, ,

amfori, Fair Wear and PST Join Forces to Tackle Grievances from Shared Factories

Menu
News
22.09.2022

amfori, Fair Wear and PST Join Forces to Tackle Grievances from Shared Factories

amfori, Fair Wear and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (PST) are pleased to announce the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their collaboration to jointly address workers grievances from shared factories of their various member brands. This collaboration will initially be piloted for a year, with the objective to improve working conditions in our members’ supply chains and to offer learnings for the industry to align access to remedies.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) strongly recommends in its Accountability and Remedy Project III that “operators of non-State-based grievance mechanisms cooperate proactively and constructively with each other in order to raise standards and promote good practice with respect to the resolution of grievances arising from business-related human rights harms” .

In global garment supply chains, brands are likely to source from the same suppliers and/or factories. Those brands are often part of member organisations that seek to promote the improvement of working conditions in supply chains by providing (non-judicial) grievance mechanisms.

Production sites where multiple member brands, from different member organisations, source from, offer unique opportunities to pool resources and make a joint impact. With this in mind, and to integrate efforts and avoid overlap, amfori, Fair Wear and PST have agreed to work together to jointly address complaints raised in shared factories. The objectives are to

  • support member brands and their suppliers in resolving complaints
  • align approaches and standards
  • strengthen collaboration among stakeholders
  • provide better (access to) remedy for workers

In line with the OHCHR’s recommendations, this initiative will also help provide a space to test such collaboration between operators of grievance mechanisms, find synergies and align complaint handling, including investigation and remediation steps, across the industry.

In this endeavour, the organisations – in consultation with their main stakeholders – have drawn up a protocol setting out the scope, terms and processes for implementing this collaboration. The protocol does not replace any of the organisations’ complaints mechanisms but serves as an additional “instrument” to escalate incoming complaints whose resolution could benefit from such a collaborative approach While any grievance raised through a channel of the participating organisations may be covered by the collaboration protocol, complaints that are more complex in nature and where the additional leverage and resources provided by the collaboration would allow for better remediation, are more likely to be escalated.

This approach will be piloted for one year from September 2022. Thereafter, learnings and feedback received from various stakeholders during the first year will form the basis for evaluation and adaptation of the collaboration protocol.

Fair Wear has years of experience in handling complaints under its Fair Wear complaints mechanism , that operates in a large number of countries. amfori recently piloted its supply chain grievance mechanism, Speak for Change Programme, in Vietnam and is in the process of rolling it out in other countries. The PST does not have its own grievance mechanism, but promotes mechanisms of other organisations and engages in collaborative projectsto improve access to remedies for workers in their members’ supply chains.

Although amfori, Fair Wear and PST are the first to sign the MoU, it is open for other like-minded organisations to join and learn from this shared experience.

The three organisations look forward to launching this new collaborative initiative to promote better working conditions in their members’ supply chains and learn for better industry alignment on access to remedies.

,

Abschied Jürgen Janssen

Menu
News
08.09.2022

"It never got boring."

Jürgen Janssen leaves the Textile Partnership after 6 years

Since 2016, Jürgen Janssen has been Head of the Textile Partnership Secretariat, which is provided by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Janssen, who holds a doctorate in agricultural economics, has already worked for GIZ in various capacities and is now moving to Ramallah. We asked him a few farewell questions.

Noor Naqschbandi (see introduction below) will take over as head of the Partnership Secretariat.

What have been the three biggest changes in the Textile Partnership over the last five years?

The most important thing was the Steering Committee's decision in 2017 to switch to the due diligence approach to achieve the goals of the Partnership. Here, the Steering Committee has shown real foresight: The clear commitment to the due diligence approach has contributed in no small way to the fact that the Partnership companies are much better prepared for the current and future requirements in the implementation of due diligence and the associated obligations to provide evidence.

Closely related to this is the increasing importance of joint implementation projects in the production countries of the German and European textile and garment industry. Thematically, we are increasingly aligning ourselves with the requirements for the implementation of due diligence. Examples are our projects on Complaints Mechanisms, the payment of higher wages or the general improvement of working conditions, especially for women (PI Tamil Nadu).

We were also able to further develop our cooperation network in the sector. Here, the Corona pandemic has acted as a trend accelerator for all participants towards more division of labour, cooperation and coordination. This development is continuing, and the Partnership would like to play an active role here, especially in order to achieve a greater impact in the countries and at the same time limit the effort for the companies and organisations involved.

