The Accord is an important initiative – and a complement to the already existing sustainability program by H&M – that has had and will continue to have a huge impact on the textile and ready-made industry in Bangladesh. We are convinced that the work being done within the Accord is making the industry safer. Our commitment and support to the Accord as well as the Bangladeshi textile industry will continue. However, there are remaining challenges that we and the other collaborating participants within the Accord are dealing with.
There are about 5,000 ready-made garment factories in Bangladesh. The Accord is inspecting 1,600 of these factories. All the factories that H&M is working with, less than 300, meet the Accord requirements for operation. Where H&M is lead-brand, almost 60 percent of the remediation work is completed and we see good progress.
However, the Accord is experiencing some delays of the planned remediation process. Although any delay is of great concern to us, it is of utmost importance that measures taken are according to the high quality standards agreed between the Bangladesh Government and the Accord/Alliance. For example, some technical and structural challenges require more time and access to technology not available in Bangladesh. Delays are also due to heavy workload for the Accord inspection experts dealing with these complex issues.
We are very committed to ensure that we do all that we can in support of timely and correct remediation. Not the least, as we know an active involvement and commitment by brands in the remediation process is crucial. H&M is one of around 200 brands who have signed the Accord, and we have been actively contributing to Accord progress since the beginning
We have worked out solutions for all financial support requests together with our suppliers and are cooperating closely with them to remediate according to corrective and tailor-made action plans. As our presence in Bangladesh is long-term, it contributes not only financially to the individual factory, but also to the development of the textile industry as well as to the Bangladeshi community as a whole. We support our suppliers with what they appreciate most: long-term business and growth opportunities.
H&M has a staff of nearly 600 in Bangladesh, who work full time on all aspects of production including the Accord. We will continue our long-term investment by fully supporting our suppliers in improving and upgrading their production facilities to safer and higher international standards as well as their management capabilities, allowing them to become competitive in a sustainable way.
The Bangladesh textile industry is undergoing a substantial, positive transformation. A lot has been achieved, much more needs to be done.