H&M, Inditex and C&A sign charter for safer factories in Bangladesh

H&M, Inditex and C&A sign charter for safer factories in Bangladesh

Three weeks after 1,100 textile workers died when their workshops collapsed in Bangladesh, H&M, Inditex and C&A have signed a charter that should drastically improve the security of Bengal textile workers.

Rising consumer protest

The agreement H&M and parent company of Zara, Inditex, have signed, is valid for the next five years. It includes more independent inspections of buildings, with the obligation to improve conditions of dangerous circumstances. The document also acknowledges labour unions' rights to inform workers about their rights and their safety. The International Labour Organization (ILO) supports the deal.

 

The clothing industry in Bangladesh employs about 3 to 5 million people, but the last months the country has been in the news repeatedly concerning its unsafe workshops. Three weeks ago over 1,100 workers lost their lives when their factory collapsed. This led to worldwide outrage and petitions that were signed by more than a million consumers.

 

H&M “largest buyer”

“No worker needs to fear fires, building collapses or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures.”, says Swedish clothing giant H&M, the largest buyer in Bangladesh (although the chain emphasised it was not a customer of the collapsed factory). “We hope for a broad coalition of signatures in order for the agreement to work effectively on ground”, says Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability H&M.

 

Inditex also signed the new agreement with IndustriALL Global Union, the driving force behind the negotiations with clothing brands. Next to the two largest textile retailers in the world also C&A has signed the agreement.

 

“Saving lives”

“This is absolutely historic”, says Ben Vanpeperstraete of Clean Clothes Campain, the NGO that has been striving for better working conditions for years. “Not only does it hold extensive agreements, it is a commitment made by the largest clothing chains in the world. A better signal could not be given to the world.”

 

Especially the fact the brands have committed to pay for renovations that make factories safer, is a huge step forward: “This way the agreement will save lives”, said the NGO, but "the battle is not over yet, because low wages are not mentioned in the agreement."

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors


Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd collaborate for animal welfare

18/01/2018

Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd will join forces for a unique collaboration: they will launch their own animal welfare quality mark. “Fair & Gut” (Fair and Good) will launch in Germany for poultry products, but steadily expand.

Rewe uses chocolate pudding to see how little sugar is acceptable

18/01/2018

German supermarket chain Rewe has asked its customers how little sugar they can bear. It aims to lower its private label’s sugar levels, but the consumer will decide by how much.

Lidl dials down its American ambitions

18/01/2018

Lidl had hoped to have about a hundred stores in the United States by the summer, but will be forced to adjust its first-year goals. The German chain currently has 49 stores in the United States.

Carrefour looks back on difficult year

17/01/2018

Despite a fourth quarter improvement, French Carrefour has been through a very difficult year. Next week, CEO Alexandre Bompard is expected to set out new guidelines in order to give the retail giant's results a new push.

British supermarket chain Iceland gives plastic the boot

17/01/2018

British frozen food chain Iceland will be the first supermarket chain to cut all plastic packages from its private labels. By 2023, each of its 1,400 private label products will have more sustainable packaging, like cardboard and paper, alternatives to plastic.

AB InBev sells two German beers

17/01/2018

AB InBev has sold German beer brands Diebels and Hasseröder, alongside its breweries, to investment fund CKCF. The new owner wants to invest more in the two beer brands.

Back to top