Azzad joins interfaith investor group seeking worker protections in Bangladesh factories
Shareholder advocates continue call for garment industry safety regulations on 4th anniversary of Rana Plaza disaster
FALLS CHURCH, VA, April 25, 2017 – Socially responsible investment firm Azzad Asset Management yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the largest garment factory accident in history, renewing an interfaith appeal to apparel makers to enact meaningful change in worker and building safety regulations. The appeal comes from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of shareholder advocates.
The April 2013 collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killed more than 1,100 workers and injured another 2,600. The resulting Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a five-year initiative championed by more than 200 global institutional investors representing more than $3.1 trillion in assets, required signatories to commit to a range of reforms intended to protect garment industry workers.
Thanks to the accord, 1,600 factories have been inspected and more than 75% of the identified safety issues have been fixed over the past four years. Additionally, more than 750,000 workers are covered under the accord’s Safety Committee Training program, which is essential to detecting safety hazards.
The statement marking the fourth anniversary of Rana Plaza, which was signed by 137 organizations, maintains that more work is needed:
“While the level of verified corrective action plans is unprecedented, 25% of non-remediated findings are serious structural issues that continue to pose a threat to worker health and safety. In addition, more than 60% of factories still do not have enclosed staircases and fire doors on each floor which would allow for safe egress from multi-story factories. We urge companies to implement due diligence with their suppliers to assess their financial capacity to remediate such costly hazards and agree on a plan based upon Article 22 of the Accord where the brand or retailer negotiates ‘commercial terms with suppliers which ensure that it is financially feasible for the factories to maintain safe workplaces and comply with upgrade and remediation requirements’ or alternative means of financing.”
It concludes with an appeal to end the recent crackdown on labor leaders and organizers, a development that has intensified over the last four months according to statement signatories.
See also: ICCR Press Release – April 24, 2017
About Azzad Asset Management
Azzad Asset Management is committed to providing investment services designed to help people enjoy optimum performance without compromising their values. Azzad is a member of the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions. The firm, based outside Washington, D.C., is a registered investment advisor.
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