Threading Change : Push Extension of The Bangladesh Accord

pay up fashion campaign

The accord, put in place after the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, could expire despite evidence that it protects worker safety. Many fashion brands have yet to sign the new Bangladesh Accord.

In 2013, a textile factory in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, collapsed, leaving over 1,100 people dead and 2,500 others injured, mostly young women. This tragic event brought global attention to the terrible labor conditions experienced by clothing workers worldwide. It spurred a movement to transform the fashion industry, with numerous campaigns and initiatives launching in its aftermath. Unfortunately, wages and working conditions for garment workers didn’t change entirely.

RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS 

THE BANGLADESH ACCORD ON FIRE AND BUILDING SAFETY EXPIRING  

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was created after the Rana Plaza collapse of 2013. 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. The accord has made a real change by making factories safer.  
What sets the Bangladesh Accord apart from other industry initiatives and collaborations is that it both holds signatory brands legally accountable for safety violations in their supply chain, and requires them to invest some financial resources for fixing them. The specifics of the financial commitments are determined on a case-by-case basis and are still weaker than they should be, say critics, but the mere existence of the mechanism for accountability has been groundbreaking.
 
The current agreement will expire on 31st August 2021and many fashion brands have yet to sign the new Bangladesh Accord. This means unchecked labour safety regulations for workers across Bangladesh; specifically those working at outsourced fashion factories.
Accord Brand Tracker August 2021
In order to be extended and expanded, brands must sign on and agree to the following three points:
 
1) Binding and individually enforceable contracts with brands: Rather than leaving enforcement and accountability up to brand’s discretion, the Accord contends that any brand signatory is held legally responsible for ensuring human rights standards within their supply chain, and maintaining workplace safety. This is an actionable step against the previously voluntary basis by which brands independently held accountability over their supply chains.
2) Overseen by an independent secretariat: This independent secretariat serves to mitigate for any brand biases and ensure that the Bangladesh Accords maintain human rights protections for the garment workers it is intended to serve. Essentially, it acts as a mechanism of additional enforceable accountability.
 
3) Allowing for expansion to other countries: 2021 negotiations have built upon the growing occurrences of industrial disasters among garment manufacturing sites, especially in the years following the Rana Plaza collapse. In the wake of reform efforts into the Bangladeshi RMG (ready-made garment) industry, brands have been opting to expand outsourcing to countries with less developed workplace safety regulations to maintain their unethically low cost of production and retain their enormous profit margins. Currently among the more popular outsourcing locations for fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, etc., are: China, India, Malaysia, and Pakistan — all countries with garment manufacturing sectors that perpetuate hazardous workplace conditions due to a lack of legally binding and enforceable regulation.
Action is needed to protect progress made for workplace safety. Remakeourworld has an amazing resource on the #BangladeshAccord. Take the time to look through it!
Anyone in the world can now sign the petition to hold brands accountable and build a fair future for garment workers in 7 Actions by signing a follow up agreement to the Bangladesh Accord. If you believe in greater brand accountability & ending inequality in fashion, this is your fight too.

The easiest way is to publicly tag brands that HAVE NOT yet committed to the Accord’s extension and expansion on social media with any of the following sample copy (or craft your own!):

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  • @tommyhilfiger Garment makers shouldn’t die making our clothes. #ProtectProgress #SigntheAccord
  • @Zara 1,132 garment makers died at Rana Plaza. How many more have to lose their lives before you #SigntheAccord
  • @H&M #RanaPlazaNeverAgain

ABOUT REMAKE :   

Labeled as the Peace Corps of fashion, Remake is an advocacy organization focused on making fashion a force for good. With first hand documentary shorts and photo rich stories, we make the invisible women who make our clothes visible. Our facts and stories help our community break up with fast fashion while our curated Sustainable Brands List inspires consumers to buy better, remaking their closets with fashion that respects people and the planet. Since Remake’s beginning, we’ve been urging people to think about those who make our clothes with our #WearYourValues campaign.

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