On December 14, 2010, a fire caused by an electrical issue at the factory That's It Sportswear in Bangladesh caused the death of 29 workers, and injured many others. This factory was a supplier to Abercrombie & Fitch and several other US brands and retailers.
This devastating event sparked a cry for help in Bangladesh factories, flagging a need for drastic improvements in factory safety, particularly in fire safety. The core of A&F's Sustainability program is to ensure that our products are only made in safe and responsible facilities, which is why our Code of Conduct includes a health and safety section, and our monitoring firms specifically cover fire safety during factory audits. A&F and other brands, as well as local NGOs, worked together for many months after the fire to ensure the deceased workers' families were taken care of. Together, we also produced a soap opera style fire safety video as a means to train factory employees. A&F asked all of the Bangladesh factories in which we work with to show the video to factory employees. We are happy to report that A&F's entire Bangladesh factory base has shown the fire safety video to 100% of their workers.
In an effort to ensure no tragedy like this occurs in another Bangladesh factory, A&F broadened its reach by asking existing Bangladesh factories in which A&F produces to go through an electrical audit, performed by 3rd party monitoring firms. The electrical audits are extensive, and are proving useful to the factories. Each one of the factories that has gone through the electrical audit has shown dedication to making improvements by employing electrical engineers to oversee every correction to the findings from the electrical audit report, and investing in new factory equipment when needed. Improvements are still in-process, but as a final step the Bangladesh factories will go through a follow-up electrical audit to verify the needed improvements have been implemented. We feel confident that by continuing to work with the factories on electrical safety we are one step closer to ensuring the safety of the workers.