Earlier this month in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the International Labour Organization (ILO), technical experts from the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) came to agreement on a common, minimum criterion for fire and structural inspection safety standards, pending a few final modifications.  

“I am encouraged by the progress made in Dhaka this month in the effort to establish harmonized safety standards for the garment industry,” said Jeffrey Krilla, Alliance President.  “The challenges in Bangladesh are many and complex, and the solution requires collaboration across all interested parties. I am proud of the role the Alliance played in setting the foundation for harmonized standards and look forward to shifting our focus to implementation.”  

Of the ILO-led meeting in Dhaka, ILO Country Director Srinivas Reddy characterized the discussion as “very constructive.”  The Alliance's draft Fire Safety and Integrity Standards first developed in September helped serve as the foundation for this collaborative discussion. These standards align with the Bangladesh National Building Code and also support the National Tripartite Plan of Action. In the meantime, Alliance member companies have been inspecting factories. The Alliance is conducting an independent analysis of those inspections to ensure they meet the agreed standards.

The Alliance has also made progress on the following milestones:

Supplier Disclosure: Adding to its earlier public release of supplier information, the Alliance has added 66 additional factories into the publicly released supplier database, bringing the total to 686 Alliance member factories.  The list notes factories that also manufacture goods for members of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, and with the new additions, there continues to be an approximate 50 percent overlap with Alliance and Accord factory lists. As the Alliance membership grows, factory information will continue to be updated and available at www.bangladeshworkersafety.org .

Alliance Membership Expansion: 
Alliance membership continues to grow, with three new companies joining in the past month. The companies include Australia's The Just Group, Giant Tiger Stores Limited and YM Inc. of Canada. This takes the Alliance membership to 26 member companies.

Alliance Staff Hired in Bangladesh: 
In November, the Alliance hired staff in Bangladesh, including Managing Director, Mesbah Rabin, who brings many years of experience working with ready-made garment factories in Bangladesh. The Alliance expects to officially open its Dhaka office in December.

About The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was founded by a group of North American apparel companies, retailers and brands who joined together to develop and launch the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative, a binding, five-year undertaking that will be transparent, results-oriented, measurable and verifiable with the intent of improving safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment (RMG) factories.

The Alliance provides global apparel companies and retailers the unprecedented opportunity to come together and put forward concrete solutions to issues that impact apparel and retail industries worldwide. The current group of 26 includes the following companies: Ariela Alpha International, LLC, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited; Carter's Inc.; The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc.; Costco Wholesale Corporation; Fruit of the Loom ,Gap Inc.; Giant Tiger Stores Limited; Hudson's Bay Company; IFG Corp.; Intradeco Apparel; J.C. Penney Company Inc.; The Jones Group Inc.; Jordache Enterprises, Inc.; The Just Group; Kohl's Department Stores; L. L. Bean Inc.; M. Hidary & Company, Inc., Macy's; Nordstrom Inc.; Public Clothing Company; Sears Holdings Corporation; Target Corporation; VF Corporation; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.;  and YM Inc.

Supporting associations include: American Apparel & Footwear Association, BRAC, Canadian Apparel Federation, National Retail Federation, Retail Council of Canada, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel. In addition, Li & Fung, a major Hong Kong-based sourcing company which does business with many members of the Alliance, will serve in an advisory capacity.  More information about the Alliance can be found at www.bangladeshworkersafety.org.