A coalition of 190 global investors has urged the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to negotiate with the government to extend the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a five-year legally-binding pact signed in May 2013 between global brands, retailers and trade unions for a safe and healthy readymade garment industry.
New York-based Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) recently wrote a letter to BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman, seeking his support so that the Accord can operate till the responsibility of inspection and remediation of garment factories is transferred to the Remediation Coordination Council (RCC), according to a report.“This is not the time to phase out the Accord’s comprehensive approach to inspecting and remediating fire and building safety issues in garment factories,” the letter said.
The ICCR is a coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change and represents more than $3 tr in assets under management, according to its website. Its 300 member organisations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, non-governmental organisations and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of more than $400 bn. The ICCR says the investors are concerned that ending the work of the Accord would be too risky for the agency’s signatory companies to continue to source from unsafe factories lacking a credible and effective regulatory system.
A hearing on a petition filed by the Accord challenging the high court directive that asked the agency to stop activities in Bangladesh is scheduled on April 7. ICCR members are not direct signatory to the Accord. It had earlier sent letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking the extension of Accord’s operations.