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Xhaferi-Salihu: Climate transition as risk and opportunity

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.

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

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.  

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Sustainable textile industry until 2050: GFA calls on the industry and points out solutions

News
13.07.2022

Sustainable textile industry until 2050: GFA calls on the industry and points out solutions

Social and environmental sustainability are imperative - the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) emphasises this in their recently published GFA Monitor, offering practical guidance, information, and solutions.

A more sustainable textile industry by 2050 and the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement are the vision of the GFA. Companies in the textile industry have a special responsibility in this regard. Currently, with the plethora of existing information on the topic of sustainability, it can be a great challenge for individual textile companies to find individually suitable measures.

That's where the GFA Monitor comes in and aims to provide guidance. It includes clear measures and goals, highlights best practices, and addresses data and solutions for greater sustainability. In addition, the GFA Monitor is intended to serve as an annual assessment of progress, thus promoting self-responsibility and self-reflection.

Five priorities for sustainability

The monitor builds on the 2018 Fashion CEO Agenda and is also guided by five "Sustainability Priorities."

  • Respectful and Secure Work Environments
  • Better Wage Systems
  • Resource Stewardship
  • Smart Materials Choices
  • Circular systems

GFA says it hopes the Monitor will "mobilise and inspire fashion leaders to make bold commitments and take decisive action on the five priorities to build a better future for their brands, their value chain partners, garment workers, and the planet."

Experts from more than 30 organisations worked together to develop the GFA Monitor. They include the Textile Partnership's cooperation partners Textile Exchange, ACT, Fair Wear Foundation and ZDHC, as well as Partnership member WWF, apparel impact institute, Ellen Macarthur Foundation, Social & Labour Convergence Program, BSR, Fair Labor and The Industry We Want.

The GFA Monitor is available on the Global Fashion Agenda website: https://globalfashionagenda.org/resource/the-gfa-monitor/

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The "perfect" solution for circular economy?

News
07.07.2022

The "perfect" solution for circular economy?

How do companies approach circular economy? What are the biggest challenges? In a workshop at the Textiles Partnership Working Meeting, around 30 members exchanged views on this topic.

The topic of circular economy is booming – also in the Textiles Partnership. Since 2020 an expert group is working on the topic and in March 2021 we started a project on circular product clones. In the workshop on 18 May, several Partnership companies reported that they have already become active in the field of circular economy. They have conducted training courses and built working groups within their companies.

In all of this,careful coordination and Koordination und vor allem eine abteilungsübergreifende Kommunikation within the company is important: "We need joint projects and a first step would be to take different players and teams into companies that otherwise do not communicate with each other in order to realize projects." Decision makers should be involved earlier and more closely in the processes. 

Multiple approaches to solutions: Recycling, re-use and take-back systems

Several participants reaffirmed that great importance was attached to the longevity and high quality of the materials in order to enable, for example, "textile to textile" recycling and circular business models.  

The workshop also showed that many companies are already experimenting with pilot projects, but that industry-wide solutions have so far been lacking. Nevertheless, the members agreed that one should not concentrate too much on the search for the perfect solution, but that one should approach various solutions step by step. Interim solutions could be to use more recycled materials, to lend or rent clothes to customers. It is also possible to have our own take-back system that creates incentives for customers to return worn clothes instead of throwing them away. 

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

Common Framework for Responsible Purchasing Practices

News
10.01.2022

Common Framework for Responsible Purchasing Practices

To achieve better purchasing practices, a group of different multi-stakeholder initiatives are developing a Common Framework for Responsible Purchasing Practices. In addition to the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, Ethical Trading Initiative, Ethical Trade Norway and Fair Wear Foundation are also involved. The framework is intended to address brands and retailers as well as multi-stakeholder initiatives and serve as a guide to improving purchasing practices.

At its core, it is about defining responsible purchasing practices and enabling effective and cooperative partnership between purchasing companies and suppliers. Further objectives are:

  • improve working conditions in supply chains
  • pay living wages
  • strengthen resilience in the supply chain.

The document is structured based on five principles, which are backed up with concrete recommendations for action:

The framework draws on the recommendations of the most recent Whitepaper of the Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative (STTI), which in turn is led by the STAR Network (Sustainable Textile of the Asian Region) and the International Apparel Federation (IAF) with the support of GIZ FABRIC. Additionally, ACT (Action Collaboration Transformation), Better Work, Better Buying Institute and amfori have been consulted.

Further information

In the first quarter of 2022, a "Learning and Implementation Community" was to pilot the framework. Experts, companies and producers accompanied the implementation and exchanged views on the 5 principles of the framework.

A session at the virtual OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector on 24 and 25 February discussed the Framework and its contribution to more balanced relationships between buying companies and suppliers, its practical applicability and the next steps for implementation.