The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry is a legally binding agreement between more than 180 brands/retailers and global trade unions, IndustriALL Global Union & UNI Global Union, to make textile and garment factories safe. It came into effect on September 1, 2021, as the successor to the 2013 and 2018 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was signed in May 2013 to advance workplace safety and address the prevalence of seriously harmful factory accidents in the textile and garment industry in Bangladesh. The agreement was initially signed by 40 brands and retailers, 2 global trade unions, IndustriALL Global Union & UNI Global Union, and 8 Bangladeshi trade unions in the aftermath of the April 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,000 workers and critically injured thousands more. By July 2015, the number of Accord company signatories had risen to 200.
2018 Transition Accord
To maintain the achievements of the 2013 Accord, over 190 brands and retailers renewed their commitments by signing the 2018 Transition Accord with the global trade unions. The Transition Accord lasted 3 years and included a commitment to transfer the implementation of Accord programmes to a national regulatory body. In May 2019, the Accord signed an agreement with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to set up a national, tri-partite organisation governed by brands and retailers, trade unions, and manufacturing associations, the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC), to carry forward the achievements on workplace safety in Bangladesh
2021 International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry
In 2021 the Accord signatories reached a new phase in their partnership and established the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry. This agreement continues the signatories’ commitment to support the workplace safety programmes in Bangladesh through the RSC and commits to establish workplace safety programmes in other countries based on feasibility studies.
The 2021 International Accord carries forward the fundamental components that drove the success of the earlier Accords, including respect for freedom of association, independent administration and implementation, a high level of transparency, provisions to ensure remediation is financially feasible, Safety Committee training and worker awareness programme, and a workers’ complaints mechanism.
Over 180 company signatories signed the International Accord by October 2022.
View our complete list of signatories here.
We’re committed to meeting high standards of transparency and accountability and making relevant information freely available to all our stakeholders and the public.
We ensure transparency amongst workers, factories, and brands about the actual status of workplace safety, by publishing a covered factories list, inspection reports, corrective action plans, and the status of safety complaints raised through the grievance mechanism.
The International Accord also contains several provisions to ensure the accountability of all parties in the supply chain to resolve safety hazards and maintain a culture of safety in every International Accord-covered factory.
Check our Updates to explore the International Accord covered factories list, Steering Committee meeting minutes, and our Quarterly Aggregate Reports (QARs).
The International Accord is a Dutch Foundation governed by a Steering Committee comprising 14 members with equal representation of the signatory companies and trade unions, including national and international representatives. Witness signatories participate in Steering Committee meetings as expert observers.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) provides a neutral Chair for the Steering Committee.
To offer all stakeholders insight into our governance, minutes of each Steering Committee meeting are published under our Updates page.
The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry (International Accord) is a 26-month, legally binding agreement between garment brands, retailers and trade unions to make Ready-Made Garment (RMG) and textile factories safe. The parties commit to continue the collective workplace safety program in Bangladesh by supporting the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) and to expand their safety programs to other countries based on the principles and standards of the previous fire and building safety Accords of 2013 and 2018.
The agreement is based on a number of fundamental principles including: respect for freedom of association, independent administration and implementation, a high level of transparency, provisions to ensure remediation is financially feasible, Safety Committee training and worker awareness program, and a credible, independent complaints mechanism.
The main changes from the previous 2013 and 2018 Accord are:
When signing the Accord, companies commit to:
The International Accord is aligned with UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Through the workplace safety programs, brands seek to prevent and mitigate adverse impacts, prioritizing one of the most salient human rights risks in their supply chains: the risk to loss of lives and irremediable injuries by fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures.
The independent and trusted Safety and Health Complaints Mechanism, now with the RSC, meets the effectiveness criteria for Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms (UNGP Article 31, Pillar III – Access to Remedy).
The parties to the Agreement will also explore the expansion of the Accord’s scope to address additional human rights due diligence responsibilities and will set up a Working Group for this purpose.
The signatories agreed to the future expansion of health and safety programs and to the development of Country-Specific Safety Programs (CSSP) in other countries selected based on feasibility. The aim is that within the course of this 26-month International Accord agreement there will be at least one CSSP established.
Within six months of the commencement of the International Accord (before February 2022), the signatories will jointly define the criteria for determining where and when expansion is appropriate and will agree on an initial lists of countries for consideration.
CSSPs shall meet the following principles:
a) Programs are aligned with the principles, protocols, procedures, policies and programs developed under the Bangladesh Accord.
b) Programs include national constituents in their governance bodies, including industry, brands, trade unions and others upon agreement.
c) Programs use national government institutions and local expertise and, where applicable, the influence of the ILO - Better Work in order to build capacity and enhance a culture of health and safety in the country.
The RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) is an independent, national, tri-partite organisation in Bangladesh, consisting of brands, industry and trade union constituencies. The signatories to the International Accord have agreed to fulfil their commitments under the agreement in Bangladesh through their participation in the RSC. The RSC will continue to operate the safety inspections and remediation program, safety committee and safety training program, and the safety complaints mechanism in Bangladesh.
The International Accord Foundation will not be operating in Bangladesh, as the Accord’s Bangladesh based assets and human resources, protocols, procedures, and standards have been transitioned to the RSC in June 2020, in accordance with the May 2019 Memorandum of Understanding and the January 2020 Transition Agreement between the Accord Steering Committee and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and endorsed by the Bangladesh High Court and the Government of Bangladesh. The Secretariat of the International Accord shall support, coordinate and liaise with the operations of the RSC in order to ensure that the brand obligations under the agreement are met.
The Brands Association for Textile & RMG Sustainability in Supply Chains (Brand Association) was set up as an association in the Netherlands and brings together the International Accord signatory companies. The Brands Association is one of the three formal members of the RSC (the trade unions and industry have set up similar associations) and six representatives of the Brand Association will serve on the Board of Directors of the RSC. Brand signatories to this International Accord commit to joining the Brands Association. The Brands Association, as set out by their membership rules, is only open for membership to brands who are signatories to the International Accord for the duration of the agreement.
Signatory companies contribute their equitable share in accordance with a formula yet to be decided by the Accord Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will establish a sliding scale of contributions based on certain factors, such as revenues, number of factories and annual volume, subject to annual revisions and capped at 350,000 USD per year. The signatory companies will contribute to funding the activities of the International Accord Foundation and the RSC in Bangladesh.
The establishment of new Country-Specific Safety Programs may require additional funding which shall be subject to a decision by the International Accord Steering Committee.
The workplace safety progress and achievements of the 2013 and 2018 Accords on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh remain publicly available on the Bangladesh Accord website.
This includes Quarterly Aggregate Reports, Remediation Updates as well as https://bangladeshaccord.org/factories" rel="noopener" target="_blank">up-to-date factory-by-factory remediation data