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Commentary: What about the sustainability of compliance after the Bangladesh Accord and Alliance?

"Perhaps Platform S?"

When Accord and Alliance came to town, the brands and retailers had offered assurance of business continuity and were paying for the audits and assessments. Taking financial responsibility for factory remediation was…the manufacturer's end of the bargain. In five years [a] total [of] 1,159 factories have gone out of business. In response to growing demands of remediation, Bangladeshi manufacturers have either chosen to grow or quit…

…Even with increased capacities, manufacturers will continue receiving orders with lesser margins and a lower FOB (Free on Board) price…

After five years, with the possibility of Accord coming to an end on November 30, 2018 and Alliance on December 31, brands are left wondering about the future of the readymade garment industry in Bangladesh with respect to compliance codes…

The RCC [Remediation Coordination Cell] was set up in May 2017 to supervise and monitor the remediation of factories under the Bangladesh government's National Initiative. Out of the 809 National Initiative factories undergoing follow-up by Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), 107 are fully remediated...

Ultimately, RCC hopes to offer a “one-stop-shop” service issuing factory building, fire, electrical and occupancy permits.

Since the industry is very familiar with the initial rules of engagement focusing on structural, fire and electrical integrity, all we need today is a private-sector-led structure to sustain all the improvement that has been made… For easy reference, let's call it Platform S (S for shomman, meaning “respect” in Bengali)…

If the industry is subjected to prescriptions from stakeholders from abroad, then the basic ability to reform ourselves will be in doubt…The best way forward would be a way to transition into a plan of self-monitoring initiated by the industry itself, which will be appropriate for the owners, workers, brands, unions and the rest.

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