What are you especially proud of?

That the Partnership has established itself as a lively learning and dialogue platform in which the actors - companies, associations, the German government, trade unions, NGOs and standard organisations - not only talk about each other, but also with each other and jointly seek (and find) solutions. This makes it possible, for example, for German companies and NGOs to participate in a structured way through the Partnership in the development towards industry-wide complaints mechanisms, to be part of the discussion on a new framework for fair purchasing practices or to participate in current strategies and approaches of the Fashion Charter for Climate Action on Climate Protection .

What challenges is the Partnership facing?

The challenges for the Partnership reflect the challenges we face as people, businesses, organisations and societies. For many actors, it is a balancing act between the need for change and their own abilities to successfully manage these changes. This applies in particular to companies, but also to the other Partnership members as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which continues to support the Partnership.

The discussion on the EU Textile Strategy and its implementation will certainly play a central role. In addition, there is a second balancing act: that between coping with the acute crises, some of which acutely threaten the existence of companies (above all Corona, the Ukraine war, the energy crisis) and the strategic, long-term challenges. In view of this, climate change is pushing its way to the top of the agenda with unpleasant tenacity.

What do you wish the Partnership and its members for the coming period?

At least three things,

  • that the federal government continues to promote the Partnership as an offer of support to business, trade unions and civil society and thus supports the necessary and desired change.
  • that business, trade unions, civil society and the federal government continue to work in a trusting, constructive dialogue to find solutions to the major challenges that the industry continues to face.
  • good luck in achieving our goal of a social, ecological and corruption-free textile and garment industry that creates long-term value and benefits all stakeholders.
Your "last words" as head of the Textile Partnership Secretariat?

The basis for the work in the Partnership is the trusting cooperation between the actors. Creating the basis for this is a very central task of the Partnership Secretariat. This also requires trust, trust in the fundamental neutrality and integrity of the secretariat, in the quality of the professional and methodological support and in the correct assessment of current and prospective developments in the sector and its environment. This trust has been placed in us over the past years - also as an advance payment. I would like to express my sincere thanks for this and for the many exciting moments in the Partnership. In any case, it never got boring.

Farewell words from the steering committee
Noor Naqschbandi takes over as head of the Textile Partnership Secretariat

Noor Naqschbandi has been working for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for over 10 years and has been involved in various schemes and projects, including the German Global Compact Network. From 2015 to 2018, he was programme manager of the Alliance for Integrity, which is also a multi-stakeholder initiative. Thus, he brings experience in working with different stakeholder groups. As Cluster Coordinator in India (2020-2022), he has had occasional exposure to the Partnership Initiative in Tamil Nadu.

"I am looking forward to the exciting work in the Textile Partnership and to going into action together with the members. Not only do we want to be the first point of contact for social and ecological responsibility for companies in Germany, but we also want to strengthen joint activities in the production countries."

,

Interview on inclusion and diversity in the textile industry

Menu
News
23.08.2022

Interview on inclusion and diversity in the textile industry

In an interview with the Asia Garment Hub, Judith Kunert and Luisa Hans talk about the opportunities and challenges of making the textile sector more inclusive.

Companies still face major challenges in meeting their corporate due diligence obligations with regard to discrimination, gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace. These barriers make it difficult for workers to participate equally in the labour market. To help companies make working conditions more inclusive, the Guide on Inclusion in Textile Supply Chains for the Apparel and Textile Sector was published in 2021. It shows how companies and employees alike can benefit from inclusive working conditions and how inclusion can be implemented. 

Judith Kunert, who works on gender and inclusion in the Textile Partnership, and Luisa Hans from the International Association of the Natural Textile Industry (IVN) helped develop the guide. In an interview with Asia Garment Hub, they talk about ways to make the textile sector more inclusive.

Currently, people with disabilities are disadvantaged by the current working conditions in textile factories, which are mostly located in low-wage countries and whose social standards are inadequate. People with disabilities are not only exposed to a higher work risk, but also have difficulties earning the minimum wage, which is usually linked to the number of pieces produced. Individual abilities and potentials are often overlooked and perceived as negative due to existing prejudices.

However, research shows that inclusion and protection against discrimination have an overall positive impact on the working environment and increase social skills, innovation and productivity of employees. So everyone benefits from diversity.

