University of Toronto makes Bangladesh worker safety a condition in Trademark License Policy
August 4, 2015
Toronto, ON — The University of Toronto is taking steps to safeguard workers’ rights in Bangladesh apparel factories. Effective July 1, 2015, all licensees who source, produce or purchase collegiate apparel for the U of T in Bangladesh must sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
The U of T is the first Canadian university with a Trademark Licensing program that supports the Accord by requiring licensees with operations in Bangladesh to become signatories.
“The U of T has long been committed to ensuring that all university apparel is manufactured under conditions that are humane and free from exploitation,” said Anne MacDonald, Director of Ancillary Services. “Through our support of the Bangladesh Accord, we have increased our effort to protect the lives and safety of workers in that country.”
The Accord is an independent agreement designed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces. It emerged as a particularly meaningful and rigorous initiative following several horrific apparel factory tragedies in 2012 and 2013, including the Rana Plaza building collapse, in which more than 1,100 people died. So far, more than 200 international companies with manufacturing operations in Bangladesh have signed on to the Accord.
The U of T’s support of the Accord will require licensees who conduct business in Bangladesh to sign a letter acknowledging the Accord requirement. Licensees that do not support the Accord will not be renewed.
“By requiring licensees to sign the Bangladesh Accord, the University is taking a vital and effective step to protect the lives of workers making U of T logo clothing,” said Scott Nova, Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labour rights monitoring organization with whom U of T’s Trademark Licensing program has been affiliated since the inception of the program.
The University’s Trademark Licensing Policy, established in 2000, was instituted to ensure that merchandise bearing the university’s official marks is manufactured under humane, non-exploitative conditions. The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to have such a policy, and has also exercised leadership in its implementation of this policy over the last 15 years.
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