We sometimes receive questions as to whether Zeeman supports the continuation of the Bangladesh Agreement after 31 May 2021. As one of the original participants, Zeeman has made every effort for a safer clothing industry for the past 8 years, along with its Bengali suppliers and the other participants in the Agreement. We remain fully supportive of the spirit of the Bangladesh Agreement and its joint continuation, including if the result of the negotiations between the trade unions, NGOs, brands and the textile industry were to lead to a legally binding Agreement once more. It would be beneficial for the effective implementation of this if the Bengali government could endorse it as well.
After all, of all the issues originally identified at the factories we work with, more than 96% have been rectified. (For comparison: the average result in the Agreement is 92%.) The fact that our aim of 100% has not yet been achieved indicates the complexity of the playing field and the points for improvement.
The recently published report shows a percentage of 91%, but this is because not all the issues rectified have been verified yet. The verification is seeing some delay owing to the coronavirus pandemic. (For comparison: the average result in the Agreement is 84%.)
Earlier, Zeeman had already integrated a number of important lessons learned from the Bangladesh Agreement inspections into our own factory audits, which are now being carried out by an independent party in our other production countries too. We are an advocate of expanding the Bangladesh Agreement’s model to other production countries.
We hope that the current negotiations will lead to a new agreement quickly.
Zeeman has been making every effort for safe working conditions in the supply chain for years. We are doing so along with partners like Fair Wear, the Bangladesh Agreement and the Covenant for Sustainable Clothing and Textiles. In addition, we are transparent about our production locations and have called for (inter)national legislation based on due diligence for companies in line with the OECD guidelines.