Bangladesh Accord Update

Inspections

Accord signatory companies continue to list new factories and a new round of initial inspections will be conducted in April 2016. The Accord currently covers a total of 1661 factories.

The Accord engineers are conducting follow up inspections with frequency of between 3-6 months at each factory to verify remediation.

Remediation
Overall remediation progress can be seen on the Accord progress page. The recently published Quarterly Aggregate Report provides more detailed information on remediation progress over time.

A total of 103846 safety hazards have been identified, of which 53091 have now been reported or verified as fixed, representing more than 50%.

There is a wide range of remediation progress amongst Accord covered factories. Around 15% of factories have reported over three-quarters of their remediation complete whereas 20% of factories have reported less than one quarter of their remediation complete

The Accord has developed a remediation completion plan to accelerate remediation at many factories that are behind schedule.

The Accord escalation procedure notifies factories when remediation is inadequate and can lead to termination of business with that supplier by the Accord companies. Suppliers whose business with Accord signatory companies has been terminated for reasons of workplace safety are listed here.

The Accord is prioritising follow-up inspections at factories that have reported all issues are fixed.

After the Accord verifies all issues are fixed from the initial inspections, the factories will receive a letter of recognition and they are listed here.

In a recent meeting with the Partner Banks of the IFC remediation loans programme, the 4 partner banks updated the Accord and Alliance that they have so far granted loans totalling over US$3m amongst 7 factories. Each bank has stated they have approximately 10 further factories under consideration for remediation loans.  The Accord is working to organize a third meeting with IFC and their partner banks on this program to expand access and resolve problems which have been faced by some suppliers seeking loans.

The USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA) has recently confirmed $4m is available in remediation loans for factories inspected by the Accord or National Effort.

Signatory companies can support factories to apply for IFC or USAID DCA loans using the guidance and bank contact details available in the Signatory login.

Safety Committees
The Accord Safety Committee Pilot Program is underway in 40 factories with a registered trade union and active Accord signatory companies. The program aims to inform the workforce about the safety committee and train the workers and managers who serve on them to play a meaningful role in safety remediation, monitoring and handling of safety complaints.

At each factory an initial meeting is held with the factory management, signatory companies, the union federation and factory level union to explain and discuss the pilot program. The Accord holds All Employee meetings to ensure all workers are informed of the Safety Committee in their factory and the support available through the Accord.

The Safety Committee members receive a 7 session training program on supporting remediation, hazard identification, complaints handling, joint problem solving and workplace safety monitoring. More than 75 training sessions have been held in 30 factories so far, and the Accord continues to expand its pilot in unionised factories.

Stakeholder Engagement
In late January, the Accord participated in the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact delegation (EU-US-ILO) meetings and consultations as part of their second follow-up to assess the Government of Bangladesh progress on their Compact commitments. The Accord participated in two roundtables organized by the Government and met separately with Compact delegation members from the EU and US teams. The Accord highlighted its efforts to complete remediation and the combination of increased support and escalation measures. The Accord stressed the importance of establishing Safety Committees under the BLA rules and then allowing the committees to be trained, to be allowed to do their safety work at the factory level, and for safety concerns to be raised and addressed.

As part of Accord in-country leadership and Steering Committee members’ monthly meetings with the BGMEA leadership, BGMEA has committed to support the efforts to see more progress on remediation at inspected supplier factories. BGMEA has commenced an outreach program with those Accord listed suppliers who are poorer performers in completing remediation to help understand why and to press and help them to complete outstanding remediation items.

Governance
The next Steering Committee meeting is in April 2016 in Dhaka. The minutes from the January meeting are available here.

The report from the January Advisory Board meeting is available here.

Signatory Events
Company Caucus: The company signatories held a meeting with their Steering Committee representatives on 28-29th January 2016 in Amsterdam. The trade union and witness signatories joined part of the meeting for a panel discussion with company signatories. Key themes for this discussion were the pace of remediation and the rollout of Safety Committees at non-unionised factories.

Regional meetings for company signatories will take place in March & April and further details are available in the Signatory Login.

The next Company Caucus meeting is on 1st July in London.