On 24 April 2013, the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh killed more than 1,100 workers and injured thousands more. Although not the first garment factory tragedy of its kind, it finally brought to the world’s attention the importance of fire and building safety in the Third World, consumers’ demand for more ethical fashion, and the establishment of the Bangladesh Accord.

Many brands have signed up to the Accord, including Australian signatories Cotton On, Forever New, Pacific Brands, Specialty Fashion Group, Target, Woolworths and Pretty Girl Fashion Group.

Here are the top 5 things you need to know about it:

  1. What is it? The Accord brings together the United Nation’s International Labour Organization, Bangladeshi and international unions, the Bangladesh government and garment companies around the world to oversee the safety of over 1,600 garment factories in Bangladesh.
  2. Who does it apply to? All brands with garment manufacturers in Bangladesh should consider signing the Bangladesh Accord.
  3. What is involved? By signing, you enter into a 5 year binding commitment to:
    1. conduct independent safety inspections (and publish these reports);
    2. financially assist any repairs required to the factories;
    3. train workers in occupational health and safety; and
    4. maintain consistent order volumes throughout the term.
  1. How do I become a member? Membership is straight forward. Read and sign the Accord, disclose your factory and yearly manufacturing volume from Bangladesh, pay the relevant fee and attend an induction.
  2. What fees apply? The fees depend on the manufacturing volume ordered from Bangladesh, ranging from USD1,000 to USD500,000 in the first year.

As ethical fashion moves up a notch, we believe this is a move in the right direction for the fashion-forward.