Hugo Boss has signed the Pakistan Accord.
The German luxury brand is also a signatory of the larger International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, which succeeded the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh in 2021 with a more expansive mandate for worker well-being. The original Accord, which coalesced after the collapse of Rana Plaza outside Dhaka killed 1,134 garment workers and injured thousands, turns 10 next month.
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“At Hugo Boss, we are committed to respecting human rights and safe working standards along our entire value chain and apply this throughout our organization,” Yves Müller, its chief financial officer and chief operations officer, said on Thursday, just days after the 10th anniversary of the disaster, which cast a renewed spotlight on working conditions in the garment industry, sparking protests and demonstrations worldwide.
Pakistan is the first extension of the International Accord outside Bangladesh. Collectively, the International Accord’s 187 brand signatories source more than $2.6 billion worth of garments and textiles from Pakistan.
Hugo Boss is the 36th company to back the spinoff, which also includes brands and retailers such as Asos, American Eagle Outfitters, Bestseller, Calvin Klein parent PVH Corp., H&M Group and Zara owner Inditex. Eventually, the International Accord expects all 110 signatories with operations in Pakistan to sign up, covering 500 to 700 facilities and tens of thousands of workers.
The Pakistan Accord bears many of the hallmarks of its Bangladeshi predecessor. With an interim term of three years, it includes inspections and remediation, an independent complaints mechanism and worker safety training. It remains legally binding, meaning that signatories can incur liabilities for not following through on their commitments. Beyond ready-made garment manufacturers, which was the focus of the original, it will also oversee home textile and fabric accessory makers.
Hugo Boss sources from one manufacturer in Pakistan: Interloop Limited, a prominent hosiery maker that also supplies socks and leggings to the likes of Adidas, Nike, H&M and Target. The idea behind all iterations of the Accord is joint responsibility begetting joint action. Because brands don’t typically own their own factories but rather share production lines, the pact is able to apply collective leverage to accelerate change, its proponents say.
“We take the fair and ethical treatment of our employees, suppliers and partners worldwide very seriously and look forward to supporting the improvement of labor conditions in Pakistan through implementing the Pakistan Accord,” Müller said.