Levels of fire and building safety vary greatly across the global apparel industry and depend on a number of factors, including local laws and regulations, building maintenance, the technical capabilities of local experts and the expectations and actions of suppliers and brands.
We established our fire, building and electrical safety (FB+ES) program to reduce the risks inherent in the industrial process of apparel manufacturing. Our program is intended to protect workers, especially in our key sourcing countries and countries where these dangers pose a high risk. Reducing the risk of catastrophic events is paramount, and we see an opportunity to avoid supply disruptions from small-scale incidents that could result in lost working days, worker injury or displacement, and product damage.
Our approach is to lead local initiatives and partner with other brands, when possible, to support scalable solutions. In recent years, we have expanded our FB+ES approach beyond Bangladesh, where we had focused our efforts since 2014. In Bangladesh, we are a member of Nirapon, the organization created to carry forward the important FB+ES improvements that the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has achieved.
We joined the Life and Building Safety (LABS) initiative, which currently operates in India and Vietnam. In 2019, LABS assessed 15 facilities in India and 29 in Vietnam for fire and building safety. We are proud to help spearhead LABS’ work in its portfolio of facilities, half of which are Gap Inc. suppliers.
We have also worked with expert service providers to conduct assessments of our own in other key sourcing countries, including Cambodia, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. To date, these providers have conducted FB+ES assessments and created improvement plans for over 74 of the top strategic facilities that manufacture our product.