Textile sector gives greater insight into production chain
The Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT) has reported a substantially larger number of production sites. The new production site list shows the 4,267 sites where participating companies produced goods in the past year. Publication of the new production site list coincides with the second anniversary of the signing of the Agreement.
Since 2017, participating companies have provided insight into their production sites and the latest aggregated list can be found on the Agreement’s website. The sharp rise in the number of production sites is a result of more companies signing up to the Agreement, as well as companies gaining more insight into their supply chain and production sites. You can find all details about the production sites here. This is a positive step towards transparency, because if companies gain a better understanding of the value chain, they are in a better position to act on the risks identified. With this list, NGOs and trade unions can get to the bottom of the prevailing working conditions at production sites through their partner organisations and they can raise any occurring issues within the Agreement.
More companies are participating
Since the start of the Agreement in 2016, the number of participants has risen from 55 to 79 brands. This means that 42%-45% of the Dutch garment industry is a party to the Agreement. It is expected that the Agreement will achieve its objective of 50% market coverage in 2018. Participation in the Agreement is voluntary, but not free from obligations. Efforts by companies are assessed according to an established assessment framework.
Knowledge of materials used
The Agreement has, for the first time, systematically identified the materials companies use and the subsequent quantity of ‘sustainable’ materials. It is clear that cotton is by far the most frequently used material, of which 56% is conventional cotton and 44% more sustainable cotton. This knowledge makes it possible to monitor the sustainable credentials of the choices that companies will make in the years to come. Here you can find an overview of the most frequently used materials.
Identifying risks by company
From next year onwards, the participating companies will also publish individually what the greatest risks are in factories where they produce, together with their policy for dealing with these risks. They will do this on the basis of IRBC (International Responsible Business Conduct) risk management (i.e. due diligence). This provides information on risks in the areas of, for example, a living wage, child labour, environmental damage and animal welfare. Within the Agreement, companies also cooperate with NGO's, trade unions and government, with the shared goal of tackling risks and negative impacts. This is done, for example, by holding discussions with local authorities or considering collaboratively how problems in the value chain can be best addressed.
A long way to go
At the end of its second year, the Agreement can show with these results that it has made progress on what was agreed in 2016. Pierre Hupperts, independent chair:
Companies are making strides towards transparency in their value chains and the manner in which they deal with risks. Collaborative projects have also been launched, for example in the areas of freedom of association and the prevention of child labour. However, parties to the Agreement are also realistic: the Netherlands is a relatively small player in the world market and the problems are substantial.
Parties are therefore working on international upscaling initiatives, such as the German-Dutch cooperation launched at the beginning of 2018.