Collaboration with Bestseller on safer factories

Solidaridad and Danish clothing and accessories company Bestseller, have recently launched a project in Bangladesh on fire and building safety, which is the result of collaboration between the two organisations, started in December 2012. As a strong proponent for collective action, Solidaridad welcomes the announcement this week that Bestseller signed up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

The project is designed to start with a “quick scan” of 33 factories located across Bangladesh, to select 6 higher risk factories to take part in the project. In addition to the technical assessments of risk and necessary remediation, the project builds the capacity of core factory teams that will focus on business contingency and emergency preparedness. These teams are trained to identify, assess, remediate and control building as well as fire related safety aspects.

Introducing change for safer factories

The dialogue between Bestseller and Solidaridad which resulted in the joint plan formulation started before the Rana Plaza tragedy and the publication of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the National Tri-partite Plan of Action on Fire Safety. In order to create the necessary sector wide change in Bangladesh, collective action that brings all stakeholders together is needed. The Accord and the Tri-Partite Action plan lay an important foundation for such collaborations. Recognizing this, Bestseller and Solidaridad re-formulated the plan, including in a phased approach that allows for linkages and collaboration.

Solidaridad is exploring with the parties involved in Accord and Tri-Partite Action Plan how the experience from phase one of the project with Bestseller can contribute and be integrated to these larger sector initiatives. Phase one is expected to yield practical measures in the factories to identify and tackle the problems. These learnings can be used in the second phase of the project, covering the other Bestseller suppliers, as well as for factories in Bangladesh which supply to other brands and retailers under the Accord.