Partnership Initiatives

Partnership Initiative Complaints Mechanisms

Promoting complaints mechanisms and access to remedy is a fundamental part of corporate due diligence. Workers in the textile supply chain must have the opportunity to report abuses in the workplace and obtain effective remedy when needed.

Therefore, functioning grievance mechanisms are required. Options include, for example, internal factory complaint channels, civil society contact points and/or so-called back-up mechanisms of buying companies or sector initiatives. The aim of the Partnership Initiative (PI) Grievance Mechanisms, launched in 2020, hereby supports Partnership members in implementing effective complaint mechanisms. As a first module the PI consists of a cooperation project with more projects in the planning phase.

Cooperation project with Fair Wear
Illustration: Person mit Telefon im Vordergrund, im Hintergrund ist ein Fabrikgebäude
Key data

Period: April 2021 to October 2022

Cooperation partners: Fair Wear Foundation, Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile

Participating Partnership members: Esprit, s.Oliver, Seidensticker, FEMNET

Participating AGT signatories: G-Star, HEMA, Arisa

Countries: Vietnam, India

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles cooperates with the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT) to provide workers in the supply chain of participating partnership members with improved access to grievance mechanisms as well as to remedy and redemption. Furthermore, the project participants aim to avoid a myriad of (new) parallel, often ineffective channels and instead build on and further develop existing and successful mechanisms.

Through the cooperation, a group of the Partnership and AGT companies get access to the Fair Wear Foundation's grievance mechanism in Vietnam and India. The same requirements apply to the companies as to FWF members themselves, for example:

  • Educate workers about the use of the FWF mechanism,
  • Participation in the investigation of complaints,
  • Implementation of remedy and redemption,
  • Transparent publication of grievance cases on the Fair Wear website.

At the same time, the companies are closely assisted: Fair Wear supports them in establishing internal processes for receiving and resolving complaints as well as raising awareness of the mechanism in their supplier factories.

In the long term, a joint grievance mechanism is to be created that members of different initiatives can use. Therefore, the first phase of the project focuses on identifying and defining parameters and elements for such a joint mechanism. The incorporation of further companies and countries is envisaged for the second phase.

"With this joint approach, we want to work towards strengthening the rights of the employees in our supply chains.", Larissa Forntheil, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Seidensticker.

Sabrina Müller, Head of Sustainability at s.Oliver Group: "We would like to further develop our existing approach to complaints and remedial action in our supply chain. This cooperation gives us the opportunity to address this issue more efficiently and, most importantly, together with various actors such as the Fair Wear Foundation. In this way, we can avoid a multitude of different channels and facilitate access for workers throughout the industry."

Fair Wear Complaints procedure

“Making sure that workers are listened to and can voice their complaints requires a system. Our complaints helplines in major garment-producing countries serve exactly this purpose. Working together with our member brands, we work hard to address the complaints that the helplines bring to light.”

The Fair Wear Foundation's complaints mechanism offers workers at supplier factories the opportunity to make complaints about working conditions via phone, email or app. These are received and processed by local FWF employees. Together, the buying company and the factory concerned investigate the complaint and, if necessary, provide remedy and redemption. The FWF publishes the content and status of incoming complaints on its website.

Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

c/o Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale
Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 36
53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 228 4460-3560

@2021 Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien