H&M Commits to the Fire and Building Safety Agreement
Today H&M publicly commits to support the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, initiated by IndustriALL Global Union. The parties will be committed to the goal of a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. This commitment is an additional step in an already ambitious sustainability program at H&M.
“Fire and building safety are extremely important issues for us and we put a lot of effort and resources within this area. H&M has for many years taken the lead to improve and secure the safety of the workers in the garment industry. With this commitment we can now influence even more in this issue. We hope for a broad coalition of signatures in order for the agreement to work effectively on ground”, says Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability H&M.
The Accord, designed for a five-year period, is a pragmatic step towards addressing improved fire and building safety in the RMG Industry and will add to H&M’s already existing extensive and strict requirements on the suppliers. In order to make an impact and be sustainable it would need a broad coalition of brands and align with Government, Industry Associations and Trade Unions agreed National Action Plan, to reach the whole industry of approximately 5,000 factories. H&M appreciates ILO playing a vital part as coordinator.
H&M plays an active role in improving fire safety in Bangladeshi garment factories. In 2011, H&M introduced an education to increase fire safety awareness amongst suppliers and their employees. Based on a study that was conducted in 2011, the concern of lapsed fire safety licenses was raised with the Government of Bangladesh.
H&M also requires that all the supplier factories conduct electrical assessments in their factories, and H&M has offered to share these costs with them. H&M believes that this work will become an integrated part of the implementation program that follows the Accord.
“Our strong presence in Bangladesh gives us the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and contribute to the community’s development. By being on site, put demands on manufacturers and work for continuous improvements, we can slowly but surely contribute to lasting changes”, says Helena Helmersson.
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