Launch of German CottonUP Guide

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and Cotton 2040 have now launched a German version of the CottonUP guide to sourcing sustainable cotton, in support of the Partnership’s aim to use at least 35% sustainable cotton by 2020, with 10% of the total volume being organic cotton.

The Guide is a practical resource to inform and guide business leaders and sourcing teams on the issues, benefits and options for sourcing more sustainable cotton, with the aim of enabling them to fast track their cotton sourcing strategies across multiple standards. It is part of Cotton 2040, a multi-stakeholder initiative to significantly increase the use of sustainable cotton internationally.

The CottonUP guide highlights the business case and main sourcing options for sustainable cotton, provides guidance on creating a sourcing strategy and working with suppliers, and shares case studies from companies that have already woven sustainability into their sourcing.

Convened by Forum for the Future with support from the C&A Foundation, Cotton 2040 brings together leading retailers M&S, Target and Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Ltd; Cotton UPindustry standards Better Cotton Initiative and Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA), organic standards (represented by Textile Exchange), Fairtrade, industry initiatives CottonConnect, IDH – the sustainable trade initiative, Cotton Australia, Proudly made in Africa and Organic Cotton Accelerator as well as the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion.

Find out more: www.cottonupguide.org

Additionally, the Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide “How to go organic” provides detailed information concerning the procurement on organic cotton in particular.

 

 

“Women have to be respected”

We interviewed Mary Viyakula from the Indian non-governmental organisation SAVE about the Partnership Initiative in Tamil Nadu, about her personal goals in life and workers’ rights.

Seventeen percent of all employees in India work in the textile and garment sector. The centre of yarn production is in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where approx. 2,000 spinning mills are located. About eighty percent of all spinning mill workers are women, including minors. The lower tiers in the supply chain, such as spinning mills, often have unacceptable working conditions. In many cases, workers often have to do excessive overtime, and the payment of the official minimum wage cannot be ensured by now. In addition to that sexual harassment and lack of freedom of association pose a threat, especially for young women.

A Partnership Initiative is now aiming to improve this situation. Together the members of the Partnership Initiative (BMZ, FEMNET e.V., HUGO BOSS, KiK, Otto Group, Tchibo as well as TransFair e.V. and Brands Fashion as associated partners) aim to strengthen labour rights through local dialogue, in-factory- and inspector-training. The Partnership Initiative is also helping to establish complaints committees.

The local implementing partner of the Partnership Initiative in Tamil Nadu is the non-governmental organisation SAVE. Mary Viyakula lives in the Tamil Nadu region and has been working for SAVE for years. She talked to us about her personal motivation and explained what the joint engagement in Tamil Nadu is all about.

 

What is your motivation to work for SAVE?

Mary: My motivation came from the people I met. A lot of workers in factories are not able to make a decent living for their children, so the children end up in factories instead of going to school. If the conditions in the factories improve, the children will automatically get the chance to get an education. So this is what I have identified to concentrate on, and that is why I got involved in labour rights education.

What is the goal of the joint initiative with the Textile Partnership?

Mary: Under the umbrella of the Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Tamil Nadu (MSI-TN) we aim to improve the working conditions in spinning mills and work in three areas. We promote dialogue among relevant stakeholders in the local textile industry to improve the enforcement of existing law and to make clear what the rights of workers are. We also train workers and management in factories about labour rights and support the establishment of complaints committees and grievance redress procedures. Furthermore, the partnership initiative will train state labour inspectors who will align inspections with international standards and improve their quality.

Dialogue and in-factory training serve to raise awareness on labour rights. In addition to that, grievance redress procedures need to be in place.  

Mary: That’s right. With the in-factory training we would particularly like to address issues for young women in the textiles and garment industry: Their employment relationships, their working hours, the payment of a living wage, their freedom of movement and employment benefits. We face major challenges in the factories, for example, existing law is often ignored. In particular, young workers are frequently unaware of their own rights, and of course, awareness is the first step in addressing violations. However, there is no mechanism in place to investigate their complaints. The Initiative of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles directly involves the young women inside the factory in setting up an appropriate mechanism to provide redress for grievances.

What are your hopes for the Tamil Nadu region in the future?

Mary: That`s a good question! All working women have to be respected; they should feel free to work, feel that they’re in a dignified labour situation. This program should help! Dignified women workers who should not be in confined situations. Women have to be respected.

 

Thank you!

How to go organic – Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide published

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles provides practical answers to the question of how companies can procure organic cotton: The newly published Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide “How to go organic” is available now.

The Partnership aims at using overall at least 10 % organic cotton by 2020. This is significantly more than the market share of organic cotton globally, estimated to be around 0,5 percent. Therefore, the research and sourcing of organic cotton is a challenge. In cooperation with Helvetas, Organic Cotton Accelerator and C&A Foundation the Textiles Partnership now releases the Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide to support brands in achieving this goal. It provides six steps of how to go organic for brands starting to use organic cotton or those wanting to increase their share of organic cotton.

Within the framework of Mutual Support, eleven brands share their experiences with sourcing organic cotton, the advantages it has and how they increase their volume of organic cotton. Read their opinion in the statements (German only).

 

Together for better working conditions in the garment industry

[Berlin, 2nd of November 2018] Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles signed a strategic cooperation agreement. The cooperation partners want to work together to promote fair working conditions and wages in the production countries of the garment industry.
The cooperation focuses on promoting the payment of living wages and access to remedy and grievance mechanisms.

To promote the payment of living wages, workshops on purchasing practices will be offered for Partnership members. Moreover, joint trainings for suppliers will be conducted in several production countries in order to improve production processes and pricing. The measures shall be included in the Partnership’s inititative concerning living wages.

With regard to grievance mechanisms, the cooperation partners are currently investigating how synergies can be leveraged in the most effective way and where improvements are to me made. In addition, members of both initiatives shall benefit from mutual exchange of knowledge and coordination of supporting activities.

Read on here the press release of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles from the 2nd of November 2018.

About Fair Wear Foundation
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) shows it’s possible to make clothes in a fairer way – a way that supports workers’ rights to safe, dignified, properly paid employment. The non-profit organisation partners with brands and supports workers to find answers to problems others think are unsolvable. FWF keeps track of the improvements made by the companies it works with. And through sharing expertise, FWF increases the effectiveness of the efforts made by companies.

Textile Exchange and the Partnership of Sustainable Textiles get together to increase the sustainability in the textile industry

[Milan: October 23, 2018] Today the global working nongovernmental organisation Textile Exchange and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) and agreed on a cooperation to promote the development and use of sustainable materials and fibres in the clothing industry.

 With this focus, the cooperation covers the following fields:

  • Capacity building and knowledge transfer for stakeholders of the textile- and clothing sector, within the development and implementation of strategies for the use of sustainable fibres
  • Support the collective engagement of the production countries due to exchange of experience and dialog between producers, brand manufactures and more relevant stakeholder of the supply chain
  • Promoting of the (international) alignment of requirements on companies and standards
  • Development of measure instruments for documentation and verification of sustainability-programs to achieve significant improvements in this branch      

After signing the LOI Textile Exchange and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles will collective concrete the fields of cooperation, communicate and further implement first activities together.

 

ABOUT TEXTILE EXCHANGE

Headquarter in Texas, Textile Exchange is a global non-profit that creates leaders in the sustainable fiber and materials industry.

 Textile Exchange also manages and promotes a suite of six leading industry standards, including organic, recycled, responsible down and responsible wool, as well as, collects and publishes critical industry data and insights that enable brands and retailers to measure, manage and track their use of preferred fiber and materials. With more than 260 members who represent leading brands, retailers and suppliers, Textile Exchange has meaningfully accelerated the use of preferred fibers and increased the adoption of standards and certifications across the global textile industry.

Members of the Textiles Partnership Posing a Joint Demand

Members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles urge the government in Bangladesh to advocate for compliance with the agreements reached for the transition of the Bangladesh Accord.  

