More than 90 global brands and retailers have so far signed the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Garment and Textile Industry, since it began this week on 1 September. More brands are expected to sign on to the 26-month legally-binding agreement, which comes into effect as the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety expires.
The new signatories include the world’s biggest fashion retailers H&M, Inditex (Zara) and Uniqlo, as well as Next, C&A, Marks & Spencer and U.S. brands Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and American Eagle.
By signing the International Accord with UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union, garment brands commit to the health and safety work already undertaken in Bangladesh and to the expansion of country-specific health and safety programmes based on the principles of the 2013 and 2018 Accord agreements. The new agreement will be implemented through the International Accord Foundation in the Netherlands.
UNI General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, said:
“Today marks a significant step forward for workers in the global garment industry. In signing the International Accord, brands and retailers shore up their commitment to factory safety in Bangladesh and also agree to establishing badly-needed enforceable and transparent health and safety programmes in at least one other garment producing country. We are delighted that so many global retailers and brands have signed up to the International Accord and in doing so, are taking responsibility for garment worker safety in their supply chains. We look forward to welcoming more signatories to the International Accord as soon as possible.”
The International Accord, which was announced on 25 August, comes after months of negotiations between global unions UNI and IndustriALL and brands. It includes the legally-binding commitments, respect for freedom of association and independent administration and monitoring that led to the success of the Bangladesh Accord, while also expanding the remit to include other countries and an option to advance its scope to include human rights due diligence.
The full list of signatories to the International Accord can be found here.
See the statement from the International Accord here: