NEW ALBANY – US apparel retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), has defended its decision to not yet sign the 2018 Bangladesh Accord despite mounting pressure from NGOs such as the Clean Clothes Campaign and consumer activists. The company said it is still evaluating its options – seemingly whether to sign the Bangladesh Accord or work with Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety-affiliated entity. It also points out that the fire, electrical and structural audits of its vendors’ facilities in Bangladesh have achieved a progress rate of 95 per cent, ahead of the Accord’s brand average of 84 per cent.
The business has issued a statement saying it is committed to supporting meaningful, industry-wide safety improvements, adding that it was one of the first companies to join the original Bangladesh Accord.
The statement adds: “A&F is proud of the great strides its manufacturing vendors continue to make to ensure workplace safety. Its long-term vendors in Bangladesh comprise those that have committed to and attained, the high standards A&F expects of all its vendors. The company is also working with vendors who are making tangible, sustainable progress towards reaching those goals.
“Over the last five years, the vendors with whom A&F works in Bangladesh have aggressively worked to remediate initial findings in their facilities across seven locations. Today the fire, electrical and structural audits of its vendors’ facilities in Bangladesh have achieved a progress rate of 95 per cent, ahead of the Accord’s brands’ average of 84 per cent. The factories have taken the direction of both the Accord and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety seriously and are committed to sustaining best practices, with ongoing guidance from leading brands, who are its customers, and third-party auditing firms.
“The Alliance is another industry organization focused on workplace safety in the Bangladesh RMG industry, which was also created in 2013, although it did not exist when A&F signed the Accord. It has done important work on driving improved safety in Bangladesh. The Alliance recently announced plans for a long-term, permanent Safety Monitoring Organisation. At the same time, there have been some developments regarding the status of the Accord beyond May 31, 2018.
“A&F is currently evaluating the various options to better understand which approach will allow the company to have the most positive impact on safety in its supply chain.”