For Fairness and Environmental Protection – commencing in 2017, the Members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles are Implementing Concrete Social and Ecological Improvements

For Fairness and Environmental Protection – commencing in 2017, the Members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles are Implementing Concrete Social and Ecological Improvements | © GIZ

(28 July 2017, Berlin) On the road to better working conditions, increased environmental protection and fairer living wages, the members of the Textiles Partnership have made a decisive step forward: 129 members handed in tangible action plans for 2017, amongst them 87 members from the German textile industry. This means that 50 percent of the German textile retail industry is verifiably committed to improving working conditions and to furthering environmental protection. Progress is checked by external experts on a yearly basis.

For 2017, Partnership members have resolved to implement more than 1.500 measures which – in the frame of the Partnership’s goals – will lead to concrete improvements. The measures relate to topics such as living wages, the fight against child labor, avoidance of harmful chemicals or the sustainable water usage in cotton cultivation.

“129 binding action plans for more environmental protection and social justice – with this, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is following a new path,” announced the Steering Committee of the Partnership yesterday.

“All members who are part of this success know how challenging the work in the past weeks and months was. The result at hand shows: The Textiles Partnership produces very tangible improvements in the textile supply chain,” stresses the moderator of the Steering Committee, Dr. Bernhard Felmberg from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Partnership is subject to the principle of binding procedural obligations: joining the Partnership is voluntary – handing in action plans is mandatory. Since the end of 2016 about 40 members have left the Partnership for this reason, or they have been expelled for failure to hand in an action plan.

At the moment, the Partnership has 148 members: this figure also includes advisory members, who do not have to provide measure plans, as well as new members, who are obliged to generate action plans only in the coming year. Individual measures are oriented alongside key questions in the areas of “Chemicals and Environmental Management”, “Social Standards and Living Wages” as well as “Sustainable Natural Fibres”. The key questions have been jointly devised by the different actor groups throughout the last year. The verbalization and implementation of measures in all three areas is mandatory for members.

More than 80 percent of the members have fulfilled these requirements straightaway. Roughly 20 percent of the delivered action plans are not meeting requirements to the full extent – for example, because specific business models cannot be depicted fully in the existing classification. However, these also include action plans of members who are very progressive in some areas of sustainability, so that the requirement to verbalize ambitious goals cannot be fulfilled. For the director of the Partnership Secretariat, Dr. Jürgen Janssen, this points to expected needs for revision: “The requirements that have been jointly elaborated by the different actor groups have been tested for their practicability for the first time in 2017. Thus, the Textiles Partnership is a learning system. On behalf of the Steering Committee the Specialist Working Groups have already started with the further development of the requirements.”

The progress in implementing the goals is monitored yearly by external experts. “By doing this, members of the Textiles Partnership create a snow ball effect: every year the goals become more ambitious and every year members implement a variety of improvements along the entire amplitude of the supply chain”, explains Jürgen Janssen.

Starting from 2018 the publication of action plans is mandatory. This year, already more than 30 members have consented to voluntary disclosure. From next week on, the publications will be made available on the newly designed website of the Partnership at



Partnership for Sustainable Textiles
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The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles:

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is a multi-actor partnership made up of companies, unions, non-governmental organizations, and standards organizations, as well as the Federal Government. The actors have united in 2014 with the aim to jointly establish improvements alongside the entire textile supply chain. In order to achieve this, they agreed upon ambitious social and ecological goals. The actors are pursuing these targets practically by the means of individual measures by members and joint Partnership initiatives in the production countries.