The deadline to sign onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh passed on Tuesday, and at least 14 major North American retailers declined to participate.
The agreement, which demands a five-year commitment from participating retailers to conduct independent safety inspections of factories and pay up to $500,000 per year toward safety improvements, has seen greater support abroad than in the U.S.
Major European retailers — for example, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour — have joined the agreement. Others who’ve signed on include companies recently involved with factory disasters in Bangladesh, such as Swedish retailer H&M and Italian fashion house Benetton. A 2010 factory fire at a facility that made cardigans for H&Mkilled 21 people, and Bennetton had a supplier in the Rana Plaza factory that collapsed last month, killing more than 1,100 people.
PVH, parent to Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, signed the accord, along with Abercrombie & Fitch, which agreed just hours before the deadline. That leaves plenty of U.S. retailers absent from the agreement, according to the Worker Rights Consortium, an international labor monitoring group. However, some retailers, like Walmart, claim they are working on separate initiatives to improve conditions and workplace safety in Bangladesh.
Source: Huffington Post