At the same time, inclusion and diversity have to be rethought in the long term and prejudices have to be dismantled in order to give workers perspectives. Luisa Hans on this: "Inclusion does not simply mean that persons with disabilities will be integrated but rather society affirming all talents and capabilities."

Inclusion is a long-term process and requires the constant sensibilisation of superiors and employees. An important step is to give the topic more attention and to promote mutual exchange with those affected. Especially with regard to gender-based violence, the "Me-Too" debate has contributed enormously to putting gender issues and women's rights on the international agenda. There is also a lot of potential in the area of discrimination against people with disabilities and diversity.

Nevertheless, there are already positive developments within the fashion industry, which is slowly addressing the issue. Large fashion companies are increasingly developing inclusive approaches. This would raise questions about inclusion in their own operations and supply chains. Therefore, they need to take action to address the issue.

To raise awareness and interest in the topic, guidelines, publications and public interviews are a good first step. But also exchanges with experts and organisations representing people with disabilities can help to analyse levers and identify physical and other barriers. They can also raise awareness of one's own prejudices and stereotypes.

You can find the full interview here: Disability inclusion: Companies should recognise that diversity is a strength and a reputation enhancer — Asia Garment Hub.

,

Welcome to the Partnership: Snocks GmbH

Menu
News
19.08.2022

Welcome to the Partnership: Snocks GmbH

We are pleased to welcome Snocks to the Textiles Partnership.

The Mannheim-based company Snocks GmbH has been selling socks, underwear and basic clothing since 2016.

Snocks sources its products from China, Pakistan and Turkey. All Snocks suppliers are committed to environmental and social standards. They are members of amfori BSCI and continuously check and improve social standards and working conditions in the value chain.
Since 2021, Snocks has exclusively used certified organic cotton, which is GOTS and OCS certified. In addition, the majority of their products are labelled with the governmental, independent textile seal "Green Button" and fulfil the product certification OEKO-TEX Standard 100.

As an e-commerce-only company, Snocks places particular emphasis on sustainable distribution structures and uses recyclable, FSC-certified shipping packaging where possible to reduce plastic waste.

The company founders Johannes Kliesch and Felix Bauer explain: The company founders Johannes Kliesch and Felix Bauer explain: "As a company, we see it as our duty not only to be profitable, but also to do good for the environment. Therefore, our next step is to record the eco-balance of our products, our transport, our production, our water and electricity consumption. With such an inventory, we can then gradually reduce the footprint of our company. In the future, we also want to live this commitment externally. Currently, we are still working on our strategy on how we want to anchor sustainability in our company core."

You can find more information about Snocks GmbH at https://snocks.com/

,

Workshop: Risiken in der tieferen Lieferkette adressieren

Menu
News
19.08.2022

Workshop: Risiken in der tieferen Lieferkette adressieren

How can companies better record risks along the entire textile supply chain in order to fulfil their social and ecological due diligence obligations in a more targeted manner? In a workshop at the Textile Partnership working meeting in May, around 30 members exchanged views on this.

Für Unternehmen ist es wichtig, die sozialen und ökologischen Risiken in ihrer Lieferkette zu analysieren und zu priorisieren. Bislang beschränkt sich die Risikoanalyse jedoch häufig nur auf direkte Zulieferer (Tier 1) und dringt nicht bis in tiefere Stufen der Lieferkette vor.

Ziel des Workshops „Beyond tier 1 – due diligence risks in the deeper supply chains” war es deshalb, Herausforderungen und Lösungsansätze zu diskutieren, wie Unternehmen Risiken gezielter und systematischer erfassen und so auch in der tieferen Lieferkette ihrer Sorgfaltspflicht besser nachkommen können.

Die Risiken können sich je nach Stufe der Lieferkette oder Produktionsland unterscheiden:

Quelle: Textilbündnis-Handreichung: Schritt für Schritt durch den Review-Prozess.

