Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Joins Nirapon to Support Continued Safety Improvements in Bangladesh RMG Sector

by Textile Quotient News Desk
22 Mar 2019

Locally-managed organization builds on work of safety monitoring groups and leverages support of over 20 leading global apparel brands

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Yesterday announced that it has joined Nirapon, a Bangladesh-managed organization tasked with overseeing the ongoing safety and training efforts and helpline access in all the factories in Bangladesh from which its members source. This commitment is part of A&F Co.’s ongoing support of industry-wide safety improvements throughout its global supply chain.

With the support of more than 20 leading global brands, Nirapon will monitor its members’ factories to verify that they: (1) continue to meet the National Action Plan harmonized standards for physical safety (structural, fire and electrical); (2) have implemented standardized training programs focused on worker safety; and (3) continue to make the 24-hour confidential helpline, Amader Kotha, available to its factory workers. Nirapon will serve as the single point of contact between its members and the factories on these issues and will also focus on building local capacity to manage fire and building safety to sustain and build on the investments in worker safety that have been made to date.

Since 2013, as one of the first U.S. brands to sign The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the vendors that A&F Co. works with in Bangladesh aggressively remediated initial findings in its facilities to deliver long-term sustainable improvements. Today, the company works with vendors in five facilities. Its vendor partners are committed to sustaining best practices, with ongoing guidance from leading brands, as well as third-party auditing firms, and now in partnership with Nirapon.

“We are pleased to announce our support of Nirapon. We remain steadfast in our commitment to being part of a long-term solution for continuous safety in Bangladesh, and we look forward to working with Nirapon and other member brands on sustaining factory safety improvements in Bangladesh at a local level,” said Fran Horowitz, Chief Executive Officer of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.  “A&F Co. is committed to supporting meaningful industry-wide safety improvements, and the welfare of its employees and its vendors around the world.”

Abercrombie & Fitch operates more than 850 stores under these brands across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as the e-commerce sites www.abercrombie.com and www.hollisterco.com.

Nirapon is a self-regulating model providing factory building and fire safety monitoring, oversight and reporting services in Bangladesh for its member brands. Nirapon is committed to helping the factories from which its members source develop a sustainable culture of safety; to do so, it will focus on building capacity amongst Bangladesh’s assessment and training service providers.  This will be accomplished by identifying service providers capable of supporting assessments, remediation, capacity building and training.  Factories manufacturing for Nirapon member brands will engage assessment and training service providers from the qualified pool, while Nirapon will validate the quality of services provided and alert membership to any potential risk and issues. Nirapon is a blend of two Bangla words “Nirapodh” and “Abashon” which together mean “Safe Place”.

Source: A&F-Headquarters, New Albany, Ohio, United States

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