Day 2 Recap: Accord All Signatory Meeting 2024

The International Accord held its All Signatory Meeting 2024 on the 25 and 26 of April 2024 at the Rode Hoed in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The purpose of the event was to update participants about the key developments on the operations and implementation of the Accord’s Country-Specific Safety Programs (CSSPs) in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

26 April marked the second day of the International Accord‘s All Signatory Meeting highlighted the Pakistan Accord and welcomed the participation of over 30 suppliers from the Pakistani textile and garment industry.

The event brought together global brands and retailers including Adidas, Mango, Primark, Lidl, Matalan, PVH, Puma, Zalando, Kik Textilien, GAP Inc, ASOS, AEO Inc. H&M, Inditex and Bestseller.

Participation from the Pakistani textile and garment industry included nearly 30 representatives. Additionally, this day saw representation from the International Apparel Federation (IAF).

The day began with opening remarks from Michelle Tarry of American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO) emphasising the key role of the Accord’s remediation plans and worker training in promoting and maintaining workplace safety at their sourcing facilities. Tarry further underscored AEO’s commitment to the Pakistan Accord, stating:

We are in a position to extend the achievements from Bangladesh to Pakistan. While our production in Pakistan has been limited thus far; our recent visits have left us impressed with the industry’s investments in safety infrastructure, sustainability, and innovation. In the coming years, we see significant growth potential in Pakistan and remain committed to the well-being of those making our products. The Pakistan Accord’s inspection program, training initiatives, and complaints mechanism will be instrumental in this journey.

Koen Oosterom and Zulfiqar Shah, offered updates on the operations of the Pakistan Accord, followed by a discussion on the inspections and remediation programs by the Accord’s George Faller, Colm Quinn, and Veronique Camerer who elaborated on the importance of planning factory remediation and the available tools to ensure that it is financially feasible for factories to correct safety risks.

The session concluded with insights from Zubaida Machiyara (Fashion Knit Industries) and Yasir Yaqoob (Lucky Textile Mills), who shared their experiences of participating in the initial inspections under the Pakistan Accord.

The panel on the Accord’s workplace programs featured observations by David Reiner (Zalando), Matthijs Crietee (IAF: International Apparel Federation), Christina Hajagos-Clausen (IndustriALL Global Union ), and Kirstine Drew (Pakistan Accord) who echoed the importance of collaboration among all actors in ensuring access to remedy through the Accord’s complaints mechanism.

The last session featured valuable recommendations from suppliers to implement the Pakistan Accord. Key suggestions emphasised prioritising transparency, facilitating knowledge exchange, nurturing business stability, and embracing collaborative models tailored to accommodate facilities of all sizes.

Muhammed Rehan Ahmendani (Executive Director, Synergies Worldwide) shared:

“The arrival of the Accord in Pakistan is not a challenge but an opportunity. It is logical to understand that a safer workforce means more brands and, consequently, more business. The Accord is skillful and focuses on fostering strong business relations between brands and suppliers. Moving forward, I recommend that brands remain committed to the program and embrace new ideas to ensure worker safety, with a special focus on digitisation.”

We thank our panelists, Azfar Hasan (Matrix Sourcing), Kaschif R. Israr (Euro Centra Pakistan), Aamir Chottani (CHOTTANI INDUSTRIES.), Muhammed Rehan Ahmedani (Synergies Worldwide), Michael Bride and Veronique Camerer for their invaluable insights.

Lastly, we thank all attendees for their openness, insights, and recommendations, which are crucial to effectively implementing the Pakistan Accord and contributing to a safer garment and textile industry.

We thank our moderator, Olivia Windham Stewart and the Amerpodia team for the organisational support on this event.

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