In the two years since the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, the Alliance and the Accord on Fire and Worker Safety in Bangladesh have helped implement positive change to factory procedures in the world's second largest readymade garment exporter, after China.
Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety is an association of European brands and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety In Bangladesh is a body of North American retailers.
The two entities were formed after the Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,130 workers and maimed several thousands, as the brands who buy most of their apparels from Bangladesh factories, felt it as their moral obligation to help the industry upgrade its safety compliance.
All of the Alliance's 662 active factories - up from 587 member factories last year - have been audited under Alliance processes to ensure structural integrity and fire and electrical safety of buildings, and that workers are being properly trained.
According to the Alliance's second annual report, 93 per cent of the 1.2 million estimated workers in Alliance factories are now trained in fire safety.
In addition to collaborating on the inspection and remediation of shared factories, the Alliance and the Accord came together to press the government of Bangladesh to release long-overdue regulations to implement the amendments to the Bangladesh Labour Act.
The Alliance is a five-year binding agreement among its members to ensure that its factories have been audited for structural, fire and electrical safety.
The factories are now in the remediation process to address any issues that have arisen during the audits. Some corrections will take time, but meaningful change continues as the commitment to ensure worker and building safety remains strong.
The ready-made garment sector has provided the Bangladeshi people, especially women, with economic security and opportunities for upward mobility.
Heading into year three, it is important to transition this work to the Bangladeshi government and all stakeholders to ensure positive change continues for factories and workers.
The Alliance is committed to creating permanent and sustainable workplace safety conditions that can be maintained by all stakeholders going forward.
More than 500 of the 662 factories used by member companies have received the first of two major safety inspections conducted by the Alliance to create a safer environment for garment workers.
Factories have completed between 20 and 80 per cent of repairs and six have passed final inspection.
The Alliance has worked with the International Finance Corporation to provide $50 million in affordable, long-term loans to factory owners and another $18 million in assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development for upgrades to factories that might not be eligible for the IFC programme, according to media release issued by the Alliance on Monday.