Already 31 chains promise “clean clothes” from Bangladesh

Already 31 chains promise “clean clothes” from Bangladesh

Dozens of clothing chains have signed the Clean Clothes charter for Bangladesh, but some of the major brands are missing. Meanwhile a new disaster in Cambodia makes it painfully clear there still is a lot of work to be done.

31 chains sign enforceable charter

Trade union IndustriALL Global Union had made the fashion industry an ultimatum: clothing retailers got until midnight on Wednesday to agree with their charter to improve security in Bengal factories.

 

31 chains had signed the enforceable “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh” before that deadline, agreeing on independent inspections of factories, access for unions and the formation of safety committees. The charter also guarantees the right of employees to refuse work in certain circumstances. The brands have also declared to be prepared to pay for renovations on factories of subcontractors.

 

The signing of the two largest clothing groups in the world earlier this week have certainly sped up the process. Since then a number of chains have joined: PVH (Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein), Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Primark, El Corte Inglés, Mango, Carrefour, Aldi, Benetton, WE Group, Esprit, Lidl, Abercrombie & Fitch and more.

 

American brands lag behind

“It is historic that so many brands have signed a legally binding agreement that puts workers first”, says Ben Vanpeperstraete of Clean Clothes Campaign. “This accord promises fundamental changes in the Bengal clothing industry. It is a shame however that the American brands are not following the European ones”, by which he refers to among other Gap and Walmart.

 

“We at Clean Clothes Campaign have first approached the big chains that at least worked at a European level. Because the accord needs a big scale, it was important they signed first, before we went to the big players”, Vanpeperstraete continues.

 

Still work to do

The enthusiasm about the agreement was overshadowed by the fact that terms agreed upon are not always followed. For example, the victims of the factory fire in Tazreen (November 2012) are still waiting for the compensation that was promised.

 

The negotiations with Primark about compensation for the Rana Plaza disaster are also at a dead end: “I'm disappointed and also angry," said Amirul Haque Amin, head of the National Garment Workers' Federation. "It has been two weeks and I expected after the meeting to hear from them within three or four days."

 

The problem is not only situated in Bangladesh, say the NGOs. In countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Cambodia and Burma people are also still working in dire conditions.

 

That once again became painfully clear, when Wednesday the roof of a shoe factory collapsed in Cambodia. Three people were killed and at least six injured. According to the first information the factory was making shoes for Japanese producer ASICS. In Cambodia the textile and shoe factories are the biggest employers, worth 65,000 jobs. Last year the sector brought in 3.7 billion dollar.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors


Amazon buys supermarket chain Whole Foods Market

16/06/2017

Amazon dealt a serious blow to Ahold Delhaize and Walmart: it acquired supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, its giant introduction to physical food retail. AD’s share was in freefall after the announcement, down 10 % after only an hour.

Nestlé puts American candy division up for sale

16/06/2017

Swiss food group Nestlé is looking at several strategic options for its American candy division, including a possible sale. It should reach a decision by the end of the year.

AB InBev: “The beer market has drastically changed”

16/06/2017

“The beer market has never been as interesting as it is now”, AB InBev’s sales director off-trade Benoit Bronckart said. There is a positive vibe in the beer industry and the brewer has embraced diversity more than ever.

Good deal for Inex in South Korea

15/06/2017

Belgian dairy manufacturer Inex, known for its milk cartons at school, is targeting Asian growth. It signed a deal to ship 800 million tons of cream during its South Korean trade mission.

EU bans "soy milk" and "tofu butter"

15/06/2017

Can a manufacturer of organic alternatives call its products “soy milk” or “tofu butter”? The European Court of Justice confirms it cannot, because the European Union has strict legislation about what can be called milk, cream, butter, cheese and yoghurt.

Gigantic task awaits Bompard at Carrefour

12/06/2017

Alexandre Bompard will need to perform another gargantuan task at department store group Carrefour. After he managed to get Fnac back on track, he will need to do the same for Carrefour.

Back to top