The Bangladesh Accord is an independent, legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions, being the IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union and eight of their Bangladeshi affiliated unions, to work towards a safe and healthy garment and textile industry in Bangladesh. The 2013 Accord had a five-year time span, but has been extended through a 2018 Transition Accord. The Accord is governed by a Steering Committee with equal representation of the signatory companies and trade unions, presided by a neutral chair provided by the International Labour Organisation.
The Bangladesh Accord was created following the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, when the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed on 24 April leading to 1,133 fatalities and thousands more critically injured. Another concern were the numerous (fatal) factory fires already occurring in Bangladesh in the years before. The Bangladesh Accord is thus a response to the unsafe working environment in Bangladesh, aiming to create a working environment which is safe and healthy for factory workers where accidents are prevented through reasonable health and safety measures. Factories which produce Ready-Made Garments are covered by the Accord, companies may voluntarily sign up.
The Bangladesh Accord leads to factory inspections on fire, electrical and structural safety; the monitoring of remediation progress; safety training for labour-management Safety Committees and employees; and the resolving of safety complaints between employees and factory representatives, as employees have the right to refuse unsafe work and raise safety complaints. Companies who sign the Accord commit to commercial terms with their suppliers to ensure it is financially feasible for the factories to maintain the safe workplaces and comply with remediation requirements. In February 2017 the Inactive Factory Remediation Fund was launched, through with signatories collectively provide financial support to factories which no longer work with signatory companies.
Over 220 companies have signed the 2013 Accord. Under the 2013 Accord, Accord engineers inspected over 2000 Ready-Made Garment factories and identified over 150,000 safety hazards. 85% of these hazards are reported to have been fixed. For more information on the 2013 Accord see here.
Since the Transition Accord in 2018, over 190 brands and retailers have become part of this Accord. For more information on the progress made since the 2018 Transition Accord, see here.