In light of the recent Bangladesh tragedy, H&M has agreed to sign a fire and building safety agreement to support and protect Bangladeshi garment factory workers. The pledge stipulates that companies should pay for renovation and repairs in order to ensure that the country’s garment factories are safe.
“H&M’s decision to sign the accord is crucial. They are the single largest producer of apparel in Bangladesh, ahead even of Wal-Mart. This accord now has tremendous momentum,” said Scott Nova, executive director of labour rights watchdog the Worker Rights Consortium. “This agreement will save lives.”
The binding agreement also demands that companies should agree to independent safety inspections and that brands sever ties with any factories that refuse to adhere to new safety requirements. The pact is “substantially the same” as a program already signed by luxury conglomerate PVH, that owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Other brands manufacturing garments in Bangladesh have been asked to sign the contract by May 15.
“This agreement is exactly what is needed to finally bring an end to the epidemic of fire and building disasters that have taken so many lives in the garment industry in Bangladesh,” Nova told WWD. “It is a legally binding, enforceable agreement under which signatory companies must take the steps necessary to protect the lives of the workers who make their clothes.”
What do you think of H&M’s initiative to sign the pledge? Do you think more should be done?