Penn State will require companies that make university-licensed clothing in Bangladesh to sign a contract that ensures workers’ safety, officials announced.
The policy will be effective at the end of March and is in response to safety hazards in the southeast Asian country, where a garment factory collapsed last year and killed more than 1,100 workers.
If companies do not sign the legally binding contract, called an “accord on fire and building safety,” the university will end the license agreement.
The accord provides for independent inspections and building renovations intended to stop the building collapses and fires that have killed workers over the past three years, the university said.
University administrators consulted the student group United Students Against Sweatshops as part of their decision-making. President Rodney Erickson said the contract is the most effective way for companies to protect workers.
The organization Worker Rights Consortium is helping the university confirm what companies produce licensed goods. The organization already confirmed that Nike stopped producing Penn State-licensed merchandise in Bangladesh in 2012.