Welcome to the annual report for the Life and Building Safety Initiative of 2023. This year marked a pivotal chapter in our journey as we expanded our operations to include Indonesia, alongside our existing presence in India, Vietnam, and Cambodia. This expansion not only broadened our reach but also deepened our commitment to fostering safer workplaces across key apparel-producing countries.

In collaboration with over 500 factories, we undertook the critical task of addressing pressing safety concerns, prioritizing the well-being of workers. Through concerted efforts, we achieved significant milestones, driving positive impacts for over a million individuals employed within these factories.

By the close of 2023, our collective endeavors yielded tangible results, with approximately 80% of identified safety issues remediated in India and Vietnam alone. Almost 85% of these addressed issues were classified as high-priority, indicating potentially life-threatening hazards that were effectively mitigated through our intervention.

We invite you to read the report and explore how the Life and Building Safety Initiative is making a positive impact in the industry.

Program Achievements:


What are our stakeholders saying

The year that was

Key highlights

  • Platform for Safety in Apparel and Footwear Industry (India) convened in April 2023
  • LABS launched in Indonesia in May 2023
  • LABS 2nd Annual Gender Workshop in Cambodia conducted in September 2023
  • New Brand (Nike) onboarded
  • 1 million+ workers reached globally
  • 500+ factories reached

Improved field-level impact

Assessments: Assessments are conducted at factories based on the LABS Standards. They provide insight into the safety issues in a factory. By the end of 2023, 487 assessments had been conducted since the program’s launch. In 2023, a total of 97 assessments were conducted at factories across India, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Remediations: Post identification of issues the factories worked towards the corrective action plan and remediated the issues in line with the LABS Standards. In 2023, LABS worked towards increasing the remediation rate at factories in operational countries, reaching 71% (in India, Vietnam and Cambodia).

Safety Training: Through the associated safety training firms, LABS enhances the ability of OHS committees, staff members and factory safety personnel to flag up and raise awareness of structural, electrical and fire safety issues. By the end of 2023, LABS program conducted overall 883 safety trainings while specifically in 2023, it conducted 298 Safety Trainings.

LABS Helpline & Chat Platoform: As part of the LABS program, a toll-free workers helpline and Chat Platform is provided for factories linked with the program. Workers can anonymously report safety issues, primarily related to structural, fire and electrical safety. A total of 331 calls were reported on the Helpline till 2023, from which 37 was received during the year.

Improved sector governance

• Leveraging National Stakeholders Committees (NSC) to create sector-level change

The NSC guides the monitoring and institutionalizing of the program at country level. Ensuring key government support for NSCs is vital. In 2023, 06 NSC meetings (02 India; 02 Vietnam; 01 Cambodia; 01 Indonesia) were conducted to strengthen policy/regulation as per program mandate and to ensure joint industry commitments towards safety & long-term local/ national ownership.

• Working with brand participants to strengthen the program

In 2023, LABS continued to work closely with the brand participants to accelerate the remediation and implementation of safety management systems in sourcing factories. This collaborative effort led to an increase in the remediation percentage of high-priority issues, timely execution of LABS processes at the factories and overall 122 factories graduating from the program by end of 2023 (India – 23; Vietnam - 99) by adopted Life & Building Safety standards into their operational processes. LABS also successfully established a transformative partnership with Nike during the year.

• Working with associated firms to achieve operational excellence

LABS associated firm consists of Inspection Firms, Quality Assurance Firms & Safety Training Firms that deliver LABS mandated processes in all operational countries. In 2023, more firms were added to the program to support the operations in Indonesia and an enabling environment was created through robust trainings of 5 Firms (3 Inspection Firm, 1 Quality Assurance Firm and 1 Safety Training Firm) including 12 engineers & 03 safety trainers.

Changing business practices

• Factory Graduations: In total, 122 factories (India - 23; Vietnam - 99) have successfully graduated from the program, of which 72 (India -16; Vietnam - 56) in 2023.

• LABS Standards updated to include home- textile factories: In 2023, the LABS Program further expanded to cover textile factories besides apparel, footwear, and accessories factories. Based on the Brand’s factory footprint per country, India was shortlisted as the priority country for expanding to textile sector. The Standards were reviewed and finalized by an external 3rd party firm “QIMA Limited” in April 2023. The updated standards for textiles additionally cover factories manufacturing bedsheets, pillows, bath towels and linens, kitchen linen, blankets, carpets etc

Promoting gender empowerment

• Over 4,700 women have been trained on safety parameters through LABS Safety Trainings since program inception.

• Gender Workshop: On September 25, 2023, LABS hosted its 2nd Annual Gender Workshop in Cambodia, attracting 60 participants from a broad spectrum of organizations. The workshop saw representation from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT), the Australian Embassy, the US Embassy, Better Factories Cambodia, CFA, TAFTAC, American Chambers of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce and global brands such as Amazon, Primark, H&M. Other participants included representatives from CGTI, UNFPA, factories, non-LABS brands, NGOs, CSOs, and both the government and private sectors.


Stakeholder outreach

• Several multi-stakeholder consultation and knowledge-sharing events were conducted with LABS stakeholders to assess the existing safety issues in factories and possible solutions.


• In 2023, the LABS Secretariat enhanced collaboration with ILO’s Better Work (Vietnam and Indonesia) and Better Factories (Cambodia) through various knowledge-sharing sessions, workshops, and joint factory visits. These activities fostered greater synergy and laid the groundwork for future cooperation.