Agreement on International Accord Framework for Health and Safety Programs

November 6, 2023
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Global brands and trade unions have renewed the International Accord to enhance health and safety in supply chains in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and other countries in the future.

Statement

Amsterdam, 6 November 2023 [updated on 20 November]: 

Negotiations between representatives of international textile retailers and the global trade union signatories to the International Accord on Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry have culminated in an agreement that reaffirms their commitment to enhancing health and safety throughout the supply chains of the brand signatories.

Brands and trade unions have renewed their commitments for an extended three-year term, with an automatic renewal of another three years making it the longest Accord commitment to date.

This new iteration of the International Accord takes effect on 1 November 2023.

This enduring commitment reflects the conviction of the brand and trade union signatories in the Accord’s impact on workplace health and safety through independent factory inspections, remediation, safety training, and an effective worker complaints mechanism.

The renewed International Accord is a legally binding framework agreement under which Country-Specific Safety Programs (CSSPs) will be implemented in Pakistan and through the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) in Bangladesh, with the provision to develop future health and safety programs in other major garment-producing countries based on feasibility and expansion criteria.

Key new features of the International Accord framework include:

  • An international framework:
    (a) committing to expanding the health and safety work progressively in the coming years to other countries, based on feasibility studies and successful progress made in the existing country programs;
    (b) considering a future expansion of the scope of the worker complaints mechanism beyond health and safety in CSSPs; and
    (c) outlining the key signatory obligations and principles upon which country programs will be built. The details of the country programs will be outlined in Addendums to the International Accord agreement.
  • Participating brands shall sign both the International Accord framework agreement and the relevant CSSP agreements they choose to participate in.
  • The Pakistan Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry (Pakistan Accord), which was signed in January 2023, will continue as an Addendum to the International Accord.

Negotiations for the new Bangladesh CSSP agreement concluded on 6 November. This agreement will continue the signatories’ commitments to the health and safety program in Bangladesh through the RSC as stipulated in a separate Bangladesh Safety Agreement available to read here.

The new International Accord will continue to build on the strong principles and approach that made the Accord effective. This includes factory inspections and remediation, safety training, worker awareness programs, a credible independent worker complaints mechanism, respect for freedom of association, independent administration and implementation, a high level of transparency, and provisions ensuring financially feasible remediation.

The International Accord Secretariat will support signatories in implementing the agreement and monitor signatory compliance with the International Accord agreement and its country Addendums.

Brands and retailers will be invited to sign the International Accord and the Bangladesh agreement from 20 November onwards. Brands sourcing from Pakistan that have not signed the Pakistan Accord yet are encouraged to sign as soon as possible.

The Accord encourages all garment and textile companies to sign this renewed framework agreement and join our collective goal of safe and sustainable textile and garment industry.

The International Accord Secretariat will announce the initial signatories to the International Accord and the Bangladesh program in the first week of December 2023.

Download the full text of the International Accord here.


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