The renewal for the Bangladesh Accord has gone global and there's a reason for that happening. When Rana Plaza collapsed in 2013, the fashion industry was shaken and not only industry professionals saw the need for change, but so did consumers. The Bangladesh trade unions and Global Union Federations, along with labour rights groups, made it their mission to keep workers safe because factory safety is a right.
What is the Bangladesh Accord?
The Bangladesh Accord, also known as The Accord, requires the signatory brands to disclose who their supplier factories are. The Accord also requires independent building inspections on fire, electrical and structural safety, worker rights trainings, and a long-overdue review of safety standards. (Source: Clean Clothes Campaign) This includes keeping factory standards up to date to avoid factory fires, which are still happening every year in factories around the globe. The Accord was signed by around 200 brands that were willing to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are working with factories who are part in this action to change. This original Accord was able to help 1,600 garment factories safer for 2 million garment workers in Bangladesh.
Why should The Accord be renewed?
Without this legally binding agreement, there is nothing keeping brands from working with factories that don't disclose their practices and if they are actually keeping their workers safe. Factories and brands don't have to take accountability for their actions if another tragedy strikes putting innocent workers in danger. Without renewal, garment workers are at risk of being silenced and the public will no longer know the risks their lives face everyday they go to work.
Will The Accord change the industry?
The long term effects of this Accord will be able to change the fashion industry and the way garment workers are protected. Consumers will be able to know that the people making their garments didn't have to fear for their lives everyday they stepped foot into their workplace. It's our job to protect the individuals in our supply chain, no matter how far away they are. Major brands like Zara and H&M have already signed this Accord and are on the right track to show consumers that mainstream brands are capable of using safe factories.
Whether you're a brand or a consumer, doing your due diligence in making sure you're choosing factories and brands that keep their garment workers safe will change the world for the better. If you're wondering what practices make a factory ethical, download our FREE guide to the 8 standards of ethical factories.
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