Cornell will require its apparel licensees who have garments manufactured in factories in Bangladesh to sign and abide by the ‘Accord on Fire and Building Safety’ in Bangladesh. The accord is a legally binding, five-year agreement between apparel manufacturers and global and Bangladeshi trade unions. It was created in the wake of the disasters that struck factory units in Bangladesh including fires and building collapses last year.
Cornell is taking this step to ensure that workers who make Cornell logo apparel do not have to work in buildings that are structurally unsound or lack proper fire safety measures. The accord calls for independent inspections by trained fire- and building-safety inspectors at factories used by members of the accord. When problems are found in a factory, the companies using the factory will share the costs of retrofitting the structure. To date, more than 130 companies have signed the accord. Collectively, they do business with more than 1,600 Bangladeshi factories employing more than 2 million workers.
Cornell University is based in the United States. Cornell is the sixth university in the US to add the accord to their licensing requirements. Five of the 18 Cornell licensees who have disclosed sourcing goods from Bangladesh have already become signatories to the accord. They include Adidas and Fruit of the Loom.