The Swedish fashion retailer, H&M, has backed a deal to improve safety at foreign clothing factories.
The accord, regarding fire and building safety, is aimed at preventing a repeat of last month’s deadly collapse of a Bangladeshi garment making complex in which more than 1,000 people died.
Fair trade supporters have backed the move.
“These are the world’s sweatshops. It’s no secret that production costs there are the lowest. Companies that want to have the biggest profits will want their products made where prices are the lowest,” explained Fanny Gallois from pressure group ‘Ethique sur l’Etiquette’.
The same theory extends to wages, according to the International Labour Union; a clothes factory worker in Europe makes on average some 20 euros per hour, but in the world’s biggest clothing exporters, China and Bangladesh, workers earn between 38 cents and 1.38 euros an hour.
H&M did not use any of the factories affected in the Bangladesh building collapse but it said the deal will add to its already stringent requirements for suppliers.
Several other famous high street retailers are expected to sign the accord reached in agreement with the Bangladeshi government and trade unions.