FAQs

What is the Accord?
The Accord is a legally binding agreement between international trade unions IndustriALL and UNI Global, Bangladesh trade unions, and international brands and retailers (Companies).  International NGOs, including the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Workers’ Rights Consortium, International Labour Rights Forum and Maquila Solidarity Network are witnesses to the agreement.  The International Labour Organisation (ILO) acts as the independent chair.

What is the aim of the Accord?
The aim of the Accord is the implementation of a programme for reasonable health and safety measures to ensure a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment industry for a period of five years.

Who are the company members of the Accord?
Over 170 international brands and retailers have signed the Accord. A full list of these can be found on the signatories page

How will the Accord be funded?
As signatories to the Accord, Companies will each contribute an equitable share of the funding required, up to a maximum contribution of $500,000 per annum. The share is based upon a sliding scale, relative to the individual Company’s volume of sourcing from Bangladesh, relative to the annual volume of other Company signatories.

Tier

Yearly Volume (In USD) Yearly Fee (In USD)

7

More than 500 Million 500,000

6

Between 250 to 500 Million 375,000

5

Between 100 to 250 Million 175,000

4

Between 50 to 100 Million 75,000

3

Between 25 to 50 Million 37,500

2

Between 10 to 25 Million 17,500

1

Between 1 to 10 Million 10,000

0

Less than 1 Million

1,000

This funding will be specifically for the activities of the Steering Committee, the Safety Inspector and Training Co-ordinator. This funding does not cover remediation such as structural repairs or renovations on factories. These bands may change annually as the budget changes.

How will the cost of structural repairs be funded?
Under the Accord, Companies are responsible for ensuring sufficient funds are available to pay for structural repairs or renovations.  This includes negotiating commercial terms with suppliers to ensure that it is financially feasible for factories to maintain safe workplaces and comply with any structural repairs or safety improvements, and where appropriate, the use of alternative means such as joint investments, loans, accessing donor or government support.

When are the inspection scheduled?
Independent inspections of a first batch of 10 factory started in November 2013. Since February 2014 inspection teams are in the field inspecting more than 50 factories per week. . The Accord intends that all initial inspections – and, where needed, renovation plans – will be completed by October 2014.

In addition, some companies are already conducting their own inspections and information from these will be incorporated into the work of the Accord where appropriate.

Who will carry out the initial inspections?
For the initial inspections the Accord has contracted four international engineering firms: Woosun (electrical); Hughes (fire) and Arup & WSP (structural). Combined they have approximately 110 international and local engineers and technical experts working on the inspections. Additionally, the Accord Chief Safety Inspector will recruit a team of more than 25 permanent Bangladeshi Accord staff engineers.

When will factory information be shared publicly?
A single aggregated list of all factories in Bangladesh under the Accord was first published on 3 October 2013. The factory data management of the Accord is an ongoing process. Accord signatory brands update their factory data on an ongoing basis submitting it directly to the Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC). The publicly available list on the Accord website is updated monthly.

The government of Bangladesh says it is inspecting many factories. How do the inspections under the Accord relate to these government inspections?
The Accord welcomes the decision of the Bangladesh Government to renew its commitment to inspect factories.  It is the intention of the Accord to work with all relevant stakeholders including Government, to build capacity for a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment industry.

What happens if an inspection shows that a building is unsafe?
Where a building or structure is found to pose an immediate threat to worker safety, the Accord will recommend that the building be temporarily evacuated until such time that more in-depth tests can be conducted, substantial weight and load is removed from the building, and/or immediate strengthening measures are completed. In such cases, the Accord requests that the Review Panel, established through the Ministry of Labour and Employment led National Plan of Action, be convened. The Review Panel was established for inspections which lead to determinations that a building evacuation or suspension to operations is required. In order to overturn the initial production suspension / evacuation recommendation of the inspection, a unanimous decision of the team of 4 Review Panel engineers (1 Accord, 1 Alliance, 2 Government of Bangladesh/BUET) must be reached.

Workers will be notified and will continue to receive salary payments while the building is repaired to standard.

