Situation Bangladesh Accord has Agreement's attention
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh recently ruled that the office of the Bangladesh Accord must cease operating in Bangladesh after 30 November. The parties and businesses participating in the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile consider this a worrisome development.
Working conditions and worker safety are important factors in the Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) risk management assessment (also known as due diligence) that businesses perform. The Accord’s inspections made it possible to identify problems in factory safety and imposed a legal obligation on businesses to solve them. In the past several years, major improvements in fire and building safety have been achieved in Bangladesh. The Dutch Agreement parties welcome the news that Bangladesh wishes to assume full responsibility for the inspections. However, the government is still in the process of building the organisation tasked with carrying out inspections. More capacity-building is needed to ensure a smooth transfer. There are huge concerns that terminating the Accord prematurely will jeopardise progress in achieving safety in the Bangladeshi garment industry. The Dutch Agreement parties will be sending a joint letter to Bangladesh expressing their concern.
The Bangladesh Accord is an independent organisation that inspects factory sites in Bangladesh to identify health and safety risks in the workplace. The Accord was set up in 2013 after the collapse of Rana Plaza, an enormous factory building. It is an independent organisation, co-founded by the international trade union movement, civil society organisations and businesses. Some 200 businesses worldwide have signed the Accord, including a number of signatories to the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile. The first Accord was valid from 2013 to 2018. A follow-up to the earlier agreements was to run from 2018 to 2021, after which the Bangladeshi government would assume responsibility for the inspections.