Welcome to the annual report for the Life and Building Safety Initiative, where we reflect on the progress we have made towards our program goals, exploring the successes and challenges, and sharing our learnings in the process. Our goal is twofold: to provide an introduction to our approach and methodology, followed by program achievements and our learnings to date.

Since launching, LABS has reached over 843,232 workers in India, Vietnam, and Cambodia to provide safer working conditions and collaborated with factories to remediate pressing safety issues. As of December 2022, approximately 77% of the issues identified across 406 factories in both countries were remediated because of LBS's intervention.

This report showcases our efforts in achieving these outcomes, and how we are making a difference towards promoting safer working conditions for workers in the textile industry.

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

• In 2022, LABS conducted various activities as towards Quality Assurance to ensure robustness in operations, and consistency in assessment and reporting.

• In December, Daan Wensing (CEO, IDH) and Felia Palsenberg (Global Operations Director, IDH) visited one of the associated factories , Pearl Global Pvt Ltd located in Gurugram, Haryana, accompanied by Jagjeet Singh Kandal (Country Director, IDH), Jasmer Dhingra (Program Director, IDH), Sarobindo Malhotra (Global Program Lead, LABS) and other members of the LABS Team and brand participant GAP Inc.

• On May 18th, 2022. LABS Program was publicly launched in Cambodia. Overall, 207 people participated in the launch event.


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 2022, 394 assessments had been conducted since the program’s launch. In 2022, a total of 147 assessments were conducted at factories across India, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Remediations: Based on the issues identified during a factory’s assessment, the factory then works on a corrective action plan to remediate the issues in line with LABS Standards. Since early 2022, LABS has steadily increased its overall remediation rate, reaching 77% at the end of 2022.

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. In 2022, LABS conducted a total of 326 Safety Trainings in which 7,219 people were trained on safety practices.

LABS Helpline: As part of the LABS program, a toll-free workers helpline is provided for factories linked with the program in India, Vietnam and Cambodia. Workers can anonymously report safety issues, primarily related to structural, fire and electrical safety. A total of 91 calls were reported on the Helpline in 2022.

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 2022, 5 NSC meetings (2 India; 2 Vietnam; 1 Cambodia) were held to help strengthen policy/regulations and ensure joint industry commitments to safety with longterm local/national ownership.

• Working with brand participants to strengthen the program

In 2022, LABS continued to work closely with the brand participants to accelerate the remediation and implementation of safety management systems in sourcing factories. The result was a major increase in remediation rates on high-priority issues and the timely execution of LABS processes at factories, and another 44 factories successfully adopting LABS Standards into their operational processes and thereby graduating from the LABS program. In 2022, two of the brand participants – Gap Inc and VF Corp. – made the LABS program a mandatory sourcing requirement.

• Working with associated firms to achieve operational excellence

LABS associated firms are the inspection, quality assurance & safety training firms that deliver LABS mandated processes across our operational countries. In 2022, 5 more firms (2 inspection, 1 quality assurance and 2 safety training, and including 10 engineers & 5 trainers) were trained and added to the program to further strengthen operations.

Changing business practices

• Factory Graduations: In total, 51 factories (India 7; Vietnam 44) have successfully graduated from the program, of which 41 (India 7; Vietnam 37) in 2022.

• Expansion into Home Textile factories: In October 2022, we began work on extending the LABS program to cover Home Textile factories and identified India. The updated Standards are currently being reviewed. Home Textiles include, for example, bedsheets, pillows, towels, bath and kitchen linen, blankets and carpets.

Promoting gender empowerment

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

• Gender Workshop: Platform for Gender Equality in Apparel & Footwear in Cambodia: On 2 November 2022, LABS ran its first Gender Workshop in Cambodia.

achievements achievements

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.

• During 2022, the LABS secretariat held several key meetings with Better Factories Cambodia and Better Works Vietnam for improved collaboration.