Diverse Coalition of Global Investors Managing More than $1.5 Trillion Calls for Systemic Reforms to End Human Rights Abuses in Apparel Supply Chains

As a First Step, Investors Urge Manufacturers and Retailers to Join the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety

May 23, 2013, 20:05 ET from Boston Common Asset Management

NEW YORK, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Concerned that human rights catastrophes like the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh might recur if sweeping reforms aren't promptly implemented, a global coalition of institutional investors are calling on apparel manufacturers and retailers to join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

The investor group includes nearly 200 signatories from 16 countries in North America, Europe and Australia with combined assets valued at over 1.5 trillion $U.S. The statement was drafted by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility along with Boston Common Asset Management, Domini Social Investments LLC, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Trillium Asset Management.

The statement has been sent to several U.S. apparel manufacturers and retailers that the investors have historically engaged on supply chain issues. It is an urgent call to action for companies and the sector to act in coalition to enact system-wide reforms to prevent future loss of life due to unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Said Rev. Seamus Finn of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, "Rana Plaza was an unprecedented workplace disaster, and a tragedy we truly believe could have been avoided. The industry needs a global standard and solution lest what happened in Dhaka happens five years from now in another country. Many European companies have already joined the Accord and we want to ensure that the momentum continues here in the U.S."

On Tuesday, the investors also sent the statement to five North American apparel trade associations including the American Apparel & Footwear Association, Canadian Apparel Federation, National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, along with a letter that stated, in part: We believe that (trade association) has a pivotal role to play in promoting the kinds of systemic changes that must occur in Bangladesh and other low-cost sourcing countries if human rights are to be adequately protected.

Read the expanded press release at: http://www.iccr.org/news/press_releases/2013/pr_bangladesh052213.php

Susana McDermott
Director of Communications, ICCR


SOURCE Boston Common Asset Management