Cooperating to tackle problems in the garment and textile sector

Based on the published list of production sites, a number of organisations have reported issues observed in production countries. NGOs, government and companies are now working together to tackle abuses like failure to pay a living wage or recognise trade union rights. This type of cooperation has not been possible before. It is only one of the results that the coalition united in the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile presents in its annual report.
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First annual report

The Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile is a unique coalition between NGOs, the Dutch government and Dutch businesses aimed at making the international garment and textile supply chain sustainable. This is the first annual report on the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile. The report focuses on the plans that the participating companies have submitted and on the products and projects that the parties have launched. Read the annual report here.

List of production sites works

The coalition published a list of the production sites of all participating companies in early July. The list, which covers all production sites used by the Dutch garment and textile sector, will be updated annually. Abuses that were reported included the failure to recognise trade union rights at sites in Turkey and Myanmar and to pay a living wage in Indonesia. See the list of production sites here.

Companies improve supply chain sustainability

The annual report presents figures from self-evaluations which companies submitted in the spring of 2017 and action plans which companies presented in the summer of 2017. In their plans, the participating companies report on how they are working to improve the sustainability of their supply chain. In the first year, 58 of the companies presented an action plan.

Number of participants increasing

The number of participating companies is increasing steadily. In December, sixty-five companies had signed the agreement. Together, they represent more than 70 garment labels. The goal for 2018 is to have more companies join so that their collective efforts to improve sustainability in the sector have a greater impact.

Pierre Hupperts, chairman of the Agreement: “By working together, we’ve seen that we really can change things. Now we just have to persevere. By getting more companies on board in the years ahead and scaling up our cooperation internationally, we’ll gain more influence and can really tackle abuses in the supply chain.”

Cooperation in practice

The parties are already cooperating closely on the issues addressed in the Agreement, such as living wage, child labour and animal welfare. Companies are participating actively in these areas and are getting the guidance required to tackle these issues in their own operations.

Agreement

The Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile is facilitated by the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) and represents the Dutch approach to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises promoting international responsible business conduct. The multistakeholder approach that typifies the Agreement is unique in the world. It has attracted the attention of Germany, France, Demark and other EU countries. The Netherlands is actively seeking to collaborate with initiatives elsewhere. If the Dutch approach to such agreements catches on in Europe, it will be easier for some 500 million consumers to purchase clothing that is responsibly produced making them a greater force for global change. For more information, visit www.internationalrbc.org.