Improving Grievance Management Systems in the textile sector


Improving Grievance Management Systems in the textile sector

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (PST), along with its members Bierbaum-Proenen, CARE Deutschland, Deltex, deuter, ORTOVOX and Sympatex have kick-started a joint project to improve access to complaint mechanisms in China and Vietnam, including the deeper supply chain. 

Promoting access to grievance mechanisms and remedy is an elementary component of corporate due diligence and as such is also enshrined in the German Supply Chain Act. It makes an important contribution to equal opportunities and combating discrimination. To achieve this, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (PST) has declared grievance mechanisms and access to remedy one of four focus topics and promotes all types of complaint mechanisms, depending on the specific context. In this context, the Partnership Initiative “Digital Complaint Management and Capacity Building“ was recently launched. It will be implemented with selected textile and garment suppliers in Eastern China and Vietnam. The primary goals of the project are to enhance the understanding of workers and managers regarding international and national labor standards and to identify and mitigate risks through effective (digital) grievance mechanisms.


Trainings for workers in China and Vietnam

Currently, preparations for the start of the activities in China and Vietnam are ongoing. As part of the initiative, suppliers will receive (digital) training for both workers and managers covering essential topics such as Occupational Health & Safety, Wages and Hours, Effective Worker-Management Communication and Grievances.

In China, suppliers will be able to monitor training completion rates and knowledge progression via a platform provided by project partner Quizrr. The Swedish EdTech company uses digital training solutions to educate employees in global supply chains on issues such as employment rights or workplace safety.

In Vietnam, the training program will be implemented in cooperation with the local non-profit organization Center for Development and Integration (CDI) at production partners from the deeper supply chain (Tier 2). CDI specializes in promoting labor rights in the textile industry with a particular focus on vulnerable groups. The trainings will take place as on-site training sessions, individually targeted to the specific needs of each factory.

"Empowering workers and ensuring access to grievance mechanisms is a fundamental pillar of our promise to promote fairness and accountability in our supply chain. Our dedication lies in enabling a workplace culture where every voice matters, and concerns are handled safely and reliably whether expressed directly or anonymously. With this project we aim to extend this commitment to our indirect production partners. This is an important step in mitigating risks in our deeper supply chain, and in strengthening the foundations of the partnerships with our production partners by enhancing collaboration and trust.

Collaborating with ORTOVOX, CARE, atlat GmbH, and CDI as a local partner, we aim to build robust structures for sustainable solutions. We are proud to have these partners at our side who support us with their expertise and network and continuously generate new and valuable impulses." Natalie Birke, deuter Sport GmbH

Establishing digital feedback mechanisms

Another activity within the project is the establishment of a comprehensive multi-channel digital worker feedback mechanism with suppliers, led by project partner Ulula in China, a human rights technology and analytics company, and in Vietnam the project partner atlat GmbH, offering low-threshold grievance channels for workers and a remediation and reporting platform. These mechanisms will complement the existing grievance system within factories, fostering increased trust, engagement, and satisfaction among workers, while simultaneously strengthening workplace relationships and minimizing social responsibility risks.

„Effective grievance mechanisms are an important precondition if we want to improve the working conditions in the textile sector. By introducing an external, effective grievance mechanism and sensitizing workers for their rights, we want to fight discriminatory structures and enable workers to claim compliance with labor standards.”, says Verena Ordemann, Sustainability Manager at Sympatex.


This project is part of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In China the project consortium of Bierbaum-Proenen, Deltex, Sympatex and GIZ will implement the project through the service providers Ulula and Quizrr. In Vietnam the project consortium of deuter, ORTOVOX, CARE Deutschland and GIZ will implement the project through the service providers atlat and local NGO CDI.