The Arcadia Group first received an official copy of the proposed Accord at 20.50 last evening – 14th May 2013, after we requested it from the ETI. It is therefore wholly unreasonable for press statements to be made first thing this morning that we as a Group had not responded or signed.
The Arcadia Group has a rigorous ethical trading programme which can be viewed in full on our website – under the Fashion Footprint heading. As stated within this policy, we are proud of our sustained efforts in terms of factory inspections and audits, and our teams worldwide work very closely with our suppliers and their factories to do our utmost to ensure compliance.
As a large clothing retailer, we were deeply saddened by the recent events in Bangladesh, and our thoughts are with all of those affected.
Bangladesh however does represent only a small percentage of our total supply chain. For example as a point of information, we feel that it is important to point out TOPSHOP’s purchases from Bangladesh are less than £25,000 to date this year.
However, in order to show support for the initiative that this Accord is proposing to undertake, we as a Group will be signing up. This will be done on the condition that we understand the final costs to us, which to date has not been made clear.
As with any other commercial contract we sign, we reserve the right to review our participation if the Accord does not achieve its stated aims within an agreed timescale.
We look forward to working closely with all others involved to achieve change within the Bangladesh garment industry.
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15th May 2013