Institutional investor group urges U.S. retailers to back Bangladesh accord
(Reuters) - A group representing over 200 institutional investors has urged U.S. retailers to sign a global accord that promotes safety of garment workers in Bangladesh and drop attempts to back an alternative initiative.
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a group of socially responsible investors, has asked the retailers to be part of the Bangladesh Fire and Safety initiative, proposed after more than 1,100 workers died in a building collapse on the outskirts of Dhaka on April 24.
The building housed garment factories that supplied to several Western retailers.
At least 14 North American retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote), Macy's Inc (M.N: Quote), Sears Holdings Corp SHLD.O, JC Penney Co Inc (JCP.N: Quote) and Gap Inc (GPS.N: Quote) have declined to sign the accord.
They have said the accord gives labor unions too much control over ensuring workplace safety and have proposed the alternative "Safer Factory Initiative".
ICCR, which was part of the Divestment from South Africa campaign in protest against Apartheid, said the alternative plan could dilute the impact of the accord and may not be legally enforceable.
Retailers such as Zara parent Inditex S.A. (ITX.MC: Quote), H&M (HMb.ST: Quote), PVH Corp (PVH.N: Quote) and Britain's Tesco Plc (TSCO.L: Quote) have supported the Bangladesh fire and safety initiative.
(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
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