Members of the Bangladesh Investor Initiative called on companies sourcing from the Bangladesh apparel sector to renew their commitment to protect worker health and safety by endorsing the three-year extension of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
The investors in a statement issued on Friday said additional time is needed to complete the remediation plans and worker training indicated by audits at the over 1,600 factories covered by the Accord, according to Interfaith Centre for Corporate Responsibility.
They are sending letters to the 160 companies that have not yet become signatories to the three-year extension of the Accord, urging them to participate.
“To date, only 60 of the 220 signatories of the Accord have signed the new agreement to extend the program until May 2021,” stated David Schilling, senior program director of ICCR.
The investors are part of the Bangladesh Investor Initiative organized by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to press brands and retailers sourcing in Bangladesh to join the Accord and remediate human rights risks in their supply chains.
The statement was endorsed by 147 institutional investors that collectively represent $3.7 trillion in managed assets.
Henrike Kulmann of Allianz Global Investors GmbH, said, “We call on all companies sourcing from Bangladesh to become Accord signatories to mitigate these serious human rights and business risks.”
The Accord has inspected 1,600 factories, 82 per cent of the identified safety issues have been fixed, the majority of them electrical.
“It is critical to ensure that future safety problems are detected before they become life-threatening events. The detailed comprehensive work achieved by the Accord is a positive signal to investors that safety risks are being carefully and sustainably managed," said Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management.
The investors in the statement recommend brands to sign the 2018 Accord during the first quarter of this year.
The statement recommends brands, retailers and other stakeholders strengthen the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity in Bangladesh’s garment sector to ensure an integrated approach to promoting fire safety.