Four years have passed since the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza Textiles Factory in Bangladesh, which caused outrage and an unprecedented sense of urgency to improve the lives of factory workers.

Immediately following the Rana Plaza incident, Investors joined forces to call on textile brands to take action, resulting in major textile companies signing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety (Accord), including those in the Triodos sustainable investment universe, such as H&M and Inditex. A combination of investor pressure, public outrage, and reputational risk contributed to the signing of the multi-stakeholder Accord by textiles companies.

In the ensuing four years investors have seen positive steps taken by the Accord.  An unprecedented number of global brands, retailers and importers-over 200-have collaborated to address the immediate and short-term threats to worker safety in the garment sector. 1600 factories have been inspected and more than 75% of the identified safety issues have been fixed, the majority of them electrical. Over 750,000 workers are covered under the Accord’s Safety Committee Training program which is critical to their detection of safety hazards and their participation in labour-management Safety Committees at the factory level.

Although much has been done, a lot still needs to change. Therefore, a new investor statement calls on the brands that are part of the Accord, to extend the Accord for the period of time needed to remediate systemic issues that still threaten worker safety and livelihood. It further calls on the industry to use the Accord model of governance, legally binding provisions and ongoing transparency to be the fundamental component of any credible further initiative or expansion into other countries and sectors.

As we did four years ago, Triodos Investment Management underwrites the investor statement. Joining forces with other investors is part of our active engagement approach and in this particular case strongly contributes to realising a much needed change in textiles industry. The full investor statement is available here.

To read the full case study on the Bangladesh Investor Initative, visit our SRI Engagement Report