S & S News Update: Bangladesh Accord Reviewed In Court

S & S News Updates shares a speedy, instant fix and de-briefing of the latest salient issues on the sustainability and social responsibility agenda.

Let’s talk modern slavery, labour behind the label & lessons learnt, or not. 

Many of you will be familiar with the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse that took place in Bangladesh, which was tipped as the ‘turning point’ for an awakening within the fashion industry. Despite multiple warnings regarding the garment factory as a “death trap”, the building collapsed killing 1,100 & injuring a further 2,000. Needless to say, the resultant attention helped shed light on #FastFashion global retailers, their supply chain transparency & mass production processes. 

In the wake of this tragedy, 200+ international brands signed 2 legally binding (temporary) commitments introduced for worker safety. 

1. Accord on Fire & Building Safety (extended until 2021) 

2. Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (dissolved to local powers last year)

Bangladesh is a crucial manufacturer in the industry: 

🇧🇩👚Approx. $30 bln worth of clothing leaves Bangladesh annually

🇧🇩👚According to the WTO between 2010 – 2017, the country’s % share of global clothing exports increased from 4.2% to 6.5% 

🇧🇩👚Bangladeshi workers receive a minimum wage = 9% of a living wage

🇧🇩👚From 2011-2016 profit margins at supplier factories in Bangladesh fell by approx.13% 

🇧🇩👚Progress in safety standards is slow – over 5 years only 49% of Accord factories with negligible fire systems have installed fire detection

🇧🇩👚In November, safety inspectors were ejected from factories 

🇧🇩👚In December, workers strikes over lower wages has resulted in at least 7580 workers from 27 factories being laid off

On Monday 18th February, the Bangladesh gov, politically opposed to the Bangladesh Accord went to court to insist that the Accord must leave by a fixed date, as opposed to a responsible handover or putting in place competent safety measures as replacement legislation. 

There is now a huge risk the industry will return to pre-accord conditions sparking an outcry surrounding international labour rights and the true cost of fast fashion. 

Stay tuned for further updates via S & S News. A X 

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