safety awareness programme and an independent complaints mechanism.

Meanwhile, the International Accord has published a report on pilot safety assessments conducted with seven garment and textile factories in the major Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore over the last eight months...

The pilot study found that improvements were needed including structural design checks, fire exits, fire alarm and suppression systems, electrical upgrades and maintenance, and boiler repairs and maintenance to "mitigate the risk of serious accidents".

"Factories in the pilot gave feedback that most of the remediation would be feasible and they reported some remediation already underway soon after receiving the reports," said the International Accord in a statement.

"However, factories indicated they will need technical guidance on some safety measures, such as correct design of fire systems, and potentially financial support to procure certain equipment."