What happens if the factory owner refuses to suspend manufacturing?
If the factory owner refuses to suspend manufacturing, Company members of the Accord are obligated to withdraw their business.  Where this results in termination of workers’ jobs, Companies will make reasonable efforts to ensure these workers are offered preferential hiring processes for employment through other factories that supply them.

What happens if a company that has signed the Accord decides to pull out their business from Bangladesh?
In signing the Accord, Companies demonstrate their commitment to continue sourcing from Bangladesh for at least the five year period of the Accord.

Does the Accord recognise the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety?
We urge all brands to join the Accord as it provides a tripartite, transparent, and robust governance structure and mechanism.  However, we are committed to working with all relevant stakeholders including members of the Alliance, to ensure a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment industry.

How would the Accord ensure that small and medium-sized Companies’ needs are represented within the Accord?
The Accord structure takes into account that different Companies, regardless of their overall size, source in different volumes from Bangladesh. This is reflected in the membership cost for Companies.

All Companies have equal voting rights and election opportunities for representation on the various working groups of the Accord.  Medium size enterprises are represented on the Steering Committee at this time.

How are issues of overlap in training and inspections at individual factories going to be addressed between the Accord and the National Action Plan?
The Accord proposes to share information and collaborate fully with the National Action Plan. The National Action Plan has agreed not to inspect any factories that are covered by the Accord.

The building standards that the Accord uses are largely based on the Bangladesh National Building Code and are the product of discussions between the Accord, the National Tripartite Plan of Action, and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) initiated and facilitated by the International Labour Organisation.

How does the Accord propose to implement safety training across all factories under the Accord?
The Accord Worker Participation Working Group has developed a comprehensive proposal to ensure the delivery of a credible, effective, and sustainable training programme, one that engages fully with worker representatives and factory-based Health and Safety Committees. A training co-ordinator will be hired to implement and deliver the programme.

How much does the Accord cost?
There are two categories of costs for signatory companies under the Accord: administration and safety improvements.

1) Administration. Costs associated with the administration of inspections, training and other program operations, the formula for which is based on annual Bangladesh volume on a sliding scale relative to the annual volume of other signatories.

2) Safety Improvements. Brand signatories are responsible to ensure that sufficient funds are available to pay for renovations and other safety improvements as directed by the Safety Inspector. Such funds may be generated through negotiated commercial terms, joint investment, direct payment for improvements, government and other donor support or any combination of these mechanisms.

What does the agreement between the Accord and the Fair Factories Clearinghouse cover?
The Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC) provides a secure platform for sharing and analysing factory information submitted by Companies.  In addition, the FFC will host and develop an online tool for Companies to access factory-based data.

How does the Accord propose to address complaints from workers that arise through the worker complaints process and the National Action Plan hotline?
The Worker Participation Working Group has developed a proposal for filing, evaluating, investigating and resolving complaints by workers in conformity with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

What is the Accord’s position on unauthorised sub-contracting?
Unauthorised sub-contracting is one of the many recognised challenges for the Accord and it is impossible for the Accord alone to end the practice of unauthorised subcontracting. Where factories of unauthorised subcontractors are identified and confirmed as supplying an Accord signatory, they will be subject to the same process of inspection as primary suppliers.

How does the Accord propose to engage with the Bangladesh garment industry representative bodies and the Government to provide financial support to workers?
The Accord Steering Committee is in discussions with representative bodies from the Bangladesh garment industry including the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Export Association (BGMEA) to consider support for workers including financial aid should this be required. The Steering Committee has also reached out to other stakeholders including the International Finance Committee (part of the World Bank) and government-led development programmes to discuss potential funding for remediation programmes and support for workers.

How much will it cost us as a brand to sign up to the Accord?
Below is the cost for companies to sign up to the Accord. Please note that this is the cost to cover the inspections and training programme.

Annual FOB USD Volume at Cost Price from Bangladesh

Contribution per annum in USD

7

>

500,000,000

500,000

6

250,000,000

500,000,000

375,000

5

100,000,000

250,000,000

175,000

4

50,000,000

100,000,000

75,000

3

25,000,000

50,000,000

37,500

2

10,000,000

25,000,000

17,500

1

1,000,000

10,000,000

10,000

0

<

1,000,000

1,000

Please note this is subject to revision and may change. This is currently fixed for the first year.