DHAKA, Bangladesh—Five years ago today, more than two dozen leading North American apparel companies, retailers and brands joined together to form the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a legally binding, five-year initiative to dramatically improve worker safety in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector.
Today, 90 percent of Alliance factory remediation is complete, more than 1.5 million workers have been trained to protect themselves in case of a fire emergency, and a confidential helpline is available to 1.5 million workers, 24 hours a day. Most importantly, there has been zero loss of life due to a structural, electrical or fire-related accident in a factory where the Alliance has led on remediation.
Much of this success can be attributed to our partners in this work, most notably the factory owners who have prioritized workers by investing in safety within their factories. Today, the groundwork has been laid for a safety transformation not only in Alliance factories, but throughout the entire RMG sector in Bangladesh.
As our five-year tenure draws to a close this year, the Alliance continues to work with credible, local partners to form an independent Safety Monitoring Organization to continue our safety monitoring and worker empowerment programs, and build on our progress to create a self-sustaining ecosystem of safety. Only through a sustained commitment and increased local ownership will safety become the rule, not the exception, in Bangladesh.