Annual Topic 2021: Responsible Purchasing Practices


Annual Topic 2021: Responsible Purchasing Practices

In 2021, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles makes responsible purchasing practices its annual topic. This was decided by the Steering Committee at its meeting at the end of January.

Effective cooperation between purchasing companies (brands and retailers) and suppliers is crucial to protect the rights of workers in the supply chain. The COVID-19 crisis has once again made this particularly evident. With the annual topic, the Textiles Partnership wants to contribute to an sector-wide improvement of purchasing practices and to create space for progress towards good working conditions and living wages; according to the OECD guidance for the garment sector.

Purchasing practices describe all the principles and processes by which brands and retailers interact and do business with the manufacturers who supply their products. Responsible purchasing practices enable suppliers to plan their production and working hours effectively and to pay workers fairly. At the same time, they enable suppliers to invest in the overall improvement of working conditions. In this way, they strengthen resilience in the supply chain.

Short video on purchasing practices by the initiative ACT (stragic cooperation partner of the PST).

Various activities and support services are planned throughout the course of the year:
  • During the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector, the Textiles Partnership organized a session with a panel discussion on responsible purchasing practices on February 3rd.
  • With a self-assessment and supplier survey, member companies can evaluate their purchasing practices in order to develop and implement improvement measures. Experts support the members with online training and a training video.
  • In addition, the topic will be addressed at the annual Members' Meeting in April and the Working Meeting in the fall.
  • Furthermore, the Textiles Partnership is working together with other multi-stakeholder initiatives on a common framework on purchasing practices. These include the Ethical Trading Initiative, ACT and the Fair Wear Foundation.
Background: The topic of purchasing practices in the Textiles Partnership

Part of the Partnership Initiative on Living Wages is the basic module Purchasing Practices . Twelve Partnership companies joined together in a Peer Learning Group (PLG) in 2019 to analyze their purchasing practices using the Purchasing Practices Self-Assessment Tool (PPSA). Based on this analysis, the PLG companies develop action plans to improve their purchasing practices. Many Partnership companies have already analyzed their purchasing practices using the tool. A first evaluation of the self-assessment of companies of the Textiles Partnership and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garment and Textiles can be found here. In the Report to the 6th Members' Meeting you will find more information on the activities of the Partnership Initiative.

To mitigate negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the short term, the Textiles Partnership published guidelinesin April 2020, which contain recommendations for dealing with orders as well as health risks and the risk of infection in production facilities. Some members used the document to make a public commitment to act responsibly.