|Photo: Desiree Koppes|
A few weeks later, Ban Ki-moon sent letters to IndustriALL and UNI Global Union in which he pledged his full support for the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally enforceable safety programme that provides for independent inspections of supplier factories, public reporting, training and mandatory repairs and renovations. Ban Ki-moon wrote: “the building collapse in Dhaka reminds us all that ensuring that workers’ human rights are protected and respected within value chains involves a wide range of societal actors, including governments, employers, buyers and workers’ representatives.”
Furthermore the Secretary General indicated that companies who are members of the UN Global Compact should sign up to the Accord.
During his 6 May speech, Ban Ki-moon announced that the Global Compact Leaders Summit in September will unveil a “a new global architecture for the private sector on sustainability and outline a
path for business to contribute to global priorities and the public good”. It remains to be seen whether
the more stringent position displayed recently by Ban Ki-moon will be reflected in this new approach.
Bangladesh safety accord
As of June 27, 63 brands and retailers have signed up to the accord. Among them are Global Compact members Carrefour, El Corte Ingles, Inditex, Mango and Metro.Global Compact members that source from Bangladesh and that have thus far declined d to sign the Accord include Gap, Nike, Shop Direct and Timberland.
Rana Plaza building collapse
On April 24, an eight-story building housing five garment factories collapsed in Savar, Bangladesh.
The building collapse cost the lives of 1129 workers and injured hundreds of others. The Rana Plaza
building collapse is yet another tragedy in a long row of fatal factory fires and building collapses in
Bangladesh’s export-oriented garment industry.