Azzad renews appeal to apparel makers to protect worker rights
FALLS CHURCH, VA, April 25, 2016 — Azzad Asset Management, a faith-based socially responsible investment firm and investment advisor to the Azzad Funds, reiterated today its call for ongoing reforms in the Bangladesh garment sector, three years after an eight-story factory collapsed in the capital of Dhaka killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring 2,500.
The firm said in a statement:
“In the wake of the largest garment factory accident in history, we have made only marginal progress toward a culture of safety and respect for worker rights in Bangladesh. The reforms that have been achieved, though admirable, have been slow to come about and much more needs to be done.
“Underlying issues such as insufficient resources to improve workplaces, factory-controlled worker safety committees, and a lack of support from American apparel retailers for the Accord for Fire and Building Safety do a disservice to the memories of the victims and their families. We call on all parties involved to redouble their efforts to bring about a lasting solution to the problem.”
Azzad noted that, although more than 200 companies from 20 countries signed the Accord for Fire and Building Safety, most North American retailers did not join, with companies like Gap Inc. and Walmart citing liability concerns.
Immediately following the April 2013 disaster, institutional investors representing more than $3.1 trillion in assets under management appealed to companies to undertake reforms. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), of which Azzad is a member, issued a new statement on the third anniversary of the event to encourage stakeholders to not only adhere to the existing five-year plan to remediate problems in the Bangladesh garment sector but to also commit to a reform process beyond 2018.
Azzad Asset Management, investment advisor to the Azzad Funds and sponsor of the Azzad Ethical Wrap Program, 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 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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