Blog: Leonie BarrieBangladesh safety gaps still remain

Leonie Barrie | 23 April 2018

As the apparel industry prepares to mark the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory building tragedy, a new report estimates it could cost US$1.2bn to complete remediation across Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry.

Two initiatives are also joining forces on an 18-month programme to promote responsible buying in Bangladesh. Better Buying and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) will encourage local suppliers to rate international brands' purchasing practices to identify areas for improvement.

And British charity Fairtrade Foundation is using the anniversary to urge fashion brands and retailers to set a deadline to pay living wages in their supply chains.

A week of action has also been planned to encourage garment brands to sign up to the 2018 Bangladesh Accord.

Two-thirds of the 220 companies who signed the original Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh have now committed to the new agreement set to come into effect when the current programme expires next month. Here we list the signatories so far.

Word from US President Donald Trump that he may reverse a long-standing position and explore the possibility of re-joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has left the fashion industry – along with much of the American business community – somewhat sceptical, while being supportive.

Mexico's apparel association Canaive is undergoing a management shake-up amid mounting challenges linked to NAFTA border security and the possibility that Vietnam will gain competitive strength in the fledgling Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

And a group of European business associations has joined forces to call on the European Commission to ratify and implement the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement as soon as possible.

As they work towards improving transparency within their supply chains, six fashion brands including Ted Baker and G-Star have publicly shared their sustainability performance scores using the Mode Tracker assessment tool.

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has launched a pilot project aimed at educating consumers on how to prolong the lifespan of their garments.

And US sporting goods giant Nike has developed what it claims is the first 3D-printed textile upper in performance footwear.

Meanwhile in other news, retailer M&S is adopting a single-tier clothing and home logistics network; orders from a US garment maker have been temporarily halted due to wage violations; and an enzyme has been engineered to break down polyester.

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