A broad coalition of businesses and other organisations signed the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile. The aim is to promote safety and equality for workers and to prevent pollution and animal abuse in production countries. Most products in the Dutch garment and textile sector are produced outside the Netherlands and the European Union.

The Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile will remain in effect for a five-year period commencing from the date of its signature, 4 July 2016. The Project Secretariat is managed by the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER), which assists the agreement partners with their activities.

Production sites

Transparency is a critical factor when it comes to identifying risks and working together to make improvements. All the participants are committed to surveying their supply chains, starting with the actual production sites.

The aggregated list of production sites can be found on this website. The Secretariat manages the list per company. Third parties, for example NGOs, unions or the authorities, can contact the Secretariat about abuses observed at production sites and ask it to pass on their reports to the relevant garment and textile businesses.

Under the OECD Guidelines, businesses must investigate to what extent they could be or in fact are implicated in human rights, environmental or animal welfare violations. Such an investigation is known as ‘due diligence’. Under the terms of the agreement, an Assessment System has been developed to guide businesses through the due diligence process. The system is mandatory for businesses that have signed the agreement.

Clear targets

Next, the businesses draft plans to reduce risks in their supply chain and solve any problems that have been detected. The plans should set clear and viable targets. The businesses cooperate with other commercial parties within or outside the agreement, and with trade unions, NGOs and government on implementing these plans. They must report annually on their progress and also adjust their plans each year as they gain more insight and evidence.

In the second year – i.e. from July 2017 onwards – the participating businesses start implementing the plans they have drafted. Thereafter, they will be subject to an annual evaluation and adjustment. The agreement will thus be implemented in cycles. Every year, there will be more information available and the parties will have more experience, allowing them to refine their targets.