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Bangladesh survey to cost retailers £9.9m

The 150 retail signatories, which include Marks & Spencer, Arcadia and Primark, will contribute according to a sliding scale based on the volume of goods sourced from Bangladesh.

Retailers will be charged $11,000 (£6,620) per factory and, with 1,500 factories to be inspected, the total bill reaches $16.5m (£9.93m).

All retailers pay their contribution directly to the Accord, which is headquartered in the Netherlands, and the group then distributes the funds to independent structural, fire and electrical inspection companies.

The Accord also states that retailers must order the same volume of product from the factories for at least the first two years of the agreement.

Brad Loewen, chief safety inspector for the Accord, said the team will inspect 250 factories each month up to the end of August in an “aggressive plan” to create transparency and promote safety in the factories.

Loewen praised retailers for their action so far. “Co-operation at all levels has been great and we’re hopeful this will continue,” he said.

“We’re not trying to catch people out; it’s about creating a sustainable future for manufacturing in Bangladesh.”

One supplier operating in the country told Drapers the Accord would create an even playing field.

“The goal posts keep moving in relation to compliance and the cost has been phenomenal. The Accord should give everyone the same targets; having one voice for all the brands will make things easier,” he said.

A spokeswoman for a large international retailer, which did not wish to be named, said the process of complying with the Accord had been challenging, but change was starting to take place.

“It’s not a simple task but those involved are genuine in their efforts to sort this problem out. It’s a work in progress and will improve with time,” she said.

On Monday the Accord published its report on the first round of factory inspections, which found significant structural issues with all 10 premises visited, although no problems were so severe they needed to close.

A spokesman for the Accord declined  to name any retailers that supply from the factories.

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