Parent Co. Of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger Is First U.S. Apparel Maker To Join Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord

Weeks after a garment factory outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapse, injuring thousands and taking the lives of more than 1,100, a number of large, global apparel and retail companies have signed on to an accord aimed at improving conditions for garment workers in the area and preventing future tragedies.

So far, only one American company has joined. The name of PVH Corp. may not ring a bell, but you’ve certainly of most, if not all, of its brands — Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Bass, Van Heusen, Izod, Arrow. Today it has agreed in principle, along with retailers H&M, C&A, and Inditex (parent company of Zara), and others to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which is a legally binding agreement between the signatories, global unions IndustriALL and UNI, and apparel unions in Bangladesh.

The accord requires independent safety inspection of facilities, along with transparent public reporting of findings, mandatory repairs and renovations. The program will also develop process for workers to report health and safety risks.

The companies involved in the agreement have also committed to paying for these repairs and upgrades, and to stop doing business with facilities that refuse. PVH announced today that it will commit up to $2.5 million to the five-year plan.

“In signing this Accord they are committing to working with unions to address the root causes that have created the horrendous working conditions for textile workers in Bangladesh,” said IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina about the newest batch of signatories. “With this Accord we will make sure that the price paid by workers at Rana Plaza in the biggest single act of industrial homicide will not be forgotten.”

Many U.S. retailers and apparel companies maintain that they do their own inspections of the manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh and elsewhere. However, these inspections have been criticized because they are not independent and the results are not willingly made public.

H&M, Tommy sign Bangladesh factory safety pact [CNN]