BUILDING SAFETY: THE INTERNATIONAL ACCORD AND THE BANGLADESH CASE
We helped to establish the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Garment and Textile Industry, initiated on the 1st of September 2021.
This new agreement is based on the earlier Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety established in 2013 and its transition agreement in 2018, both of which we also promoted.
One of the main objectives of this new agreement is to expand prior learnings and achievements in Bangladesh to other sourcing markets through transparent and effective health and safety measures.
Additionally, this new agreement recognizes the possibility of extending its scope beyond health and safety aspects with the aim of enhancing Human Rights’ due diligence.
In Bangladesh, the International Accord will support the independent RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) initiative, which is responsible for implementing health and safety related programmes in the country. This ensures that the important safety work that has already been undertaken in the country’s textile industry can continue as a result of the collaboration of manufacturers, brands and unions. As a signatory of the International Accord, Inditex commits to support the RSC in continuing its important health and safety work in Bangladesh.
At Inditex we helped foster the 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry. In 2018, we also signed the Transition Accord, playing an active role in supporting the continued safety enhancements in the country's garment industry. Most recently, in January 2020, we participated in the signing of a Transition Agreement and the development of the articles of association for the RSC, which was established in June 2020 to implement factory safety monitoring and remediation in the textile industry in Bangladesh and entails the close collaboration of manufacturers, brands and unions.
Inditex became one of the first signatories of the International Accord, which was formally established on the 1st of September 2021. Through this legally binding agreement, promoted together by IndustriALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and international brands, we commit to support the RSC in Bangladesh and expand safety programmes in the textile sector to other markets based on feasibility studies.
At Inditex, we believe strongly in the importance of this agreement to maintain a sustainable, transparent, systematic and measurable initiative which works in close collaboration with key stakeholders to continuously improve worker safety in the garment industry. It works through the following ways:
- Thorough and trustworthy safety inspections under the direction of the chief safety inspector, an independent figure.
- Public reporting of the inspections carried out, lists of suppliers and manufacturers used by the signatories and quarterly reports with aggregate figures.
- Remediation plans when breaches are detected.
- Termination of business relationships with factories that fail to remediate.
- Financial support to ensure that factories can implement the required measures.
- Protection of labour rights for employees who feel unsafe to attend work due to unsafe conditions.
- Health and safety training for employees.
- Effective establishment of health and safety committees at all factories.
- Independent procedures to guarantee the ability to raise queries or level complaints about health and safety matters without fear of reprisal.