As part of its preparation for that continued support, the safety initiative born after the felled Rana Plaza factory highlighted deficient conditions in Bangladesh’s garment sector, the Alliance named former U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, James F. Moriarty as its new country director.
Moriarty will transition out of his current role as the Alliance executive director to assume the new one, where he will lead strategic oversight and outreach activities with key stakeholders in the Bangladesh government, the garment industry and non-governmental and nonprofit organizations.
“As our operations team continues to work to empower factory workers and owners, we saw an opportunity to increase our engagement with key stakeholders and focus on long-term sustainability,” Ellen Tauscher, independent chair of the Alliance, said.
The Alliance was allotted a five-year run from its 2013 start to inspect factories and aid remediation efforts, and despite having completed safety inspections in 100 percent of its nearly 700 member factories, trained 1.2 million workers in fire safety at least once, and overseeing the 50 percent of factory repairs that are now complete, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said in December that neither the Alliance nor the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh would be extended beyond their scheduled 2018 end.
But the Alliance won’t be bailing when 2018 rolls around. Members of the initiative are directing additional attention toward long-term sustainability in the garment industry there.
As country director, the Alliance said Moriarty will spend more time working with the Accord and key stakeholders to support the garment sector and expand the reach of factory improvements after the initiative wraps up its initial mission.
Alliance managing director Rabin Mesbah will also transition to a new role leading the Building and Fire Safety Division of Elevate, the management firm that has been responsible for designing, managing and executing all Alliance remediation and training efforts in Bangladesh.
“Under Mr. Mesbah’s leadership, we’ve made considerable progress in the past 2 and a half years, and I’m looking forward to having an even more active engagement with key stakeholders to help us achieve our shared vision of a safer RMG industry for Bangladeshi workers,” Moriarty said. “I am confident that together, we can catalyze progress toward our goal of ensuring that Bangladesh’s garment factories and workers remain safe after 2018, and I’m proud to help chart the course on this effort.”