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May 14, 2014

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Call for action follows fashion revolution roundtable debate

A concerted call for action to improve the health and safety of supply chain workers across the globe was issued on Monday in a coming together of leaders from the worlds of fashion, occupational safety and health, and politics.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion joined with IOSH and the Fashion Revolution Day campaign for a roundtable debate and parliamentary reception at the Palace of Westminster.

The purpose of the event was to:

  • commemorate the deaths of workers in the Bangladeshi Rana Plaza disaster on 24 April 2013;
  • highlight what health and safety improvements have been achieved so far and what still remains to be done; and
  • raise awareness and gain support for health and safety improvement in supply chain management.

The event, which drew about 70 representatives from across the political spectrum and the industry, built on the momentum for change generated by the inaugural Fashion Revolution Day, which marked the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse where more than 1,100 people lost their lives.

Speaking at the event, Jan Chmiel, IOSH CEO said: “We’re all agreed that such tragedies must never happen again and that safe and healthy workforces are key to sustainability and success.

“There are many problems to be resolved to help the workers of Bangladesh and those in other developing countries that supply our fashion industry, but chief among them must be the health and safety of those workers. The fundamental right of workers to go home safe and healthy at the end of each working day must underpin everything else that happens.

“The fashion industry is seen to be a dynamic and creative force, generating employment and revenue worldwide and so it has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of working lives across the globe. IOSH and our members are very pleased to support this joint initiative to help improve conditions and raise supply chain standards.”

IOSH is calling for ongoing government and business action to ensure safer work for millions of workers worldwide and the effective delivery of health and safety and corporate social responsibility agendas.

The institution believes that improved supply chain health and safety management and corporate performance reporting standards will help prevent more avoidable disasters like Rana Plaza.

Following the event, Fashion Revolution founder Carry Somers, said: “From cotton farmers to cutting floors to consumers, Fashion Revolution’s collaborative approach is building connections throughout the supply chain to create a more sustainable future for fashion.

“The global success of the first Fashion Revolution Day on 24 April has proved there is a groundswell of support from fashion-lovers to see greater transparency and higher ethical standards in the industry. The roundtable discussion focused on ways in which government and industry could work together to help effect this change.”

Baroness Young of Hornsey, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, said: “We’re a group of parliamentarians seeking to improve the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry on our lives and planets.

“We’re grateful to IOSH and Fashion Revolution Day for helping to organise this important event, and are delighted to take part in this evening’s debate, contributing as it will, to the vital search for workable solutions.”

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