Fast Retailing Co. Limited (Fast Retailing), Asia’s biggest retailer and operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, on Thursday signed the accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, initiated by IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union.
“The accord commits to safeguard garment workers in Bangladesh against building collapse and fire and, using funds from its signatories, plans to survey all manufacturing facilities for related risks within the next two years and subsequently implement required reforms to improve working conditions,” the company said in a web release available on its official website.
As another facet of its deep commitment to the country, Fast Retailing launched in 2010 a social business initiative in Bangladesh, focused on addressing poverty, education, hygiene, gender-inequality, and the environment.
In July 2013, the company subsequently launched two stores in Dhaka, under the Grameen UNIQLO name, to further contribute to the local community, by sharing best work practices, creating jobs, and offering quality, affordable clothing to the people of Bangladesh.
Fast Retailing began a review of the accord following the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza manufacturing facility in Savar near Dhaka in April 2013, it said.
Upon disclosure of the full details of the Accord on July 8, Fast Retailing confirmed that it effectively ensures the safety of garment workers in Bangladesh and committed to fully back the initiative.
Independent of its review of the accord, Fast Retailing initiated on May 27 its own investigation into fire and building safety at the facilities run by its manufacturing partners in Bangladesh, working with an independent third party.
This investigation is now complete, and follow up confirmation of building safety is planned, working with experts from Japan. Full final results on the facilities run by its partners are expected by November 2013.
In 2004, Fast Retailing introduced a Code of Conduct for all of its manufacturing partners, and today continues to work with outside experts to monitor conditions at its partners’ facilities to ensure compliance.
Fast Retailing’s current independent investigation is an aspect of this process, aimed at strengthening building and fire safety.
While investing in not only manufacturing but also in brick and mortar stores in Bangladesh, Fast Retailing aims to advance the working environment in the country, and continue to contribute to the development of the local economy, to improve people’s lives.