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The Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 resulted in over 1,100 garment workers killed and 2,600 injured. This massive tragedy drew attention to the systemic human rights abuses in the garment sector, as well as the failure of the Bangladesh government and corporate compliance programs to create safe and healthy workplaces that respect and protect the lives of workers and mitigate the risk to companies and their investors.
To mark the 5th anniversary of this disaster a coalition of investors, including the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) issued an investor statement appealing to over 60 companies sourcing in Bangladesh to assume responsibility for helping to transform the Bangladesh apparel sector. In their statement the coalition proposes four main recommendations.
Investor Statement on the 4th Anniversary of the Rana Plaza Tragedy April 24th, 2017
Four years have passed since the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh resulting in over 1,100 garment workers killed and 2,600 injured. This massive tragedy drew attention to the systemic human rights abuses in the garment sector, as well as the failure of the Bangladesh government and corporate compliance programs to create safe and healthy workplaces that respect and protect the lives of workers and mitigate the risk to companies.
North American Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative Insufficient in Curbing Supply Chain Risk, Say Investors.
Legal accountability and full multi-stakeholder participation, including trade union role in governance structure, cited as critical elements lacking in plan versus Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
Upon initial review, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) based in New York, and long-term shareholders in apparel brands and retailers found the new initiative put forward this morning by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety lacking in sufficient worker protections and accountability mechanisms. ICCR members, including Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investments, Domini Social Investments LLC, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Trillium Asset Management, LLC, who have been engaging major apparel brands and retailers on worker rights and supply chain risk for over 15 years, view the new plan as a weaker alternative to the pre-existing Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (the Accord).
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Faith-Based and Socially Responsible Investors Urge U.S. Retailers to Back Bangladesh Accord June 7th, 2013
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a group of socially responsible investors of which the Oblates are active members, has asked US retailers to be part of the Bangladesh Fire and Safety initiative, a global accord that promotes the safety of garment workers that would be legally enforceable. The initiative was proposed after more than 1,100 workers died in a building collapse on the outskirts of Dhaka on April 24. The collapsed building housed garment factories that supplied to several Western retailers.
At least 14 North American retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), Macy’s Inc (M.N), Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O), JC Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) and Gap Inc (GPS.N) have declined to sign the accord.
They have said the accord gives labour unions too much control over ensuring workplace safety and have proposed the alternative “Safer Factory Initiative”.
ICCR, which was part of the Divestment from South Africa campaign in protest against Apartheid, said the alternative plan could dilute the impact of the accord and may not be legally enforceable.
Retailers such as Zara parent Inditex S.A. (ITX.MC), H&M (HMb.ST), PVH Corp (PVH.N) and Britain’s Tesco Plc (TSCO.L) have supported the Bangladesh fire and safety initiative.
Lives Destroyed, Dreams Crushed and Cheap Clothes April 29th, 2013
The collapse of a large eight-story garment factory in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka a few days ago has resulted in numerous images, stories and reports. The loss of more that 300 lives, most of them young parents, alongside the countless number that have suffered serious injuries, has resulted in immeasurable pain, suffering and anger.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the spotlight has been directed on the garment industry in Bangladesh.