About us

Working with brands, factories, and workers for a safer garment and textile industry

Our mission and goals

The International Accord advances workplace safety for the garment and textile industry so no worker needs to fear factory fires, structural weakness of factory buildings, or any occupational health and safety hazards that can be prevented with reasonable measures. We recognise that safe workplaces cannot be ensured without worker participation in the journey to a safer garment and textile industry.Through the involvement of brands, factories, and workers in the textile and garment supply chain, the International Accord pursues three main goals:

  1. Preventing fire, electrical, structural, and boiler safety accidents through an inspections and remediation program led by specialist, independent engineers
  2. Promoting a culture of workplace safety through training labour-management safety committees and engaging workers to address and monitor safety at factories
  3. Providing a trusted avenue for workers to raise safety concerns through an effective complaints mechanism

Where it all began

The International Accord began as the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh in 2013. The 5-year agreement was created to advance workplace safety and address the prevalence of 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 seriously injured thousands more. During this agreement, more than 220 brands and retailers became signatories to the 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 2018 Transition Accord lasted 3 years and included a commitment to transition the implementation of Accord programmes to a national tripartite organisation governed by brands and retailers, trade unions, and manufacturing associations, now known as the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC). 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. With this agreement, signatories committed to continue supporting workplace safety programmes in Bangladesh through the RSC and to establish workplace safety programmes in other countries according to the outcome of feasibility studies. The 2021 International Accord contains the same components that underpinned 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 an independent complaints mechanism. Over 180 company signatories signed the International Accord in the first year of this agreement.

Key milestones for the International Accord

13 May 2013

Over 40 companies, 2 global unions and 8 Bangladesh trade unions sign the 5-year Accord Agreement

September 2013

Bangladesh office set up in Dhaka

December 2013

Engineers conduct 10 pilot factory inspections

February 2014

Secretariat set up in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

February 2014-August 2014

Engineers conduct initial fire, electrical & structural inspections at over 1,000 factories

July 2015

Accord company signatories reach the 200 mark

June 2017

Trade unions and brands negotiate the 2018 Transition Accord agreement

October 2017

Accord, Government of Bangladesh and Bangladesh industry representatives reach a Memorandum of Understanding to continue Bangladesh Accord operations until a national body is ready to take over

1 June 2018

A renewed 3-year Transition Accord comes into effect with 173 company signatories

May 2019

Accord and Bangladesh manufacturers association agree on the transition of Accord operations to the new tri-partite labour-brands-industry RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) by 1 June 2020

February 2020

The 2018 Transition Accord reaches 196 brand signatories

1 June 2020

All Accord staff and operations in Bangladesh transition to the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC). The Accord Secretariat in the Netherlands continues to support and monitor implementation of the Transition Accord

1 September 2021

A 2-year International Accord Agreement comes into effect with 77 company signatories committed to expand safety programmes to at least one other country

September 2021 – ongoing

Accord Secretariat conduct feasibility studies for expansion

May 2022

175 companies have signed up to the 2021 International Accord

November 2022

The International Accord begins pilot inspections in Pakistan

14 December 2022

International Accord signatories announce their intention to establish an Accord programme in Pakistan

6 January 2023

Pakistan Accord on Health & Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry launches with X company signatories


The Accord is a Dutch Foundation governed by a Steering Committee with equal representation of the signatory companies and trade unions, including national and international representatives. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) provides a neutral Chair for the Steering Committee.

Learn more
Transparency and Accountability

A core principle of the Accord is to ensure transparency amongst workers, factories and brands about the status of workplace safety. To this end, the Accord publishes a covered factories list, inspection reports, corrective action plans, and the status of safety complaints raised through the complaints mechanism. The Accord also contains several provisions to ensure accountability of all parties in the supply chain to resolve safety hazards and maintain a culture of safety in every Accord covered factory.

Learn more
Meet the Accord Secretariat

The International Accord Foundation has a Secretariat based in Amsterdam which is responsible for implementing the Accord agreements and supporting signatories to fulfil their commitments.

Learn more
Press and Media

Discover the latest news stories, press statements and resources related to the International Accord

Press and Media
Join the conversation on a safer clothing industry