Issues continued throughout 2017 and 2018 when the Transition Accord was pitched. Many brands stated that safety oversight was no longer required, yet numerous factory fires suggested otherwise.
In 2021 a new agreement replaced the old one, with updated obligations expanding to general health and safety and human rights due diligence throughout the supply chain, with these same commitments to be made in at least one other country.
Yet again, certain brands required pressure from the public and media before adding their signatures to the new accord.
Still today, signatures are missing from major retailers such as Abercrombie, Amazon, ASDA, Disney, GAP and Levi’s.
So all in all, have we moved forward? There’s been movement in the right direction; those of us intent on changing the industry are more mobilised and unified than ever before, and we think social media will continue to play a big part in this – especially in expanding awareness and growing the community.
We have the Clean Clothes Campaign, Fashion Revolution, Labour Behind the Label, The OR Foundation, Slow Factory, Remake and many other organisations doing great work in holding the industry to account, and striving for positive change in many different ways.
But still now we have reports of exploitation in Leicester, unacceptable working conditions at warehouses in Burnley and violations of living wages in the UK.
Overseas, abuse and murder have been alleged in a garment factory in India and sexual harassment and sextortion in Haiti and Lesotho. There are accounts of factory owners locking
garment workers inside factories and union-busting during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Is the industry – plus governments across the world – doing enough to ensure we can confidently say Rana Plaza will never happen again? No.
So let’s get to work, and use this Earth Day to look out for people and planet – because there’s still plenty of work left to do.
Click here to check which brands have signed The International Safety Accord.