University licensees required to sign accord protecting Bangladeshi workers
Georgetown announced today that it will now require all of its university trademark licensees to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which includes independent safety inspections and public reporting of the results, to ensure the safety of garment workers.
University President John DeGioia followed the recommendations of the University’s licensing oversight committee, a group that advises the university on labor conditions used by factories producing Georgetown products.
“The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a groundbreaking development,” DeGioia said. “It holds great promise for improving the workplace safety of garment workers in Bangladesh and for ensuring that Georgetown licensed apparel is not produced in dangerous workplaces.”
Currently, four of the University’s trademark licensees, Russel Athletics, Knights Apparel, Top of the World, and Zephyr. There are several licensees that have not yet signed the Accord, though it is not clear how many.
“There are a small number of Georgetown licensees that have sourced from Bangladesh since January 1, 2013, who have not signed the Accord,” Rachel Pugh, director of media relations, told Vox in an email. “Georgetown is currently working with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), which manages the university’s licensing contracts to notify licensees of this new policy.”
The Accord, in addition to the public and independent inspections, requires companies to ensure that factories undergo necessary renovations with funding provided by brands, end business relations with those that refuse to do so, ensure union access in addition to the creation of health and safety committees, and make a two-year commitment to remain in business with factories to ensure such changes are made.
Bangladesh, the second largest apparel exporter after China, has seen two factory disasters in the past two years: the Tazreen Fashions factory fire, which killed 112 in November 2012, and the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed 1,132 less than a year later.
“Standing up for the rights of workers who produce garments with Georgetown’s name and insignia has long been a priority on our campus for students, faculty, and the University’s leadership,” said Scott Fleming, associate vice president for federal relations and a member of the licensing oversight committee, “This action reflects that commitment.”
Photo: Georgetown University