In a letter to the Bangladeshi Government, members of the Textiles Partnership and the Accord, among them Tchibo, ALDI Süd and ALDI Nord as well as Hugo Boss, demand the adherence and support to the existing agreements for the transition of the Bangladesh Accord to a national institution. This is mainly due to current developments and discrepancies. The Accord governs measures for fire and building safety in textile and clothing factories.

In October last year, the Transition Monitoring Committee (TMC) of the Bangladesh Accord – consisting of the government, the employer organization, trade unions and brand and retail companies participating in the Accord – had agreed on several objective criteria, which must be fulfilled in order to commence the transition of the Accord to a national institution. The TMC is responsible for making the decision, if these criteria are ultimately met.

Read here the complete letter of the Partnership and Accord members.

Roadmaps 2018 are Published

Members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles committed to take more responsibility for sustainability in their own supply chain. In the annual Roadmaps, they demonstrate how they handle the work to improve fair wages, environmental protection and working conditions. The creation of a Roadmap is binding to all members. Next year, they have to report on the achievement of their defined targets. From today on these roadmaps are publicly available and free to download.  

On the Partnership’s website you can find a filter function >Roadmap 2018 published<, through which you can access the current status of the examined Roadmaps. All following Roadmaps will gradually be published on the Partnership’s website.

 Read on here the press release of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles from the 13th August 2018.  

Dr. Juergen Janssen interviewed by the EU Parliament Member Arne Lietz

On an event of the Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) and the German Economic Institute in Brussels with the core question: “How can sustainable Supply Chain Management succeed?”, Juergen Janssen (Head of the Secretariat of the Partnership of Sustainable Textiles) and Arne Lietz (Member of the European Parliament) talked about the Textile Partnership. About its strategic cooperation, inter alia with the “Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile” (AGT) and the “Action Collaboration Transformation” (ACT), as well as the implementation of due diligence OECD Guidelines.

 

Alsico NV becomes the first associated member of the Textile Partnership

We are pleasedto welcome Alsico NV as the first associated member in the Textile Partnership. The company with a deep heritage manufactures high quality workwear and attaches great value on ecological textiles and a sustainable business management. Alsico ensures the required conditions to become an associated member of the Textile Partnership with being a member of our Dutch cooperation Partner the „Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile“(AGT). From now on, the company has full access to the information platform and all our tools.

The Alsico-company group employs about 7,000 employees/workers and achieves annual sales of 200 Million Euro. The company’s head quarter is located in the Belgium city Ronse in the eastern Flemish region next to the French border.

Partnership Members got together at the Working Meeting in Cologne

On the 11th and 12th of July about 160 Partnership members got together for a working meeting in the converted industrial building “Bauwerk” in Cologne Kalk. In eight different workshops, the members discussed the structural development and further content of the Textile Partnership.

 

In the group „Supply Chain Transparency” with approximately 50 participants, members presented their own case studies. The diverse possibilities in digital innovations were demonstrated in reports about block chain solutions as an information tool in the supply chain or in the idea of barcodes, which provides immediately details about the production country on your smartphone.

“Living Wages” as an annual theme of 2018 was presented in an own Workshop. A specialist presentation showed how challenges in implementing living wages could be handled. Further, the participants discussed how the Textile Partnership could strengthen their cooperation with other initiatives to use synergies more effectively.

In the workshop “Sustainable man-made Fibres”, more than 40 participants concentrated on topics like regenerated fibres, synthetic chemical fibres and biobased plastics. Thereby they identified challenges of using socially and environmentally sustainable chemical fibres. In the “Chemicals” workshop, the focus was on relevant tools and practical objective of the deeper supply chain.

For further stronger consideration of “Preventing Corruption” as a topic in the Textile Partnership, the group of experts made a proposal how to integrate it in the Partnerships question grid. Benchmarking was the focus of the discussion in the “Impact Assessment” workshop. The participants disputed possibilities to measure the impact in the production countries. A concrete proposal for topics regarding “Living Wages” and “Chemical and Environmental Management” should be elaborated this year.

The participants of the workshops “Internationalisation” and “Communication” discussed more structural questions, like the possibilities of a stronger international focus of the Textile Partnership and strategies of recruiting new Partnership member.