New York, NY – Building on work underway for the past several months, a group of leading retailers and brands joined together in New York yesterday to develop and implement a new program to improve fire and safety regulations in the garment factories of Bangladesh. The meeting was organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and co-chaired by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and BPC Co-Founder George J. Mitchell and former U.S. Senator and BPC Senior Fellow Olympia Snowe.
This alliance includes representatives from retailers and brands, as well as participants from industry associations among them: American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), National Retail Federation (NRF), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).
Yesterday’s meeting was the first of several working sessions to be held over the next month in New York and Washington, DC by BPC. The alliance of retailers and brands requested that the BPC convene these discussions and that Senators Mitchell and Snowe serve as independent facilitators. The alliance is driving to develop a single, unified action plan and schedule for implementation that will achieve effective and long-lasting change for the garment industry and its workers in Bangladesh. The alliance intends to release this plan by early July.
“Since the recent tragedy, the retailers, brands, and trade associations have made considerable individual and collective progress developing new worker safety programs,” said Jason Grumet, BPC President. “Over the next several weeks, we look forward to building on the efforts of the Safer Factory Initiative (SFI) and seeking input from key stakeholders to forge an effective response.”