Bangladesh Accord making history in the supply chain
4 years on from the Rana Plaza tragedy, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and safety is saving lives and changing the rules of the game in the global supply chain. At the UNI Commerce Conference, a high-level panel featuring unions, brands and NGOs talked about the successes of the Accord and plans for the future.
“Rana plaza was a call to actions – we simply could not allow business as usual to continue, “stated Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “With the Bangladesh Accord, we turned a page in supply chain history.”
“The binding and enforceable nature of the Bangladesh accord separates the accord from all other compliance agreements.”
Santi Sagredo, Head of Inditex HR, which was one of the first brands to signed up to the Accord, emphasized that the Bangladesh Accord has been a gamechanger in the country, “The enforceable aspect of the Accord is the most powerful tool to rectify the problems in Bangladeshi factory. As you know, commitments made on a voluntary basis can easily be ignored by companies – the legal framework and stipulations of the Accord mean that it is the first agreement of its kind.”
LC Waikiki’s Ted Southall, who has 46 years of experience in the retail sector, said “The changes made by the Bangladesh Accord has rectified the unseen dangers, such as the quality of the concrete and electrical hazards. These threats need expert electrical engineers and the accord has provided that.”
“The primary purpose of the accord is to ensure that workers are safe in the event of tragic fires such as in Tasreen or in building collapses such as Rana Plaza.”
Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign told the conference that whilst the Accord has been a turning point in the sector, it could be improved upon in the future in terms of collective bargaining and freedom of association.
Rob Wayss, Executive Director & Acting Chief Safety Inspector of the Bangladesh Accord urged unions to continue their support for the Accord and outlined the successes and challenges of the first four years. See video below: