Industry executives named to the board of advisors for the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety have been tasked with guiding the group's efforts to improve factory safety and monitoring its progress.

The Alliance has appointed 12 industry leaders to the board of advisors, comprising government, labour and international development heads.

Founded in July 2013 by a group of North American apparel companies, the initiative is a binding, five-year undertaking to improve safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment factories.

Board members now include Rick Darling, executive director of government and public affairs for Li & Fung; Mohammad Hatem, VP for the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Heather Cruden, Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh; Sirajul Islam Rony, president of the Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League (BNGWEL); and Avedis Seferian, president and CEO of Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).

"We are honored to welcome these esteemed global leaders to our board of advisors," said independent chair of the Alliance and former US Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher.

"The combination of their individual perspectives and breadth of expertise across government, women's issues, labor and global development will help us implement our comprehensive commitment to a safer ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh."

Nearly a year to the date of the Rana Plaza factory collapse on 24 April that killed over 1,100 workers, campaigners have been stepping up their calls for brands to pay into funds to compensate workers and their families involved in the disaster.

There has also been criticism over the slow progress on inspections. The goal, the Alliance has said, includes inspecting 100% of its listed garment factories by July.

"To-date, the Alliance is making good progress towards these goals," it said yesterday. "More than 40% of factory inspections have been completed, training programs are underway, the worker helpline will roll out to 50 factories this month, and the foundation has been built to provide important technical support and oversight of the remediation process so that factories can be upgraded and improved."