DHAKA, Bangladesh – Five years ago today, the collapse of the Rana Plaza building claimed the lives of 1,134 men and women, left thousands more injured and changed the Bangladesh garment industry forever. We pause today to honor the victims of this unspeakable tragedy.
In the aftermath of the disaster, stakeholders from across the industry came together to bring about a sea change in factory safety in Bangladesh. Today, millions of men and women who make a living in Bangladesh’s garment industry work in factories that meet international safety standards. They have been trained to protect themselves in case of an emergency. And they have tools to bring immediate attention to safety concerns, including a confidential, 24-hour helpline. The Alliance is proud to have played a role in driving these achievements.
With Alliance factory remediation nearing completion, our factories have reached the starting line for safety, not the finish line. Brands, factory owners and the Bangladesh government now have a shared responsibility to sustain these gains. That is why the Alliance will join with credible, local partners in the weeks ahead to form a joint entity that will continue to oversee inspections, monitoring, worker training and helpline services over the long term.
The progress achieved in fortifying worker safety in the last five years has been unprecedented and serves as a model for other countries to follow. On this solemn day, we remember the men and women who perished at Rana Plaza, and we reaffirm our commitment to continuing an uncompromising focus on safety in their honor.