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May 21, 2013
Retailers say yes to safety accord for Bangladesh

 

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Global retailer H&M has joined other well-known clothing brands that have signed onto a plan to help fund safety improvements in Bangladesh. More than 1,100 people lost their lives in a tragic factory collapse in that country late last month.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety commits the clothing makers to a safe and sustainable industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other preventable accidents. The 5-year agreement has also attracted PVH Corporation, the parent company of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Izod brands. 

Under the plan, participating retailers will fund repairs and renovations, as well as independent factory inspections. Participants may terminate business with any factory that refuses to make necessary safety upgrades.

Wal-Mart did not agree to sign onto the plan, but announced it will pursue inspections at its suppliers’ factories in Bangladesh. The retail giant says it will share the results of these inspections with the public.

The global worker safety group Clean Clothes Campaign welcomed news that many leading brands will participate in the safety plan. The organization anticipates that the new safety agreement “can finally bring an end to the horror in Bangladesh.”

H&M says it has been playing an active role in improving fire safety in Bangladeshi garment factories. In 2011, the company introduced fire safety education to suppliers and employees.

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