Input von Silvia Mera

Zu Beginn des Workshops gab Silvia Mera Einblicke in ihrer Arbeit bei von GoodWeave International und wie sie dort, mit Zulieferbetrieben zusammenarbeiten und die Arbeitsbedingungen in den Betrieben überprüfen. Laut Mera sind zwei Aspekte besonders wichtig:

  • Effektive Standards (z. B. Verhaltenskodex), die sich auf alle Ebenen der Lieferkette beziehen,
  • Inspektionen und Überwachung (z. B. unangekündigte schnelle Fabrikaudits) Abhilfe und Vorbeugung (z. B. Bewusstseinsbildung, bei Heimarbeitern auch auf Ebene der Familie)
Vertrauter Austausch, anstatt einseitiger Top-Down Maßnahmen

Risiken zu ermitteln, gestaltet sich vor allem dann schwierig, wenn Unternehmen keinen direkten Kontakt zu ihren Lieferanten haben oder ihre tiefere Lieferkette nicht kennen. Die Komplexität und Vielzahl an Akteuren erschweren den Austausch über soziale und ökologische Risiken. Diese Distanz lässt sich nicht mit einseitiger Kontrolle seitens der Unternehmen verringern, sondern erfordert den langfristigen Aufbau vertrauensbasierter Beziehungen in der tieferen Lieferkette.

Einheitliche Standards und Instrumente können helfen, Akteure in der tieferen Lieferkette zu motivieren, Risiken gemeinsam mit Geschäftspartnern zu adressieren und auf Missstände aufmerksam zu machen.  Gleichwohl fehlten bislang einheitliche Standards, an denen Unternehmen sich orientieren können. Im Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM) sahen die Teilnehmenden ein geeignetes Tool, das produzierende Unternehmen anhand von neun sozialen Kategorien unterstützt, die Arbeitsbedingungen in ihrem Betrieb zu analysieren und zu verbessern.

An Ende des Workshops stand dieses Fazit: Derzeit gibt es keine umfassenden Standards oder Empfehlungen, um sozialen und ökologischen Risiken in der gesamten Lieferkette systematisch anzugehen. Für Marken bedeutet dies, dass sie viel Zeit und Mühe aufwenden müssen, um mit ihren mit ihren Tier-2-Lieferanten in Kontakt zu treten und vertrauensvolle Beziehungen aufzubauen, um die Arbeitsbedingungen zu verbessern.

Risikobasierter Ansatz im Textilbündnis

Eine individuelle Risikoanalyse anhand von elf sozialen, ökologischen und Korruptions-Risiken (Sector Risks) ist daher Grundlage der Berichterstattung im Textilbündnis (Review-Prozess). Basierend auf den Ergebnissen der Risikoanalyse und Risiko-Priorisierung leiten die Unternehmen Ziele und Maßnahmen ab, um potenziellen Risiken vorzubeugen und tatsächliche negative Auswirkungen abzumildern.

Weitere Infos zum Review-Prozess: Der Review-Prozess – Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien (textilbuendnis.com)

 

,

Xhaferi-Salihu: Climate transition as risk and opportunity

Menu
News
18.08.2022

Xhaferi-Salihu: Climate transition as risk and opportunity

Guest commentary by Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu

Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu leads the work at the United Nations on the engagement of various industries for climate protection. She also played a leading role in the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. At the Textile Partnership working meeting in May 2022 , she participated as one of six experts in the panel discussion “Mitigating climate risks in the textile and garment industry: How to achieve the 2030 goals of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action“.  

Below you can read excerpts from her guest article in the Textile Partnership Annual Report 2021. The full article can be found in the online Annual Report 2021.

More and more actors in the textile and fashion industry are becoming active

Over the last three years, it became apparent that many organisations in the textile sector were intensifying their climate protection efforts. More and more companies focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy and low-carbon logistics. Others have set targets for low-carbon materials and are focusing on circular economy and regenerative agriculture. 

Xhaferi-Salihu observes many innovations, but also points out that these have not yet taken place on a large scale and that the efforts of individual actors are not sufficient to achieve the necessary substantial changes.

Climate change is not a question of business competition and can only be tackled together

These changes required great leaps in energy efficiency, renewable power generation and the development of cutting-edge technologies. Xhaferi-Salihu points out that more and more solutions are emerging and companies should consider all available tools and use those that are best suited for them.

What is needed is an "inclusive multilateralism". By this, the expert means mutually reinforcing intersections between all actors involved. She sees this as perhaps the only chance to advance ambitions that will lead to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs:

"This sector can do so much to not only take direct climate action but influence the action of others. The Paris Agreement shows that we, as a people, as humanity, should and can work together towards positive change. But we must all work together to make it happen – in all parts of society and in all parts of the world for the benefit of all people for generations to come."

The benefits outweigh the costs in the long run

Climate protection and adaptation are associated with considerable costs. In the long run, however, these expenses pay off. This insight is also gaining ground in the financial world - in favour of companies that have a plan for low-carbon and resilient development. Xhaferi-Salihu's urgent appeal: the fashion industry must seize this opportunity.

