When it comes to workplace safety in the apparel industry, Bangladesh has come a long way in the five years since the Rana Plaza disaster five years ago, which claimed 1,134 lives.
The latest survey from quality control and compliance company Asianinspection (AI) has shown that Bangladesh outperforms both India and China when it comes to ethical compliance in terms of workplace safety in the apparel sector.
In the aftermath of the Rana Plaza incident, all eyes were on the RMG sector of Bangladesh -- the second largest exporter of apparel products in the world -- to see if we could make the necessary changes and improve worker safety.
But by taking stock of the mistakes we made in the past, the RMG sector has made a truly commendable recovery.
Ethical scores in Bangladesh have risen by an average of 15% over the last year. We are also doing better than China and India in terms of fire, electrical, and structural safety.
This improvement is due to not only the long-term planning carried out by the current government, but also the joint efforts by the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
India and China are two of Bangladesh’s biggest competitors on the global stage in the garment sector, and outperforming them in terms of ethical compliance means that we will undoubtedly see more foreign investment flow into our nation.
However, we are not fully there yet. Alliance has completed 90% remediation works, while Accord has completed 83%, which is great progress, but much work remains to be done as many factories are still plagued by health and safety concerns that need attention.
As we move forward, we must close this gap, and ensure a better and stronger future for not just RMG, but our whole economy.