Fast Retailing Joins Inditex, H&M’s Bangladesh Safety Accord

Fast Retailing Joins Inditex, H&M’s Bangladesh Safety Accord
A tag with Fast Retailing Co.'s Uniqlo logo is displayed on a sweater at the company's store in the Ginza district of Tokyo. Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg

Fast Retailing Co., Asia’s largest clothing retailer, joined Inditex SA and Hennes & Mauritz AB in signing an accord to improve factory safety in Bangladesh after an April garment complex collapse killed more than 1,000 people.

Fast Retailing has independently reviewed fire and building conditions at plants run by its partners in Bangladesh and detailed results are expected by November, it said in today’s statement.

Inditex and H&M, Europe’s two largest clothing retailers, signed the safety pact initiated by international organizations IndustriAll Global Union and UNI Global Union, after an eight-story garment complex collapsed in April in Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster. The accord includes plans to survey all factories on related risks within the next two years and implement reforms to improve conditions, Fast Retailing said.

Seventeen North American retailers, including Gap Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., announced a separate five-year plan earlier in July to improve factory safety in the country.

About 70 percent of the Japanese retailer’s production comes from China with the rest coming from Southeast and South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Keiji Furukawa, the company’s spokesman, said today. The company plans to reduce the percentage of clothes it produces in China to about two-thirds as it seeks to diversify risks and improve efficiency, he said. None of the company’s suppliers or workers were involved in the April building collapse, Furukawa said.

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