The reality behind fashion’s sustainability certifications and coalitions

Posted by Luke Simms

on 28 April 2020

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

In the six years leading up to the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, hundreds of garment workers died in several smaller factory disasters. In most, if not all cases, auditors had inspected the factories, but overlooked clear hazards like structural building flaws and lack of fire escape routes. Factories in Rana Plaza itself had been inspected and deemed in compliance with the monitoring group’s code of conduct.

Safety measures in Bangladesh have improved dramatically since the tragedy, the seventh anniversary of which is this Friday, thanks to the Bangladesh Accord. The legally binding agreement among global brands, retailers and trade unions created both safety standards and enforcement mechanisms that led to real changes like fire alarm and sprinkler systems being installed in factories, electrical safety upgrades and (slight) wage increases.

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