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Industry Talk

World’s leading apparel brands join forces to transform global labour conditions

The project aims to achieve industry-wide, standardised methodology for social and labour performance assessment in apparel and footwear supply chains.

22nd October 2015

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Brussels/London

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

The project aims to achieve industry-wide, standardised methodology for social and labour performance assessment in apparel and footwear supply chains.Leading industry brands, including Nike, H&M, and adidas, as well as retailers, industry groups and civil society, have launched Social and Labour Convergence Project, an initiative which aims to improve working conditions in apparel manufacturing across the world.

The project seeks to achieve real, sustainable change through the collective development of an industry-wide, standardised methodology for social and labour performance assessment in apparel and footwear supply chains.

Through this, the industry believes that it will be able to significantly reduce the amount of money that it spends on duplicated auditing and invest the money saved in improving social welfare for millions of people employed in apparel manufacturing around the world.

Collaborative effort

This collaborative effort is being facilitated by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). Signatories to the public statement include Nike, H&M, VFc-Timberland, Levi Strauss & Co., PVH, Target, Columbia Sportswear and adidas, standard holding organisation WRAP, the non‐profit supply  chain improvement experts SEDEX, NGO Solidaridad, auditing firms Bureau Veritas and SGS, the International Apparel Federation and many others stakeholders at all levels in the value chain.

“The industry, having heard the call from so many different stakeholders is convinced that the time has come to create greater alignment within the industry,” said Baptiste Carriere-Pradal, Vice-President Europe of SAC.

“We want to check less and act more: This initiative will accelerate a race to the top in social impacts within apparel and footwear manufacturing countries by shifting resources away from redundant and misaligned assessments to performance improvement and enhanced transparency. Convergence is the key to successfully increase transparency and to improve working conditions in global supply chains.”

Sustainability challenges

The initiative, which follows the implementation of a successful framework on environment by the SAC, seeks to provide an answer to calls from the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and a number of European countries for a standardised, global approach.

“H&M strongly believes that the sustainability challenges we are facing in the textile supply chain requires joint efforts since all parties have a shared responsibility and have a stake in it. This was one of the key reasons H&M joined SAC as a founding member in 2010,” commented Tobias Fischer Sustainability Manager H&M.

“When it comes to the social convergence group, specifically, we acknowledge the challenge to agree on a common standard. However, the industry has changed, the experiences from different initiatives (e.g. Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals, The Accord and Alliance in Bangladesh) show that the industry has taken significant steps forward and are willing to find joint solutions for a common good. H&M is therefore ready to support this project for a common social assessment in the apparel supply chain.”

www.apparelcoalition.org

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