NEW YORK – More than 100 investors representing billions of dollars in assets under management have signed a letter urging apparel brands and retailers to publish the names, addresses, and other important information about the factories manufacturing their branded products in extended supply chains, including subcontractors. The investors made the request in a joint investor statement on the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
“Stakeholders, including investors, rely on transparency as a tool for evaluating corporate performance on a range of social, environmental and governance issues,” observed Lauren Compere, managing director of Boston Common Asset Management. “The Accord has been very transparent in requiring disclosure of each of the 1,600 factories it covers which helps investors track progress. This disclosure requirement is a ‘best practice’ that all companies need to implement, beginning with 1st tier suppliers, then throughout their extended supply chains.”
Led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the letter sees investors also urge brands that have yet to sign the 2018 Bangladesh Accord to do so now. “Additionally, as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a North American initiative of 29 companies, sunsets its initiative in 2018, we urge those company signatories to join the Accord,” says the letter.
In an unprecedented move, the investors make a number of other requests of apparel brands and retailers to address supply chain issue. These include:
– Calling on companies to urge the Bangladesh government to register unions expeditiously and change burdensome requirements, including the “unreasonably high requirement” for 30 per cent of workers in a factory to agree to form a union.
– Calling on companies to sign agreements with their suppliers where prices for their apparel products enable factories to pay fair wages and comply with workplace human rights standards. “We call on companies to urge the government to raise the minimum wage to a level where workers can meet their basic needs and the needs of their families,” says the letter.
– Urging companies to establish grievance mechanisms in their supplier factories that ensure that workers are able to “confidentially raise safety and health concerns, and that these concerns are properly addressed and remediated.”
Full letter HERE