The Bangladesh Accord Has Just Been Replaced

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 6 days ago | News

Image: garment factory in Bangladesh. Image source.

The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety has officially been replaced. According to the Business of Fashion, a new Readymade Sustainability Council will now be responsible for uniting trade unions, to ensure compliance with workplace monitoring in the Bangladesh Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector.

This comes after months of back and forth over what the future would hold for the Bangladesh Accord. Introduced in the aftermath of the tragic Rana Plaza collapse – which claimed the lives of more than a thousand garment workers in 2013 – the Accord has been critical in improving safety standards and working conditions in Bangladesh.

Here, “readymade garments are a mainstay of the economy, contributing almost 16 percent of Gross Domestic Product and about $34 billion worth of exports in the last fiscal year ending in June 2019,” writes BoF. So, understandably, the Accord has been essential in maintaining worker safety.

Initially established as a five-year pact, the Accord was due to expire in May 2018, but a longer transition period was agreed upon. It now boasts signatures from more than 200 global brands and, as Fashion Revolution’s Australian Coordinator Melinda Tually explains, the progress has been groundbreaking. “We have never had a multi-stakeholder initiative like it in the fashion industry,” she says.

The Accord members reportedly tried to extend its authority to operate, however these attempts were challenged by factory owners in court, leading the government to set up its own body to take over the work. "We have come together in good faith for a smooth transition from ACCORD to RSC and from now our formal journey has started," said Rubana Huq, President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

A national initiative uniting industry, brands and trade unions to ensure a sustainable solution on workplace safety, the RSC is an unprecedented enterprise. So here’s hoping hey can maintain the same standard of compliance that was previously seen with the Bangladesh Accord.  

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