Gap’s victims in Bangladesh

Since the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in April 2013, over 180 global brands have taken responsibility for their Bangladesh supply chain by signing the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The Accord between brands and trade unions mandates independent inspections, requires brands to ensure sufficient funds for safety improvements, and empowers workers through training programs and complaint mechanisms.1American fashion giant Gap refused to sign the Accord and instead chose to initiate a corporate-controlled program together with Walmart and a few other brands.2 The so-called Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety mimics the Accord rhetorically, but falls short as it lacks the very features of a meaningful agreement to ensure real worker safety.3

Their track record when it comes to remediation is at odds with its commitment to “do more than sell clothes”.4In October 2013, a fire raged at Aswad Composite Mills, a Gap supplier near Dhaka, Bangladesh. The fire left seven dead and more than 50 injured. To date, Gap has refused to compensate the victims and their families.5 In May 2014, the small NGO ‘18 Million Rising’ launched a website parodying Gap’s “Do More” campaign, and as a hoax announced that Gap had finally agreed to compensate the Aswad fire victims.6 Gap had the website taken down and issued a statement saying that it was, in fact, not doing more.7

 


  1. Accord Foundation Bangladesh (2014): www.bangladeshaccord.org (accessed 27.08.2014) []
  2. USAS and ILRF (2014): http://gapdeathtraps.com (accessed 23.09.2014) []
  3. Clean Clothes Campaign (2013): www.cleanclothescampaign.org (accessed 27.08.2014) []
  4.  Gap Inc. (2014): http://www.gapinc.com/content/gapinc/html/social_responsibility/our_commitment.html (accessed 27.08.2014) []
  5. Clean Clothes Campaign (2013): www.cleanclothes.org/ua/2013/cases/aswad (accessed 27.08.2014) []
  6. 18 Million Rising (2014): www.18millionrising.org (accessed 27.08.2014) []
  7. Global Exchange (2014): www.globalexchange.org (accessed 27.08.2014) []

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