You can find the whole article in the online Annual Report 2021.

,

Kreislauffähige Produktklone: Start der 2. Phase

Menu
News
15.08.2022

Recyclable product clones: Start of the 2nd project phase

Now that the first phase has been successfully completed, the aim is to include further product categories.

In 2021, the Recycling Working Group of the Expert Group on the Circular Economy launched the project "Recyclable Product Clones" . The aim is to develop more sustainable and recyclable updates of products, to counter conventional linear designs with alternative approaches and to develop innovative solutions for recyclable products.

Product clones refer to the reproduction of an object that is made from recycled raw materials and meets the criteria of longevity, recyclability and circularity. Thus, the product clone is not a copy, but an improvement of the original. The style and basic functions of the original are retained. This process reduces the ecological footprint of the product as much as possible.

In cooperation with the Faculty of Textile and Clothing Technology (FTB) at Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, nine Partnership companies had ten of their products, including outdoor trousers, a wedding dress and socks, analysed in the first phase of the project with regard to criteria that are crucial for a sustainable circular economy: Circularity, longevity, purity of type and recyclability.

The follow-up phase of the project is based on the same foundation: identify levers for adjustment, alternative solutions and new concepts. In phase 2, design constructions are now being drafted for further product categories in order to derive product-specific recommendations for companies. Thus, companies will receive specific guidelines on how they can improve their products in terms of a sustainable circular economy. Five Partnership companies are participating and have some of their jackets analysed. The results are to be presented in spring 2023.

These members are participating:
,

"Complaints are not the end of the world, but important"

Menu
News
28.07.2022

"Complaints are not the end of the world, but important"

How can complaints mechanisms be made more effective and easier to access for workers? This question was discussed by around 30 Partnership members at a workshop.

Access to complaints mechanisms, redress and legal support are important components of corporate due diligence. Workers in the textile industry need channels or points of contact to raise awareness of workplace grievances and receive support and redress.

Awareness of rights and trust in complaints mechanisms

Arbeiter*innen müssen ihre Rechte kennen und wissen, wie und wo sie Missstände melden können. Dafür haben sich unter anderem niedrigschwellige Apps bewährt. Auch Trainings helfen, Beschäftigten in Produktionsstätten für ihre Rechte zu sensibilisieren und ihnen die Thematik näher zu bringen.

Complaint structures exist both within factories and across factories or even countries. If they function well, i.e. are accessible to those potentially affected, this leads to more complaints. The Partnership members at the workshop see this as a positive sign: "Complaints are not the end of the world, they are important."

All actors in the textile supply chain, such as suppliers and business partners, should therefore see reporting of workplace grievances as a productive and necessary element for transparent dialogue and a more sustainable textile industry. It is crucial that those potentially affected have confidence in the mechanisms and do not have to fear negative consequences.

Tackling challenges together

Partnership members also discussed challenges: Complaints mechanisms often cover social issues, but environmental issues too little or not at all. Furthermore, complaints mechanisms are not available in all countries from which alliance companies buy. Furthermore, there is a lack of approaches for the deeper supply chain.

Participants also noted that if there are too many different mechanisms, approaches and requirements, it quickly becomes confusing for all involved. Partnership members therefore advocated harmonising complementary or fragmented complaints systems where possible and appropriate. Tried and tested mechanisms should be promoted and access should be made available to even more workers.

How is the Textile Partnership working on effective complaints mechanisms?

The Textile Partnership has a strategy circle consisting of representatives of all stakeholder groups. On the one hand, the strategy group aims to pursue cooperation with other sector initiatives that have complaints mechanisms or are also working on this issue. On the other hand, the strategy group wants to strengthen local contact points for workers.

In addition, several members have joined the Partnership Initiative "Complaints Mechanisms" and launched cooperation projects, such as the module to open up the Fair Wear grievance mechanism to Partnership members or the strengthening internal complaints mechanisms in Pakistan. In addition, the three Partnership members Primark, C&A and Orsay support the local NGO MUDEM, which offers a contact point for Syrian refugees in the Turkish textile industry through the Worker Support Centre (Details of the MUDEM-Project).

The workshop was part of this year's Textiles Partnership Working Meeting on 17 and 18 May in Berlin. The unconference format offered Partnership members the opportunity to propose their own topics and questions that they would like to work on together.  

,

Workshop: Using data to achieve more transparency in supply chains