DHAKA – 532 factories could potentially be declared ineligible to produce for Bangladesh Accord signatory companies by 1 January 2019 if the Bangladesh Accord leaves the country at the end of this month. The situation, set to hit the supply chains of dozens of Western apparel brands, will occur as a direct result of the closure of the Bangladesh Accord’s office in Dhaka which the Accord’s chief safety officer says, “will likely have negative consequences related to the Accord’s ability to monitor and verify progress at Accord covered factories.”
Writing to Accord signatories this week, the chief safety officer said: “If the Accord is forced to close its liaison office in Bangladesh, the provisions of the 2018 Transition Accord signed by global apparel brands and retailers and unions remain in effect. This means the Accord signatory brands will remain subject to the provisions of this agreement and the technical and executive decisions of the Accord; including the Accord Escalation Protocol.
“The Accord will make arrangements to continue our follow-up inspections, for example through contracting of international engineering firms to conduct inspections. However, it will be inevitable that the level of intensity and capability to continue monitoring and verifying remediation at Accord covered factories will be compromised if the Accord office in BD is forced to close down. As a result, the Accord has to prioritise its inspection capacity to factories that have participated adequately in the Accord program and are most likely to be completing remediation. The Accord will not be able to inspect factories already in escalation at the required level needed to make sure such unsafe factories are pushed towards acceleration of remediation to merit de-escalation.
“We hope the situation will be averted. However, it is incumbent as the CSI to inform you of these particular consequences of a premature closure of the Accord BGD office.”