*This tracker was last updated on November 29th, 2021. Our Accord Brand Tracker pulls heavily from the research of the Clean Clothes Campaign. For more information on individual brand actions, please visit PayUp Fashion.
This past summer, the safety of Bangladesh’s garment factory workers hung in the balance as representatives from global trade unions and major apparel brands negotiated if there would be a future for the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety — an expiring agreement that had monumentally assisted with the safety of garment workers and upkeep of factory conditions for the past eight years. On August 25th, 2021, celebration erupted as a new, two-year binding agreement was finally accepted to both renew and expand the life-saving Accord.
However, there are still dozens of brands manufacturing in Bangladesh that have yet to sign on to the now-renamed International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry.
Publicly tag brands that HAVE NOT yet committed to the Accord’s extension and expansion on social media with any of the following sample copy (or craft your own!):
In order to be sign on the Accord, brands must agree to the following three points:
1) Binding and individually enforceable contracts with brands: Rather than leaving enforcement and accountability up to brand’s discretion, the Accord contends that any brand signatory is held legally responsible for ensuring human rights standards within their supply chain, and maintaining workplace safety. This is an actionable step against the previously voluntary basis by which brands independently held accountability over their supply chains.
2) Overseen by an independent secretariat: This independent secretariat serves to mitigate for any brand biases and ensure that the Bangladesh Accords maintain human rights protections for the garment workers it is intended to serve. Essentially, it acts as a mechanism of additional enforceable accountability.
3) Allowing for expansion to other countries: 2021 negotiations have built upon the growing occurrences of industrial disasters among garment manufacturing sites, especially in the years following the Rana Plaza collapse. In the wake of reform efforts into the Bangladeshi RMG (ready-made garment) industry, brands have been opting to expand outsourcing to countries with less developed workplace safety regulations to maintain their unethically low cost of production and retain their enormous profit margins. Currently among the more popular outsourcing locations for fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, etc., are: China, India, Malaysia, and Pakistan — all countries with garment manufacturing sectors that perpetuate hazardous workplace conditions due to a lack of legally binding and enforceable regulation.
The Accord (or Bangladesh Accord on Fire & Building Safety) is a groundbreaking agreement on workplace safety launched in the aftermath of the worst industrial accident in fashion history, the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster. The Accord has been hugely impactful, protecting the lives of 2.7 garment makers in 1,600 factories in Bangladesh through factory inspections, upgrades, and training, putting a stop to the cycle of fires, building collapses and other accidents that senselessly take garment makers’ lives. The Accord agreement was first signed in May of 2013 between unions and more than 200 global apparel brands, including H&M, Zara, American Eagle, PVH (parent company to Tommy Hilfiger), C&A, UNIQLO, Primark, and Adidas. The Accord first expired in 2018, but a successor Accord agreement was extended again until 2021.