The aim of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is to bring about continuous improvement of social, ecological and economic sustainability along the entire textile chain.

This is to be achieved with the following four strategic elements:

  1. Joint definition of Partnership Standards and implementation requirements with deadlines for continuous improvement.
  2. Joint improvement of framework conditions in the producer countries and recommendations for action on policy and policy coherence in Germany and the EU.
  3. Transparent communication that makes it easy for consumers to identify sustainable textiles. Communication about the progress made by the Partnership and its members must also be transparent.
  4. A Partnership platform to review and support progress and the feasibility in implementation, share experience and learn from each other.

The guiding principles leading to achievement of the Partnership's goals are credibility, transparency and effectiveness. The focus is on tangible results. Local partners such as producers, trade unions and non-governmental organisations are to be strengthened, and synergies with existing initiatives are to be exploited. In its orientation towards results, the Partnership seeks further partners, including in the European and an international context.

The Partnership views the supply chain for textiles and clothing as an integral whole: from the production of raw materials through to disposal. The intention is that the members of the Partnership apply their expertise and capabilities in working groups or contribute specific measures relating to selected supply stages, depending on their own sectoral priorities and the objectives specific to their organisation.

The Partnership examines the environmental, social and economic challenges associated with sustainability. Based on the Partnership standards, it addresses different priority areas of action with a view to facilitating the coherent and effective implementation of the Partnership’s goals.

To elaborate the objectives for the ‘natural fibres’ and ‘social standards and living wages’ thematic areas, consolidation papers were drafted and approved by the Steering Committee in 2016. The Chemicals Working Group has also agreed to adopt the regulations of the Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) produced by the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) initiative.

Natural Fibres

The Natural Fibres Working Group analyses various process steps including natural fibre cultivation/animal welfare and fibre sourcing (including ginning). The members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles work together to implement the objectives set out in the Working Group’s consolidation paper. This document provides a summary of the Partnership’s goals and standards in this thematic area.

Social Standards and Living Wages

The members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles are committed to gradually implementing the social standards set out in the Social Standards and Living Wages Working Group’s consolidation paper. The implementation requirements are linked to deadlines that are reviewed regularly and, where necessary, adjusted.

Chemicals and Environmental Management

The Chemicals Working Group focuses on the gradual reduction of the use chemicals that are to be avoided in wet processes in the production of clothing and household textiles (without a special function). In doing so, it uses the textiles section of the current MRSL (Manufacturing Restricted Substances List) of the ZDHC initiative (version 1.1 from December 2015) as a reference (Partnership/ZDHC-MRSL).