The three-year legally binding agreement, which was enacted on 1 November 2023, incorporates an automatic renewal provision every three years of the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, negating the need for future negotiations.

Under the newly established framework, the International Accord will include:

  • Participating brands pledge to maintain and further health and safety programmes in Bangladesh and Pakistan, while also committing to establishing similar programmes in other countries.
  • Expansion into new countries will be contingent on feasibility studies and progress in existing country programmes.
  • The complaints mechanism will now encompass non-occupational safety and health issues, including freedom of association, following a successful pilot study.
  • Country-specific addendums for safety programmes and brands sourcing from these countries are invited to sign these addendums alongside the International Accord.

The revamped International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry will operate as a stand-alone framework agreement but will continue to build on its successful foundations, which include independent factory inspections, remediation efforts, safety training, and an effective worker complaints mechanism.

The implementation of this agreement will be overseen by the International Accord Foundation and its secretariat, located in Amsterdam, as well as various country offices.

Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union commented: “Today the parties have agreed to a six-year deal which expands both the geographic coverage of the programme and the issues within its scope. With the recent rollout of requirements for due diligence in the supply chain, employers everywhere should note that the Accord is a model with a proven track record.”

The agreement also envisions a substantial role for the International Labour Organization (ILO), which has long served as a neutral chair of the Accord’s Steering Committee, in supporting country programmes to ensure their effective implementation.

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Atle Høie, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union added: “Since its inception ten years ago, the Accord has been instrumental in making the garment industry safer. We now have a long-term, sustainable solution for the Accord with substantial scope for development in new countries and inclusion of the fundamental principles and rights at work as core building blocks in the complaint’s mechanism and in the training programmes.”

In May, the International Accord Foundation announced a total of 200 brands and retailers have committed to the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, since its implementation on 1 September 2021.