Analysts: U.S. Retail Safety Plan For Bangladesh Factories Has No Teeth

American retailers agreed to a plan to make safety improvements to Bangladesh clothing factories–but unlike a similar European Union proposal, it’s not legally binding.

Analysts: U.S. Retail Safety Plan For Bangladesh Factories Has No Teeth

After the Bangladesh building collapse at Rana Plaza in May, European retailers came to an agreement to ensure factory safety. More than 1,100 people died, and giant retailers like Zara, H&M, and Tesco agreed to donate significant funds to upgrade safety standards at factories. The agreement is also legally binding. Did American companies follow suit?

Not so much. Last week, the New York Times reported that a similar agreement had been made in the United States by Walmart, Gap, Target, Macy’s, and others… with one big difference: The American agreement isn’t legally binding. Due to liability concerns, the retailers agreeing to the donations declined to create legally binding commitments for their plan.

The National Consumer’s League, a left-leaning advocacy group, issued a statement today criticizing what they see as a flawed safety accord. “While the National Consumers League is pleased that American companies have taken action to address the often abysmal working conditions in Bangladesh, this initiative requires close examination,” NCL executive director Sally Greenberg said. “NCL and other worker’s rights and labor rights groups believe it lacks the enforcement and mandatory procedures found in the accord signed by European companies.”

[Image: Flickr user MyLifeStory]