Gap Inc. Signs Pakistan Safety Accord in US Breakthrough for Binding Brand-Labor Agreements

Workers in Gap Inc.’s 14 Factories in Pakistan Will Now Benefit from the Accord’s Unparalleled Fire and Building Safety Protections

The Worker Rights Consortium applauds Gap Inc. (Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy) for signing the Pakistan Accord on Health & Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry and encourages other US brands to join in signing this binding safety agreement to protect workers’ lives at their supplier factories in Pakistan.

In December 2022, apparel brands and worker organizations reached agreement to create a safety program in Pakistan. The Pakistan Accord now has 65 company signatories, covering more than 450 factories employing nearly a million workers. However, participation in the program by US brands has been significantly lagging that of European companies, despite early involvement by American Eagle Outfitters and PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger).

“Gap signing on is a big deal and will likely lead to more signatories from the United States,” said Scott Nova, Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium. “The pressure is now on Levi’s, Target, Urban Outfitters, and other US brands and retailers to sign.”

Safety deficiencies are common in Pakistan’s apparel and textile factories—a systemic problem that cannot be addressed by any one brand or retailer. More than 250 workers died in the 2012 Ali Enterprises factory fire in Karachi, the deadliest fire in the history of the global garment industry. Voluntary auditing systems have not protected workers in Pakistan, and injuries and deaths in factories have continued, including at least 19 deaths and injuries last year alone. This is why the Accord model is essential. The Pakistan Accord agreement: 

  • is legally binding on brands; 
  • after comprehensive health and safety inspections to uncover hazards, mandates time-bound renovation plans to eliminate those hazards; 
  • ensures suppliers have the resources to pay for renovations; 
  • will protect all workers throughout the brands’ supply chain; 
  • provides workers a confidential avenue to surface urgent safety and health concerns and secure swift corrective action; and 
  • documents its performance through extraordinary public transparency.