Steltman Jewellers has become party to the Dutch Responsible Gold Agreement. With two exclusive shops in The Hague, Steltman is one of the Netherlands’ oldest and best known jewellers, with its own studio and a clientele that includes royalty. It is the latest party to join the Dutch Responsible Gold Agreement.
Esprit has signed the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textiles. Esprit is an international fashion brand with a presence in 40 countries. In the Netherlands Esprit has about 50 stores.
What steps were taken after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh in 2013? Jef Wintermans, coordinator of the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile, talked about the Agreement during a meeting on 12 April organised by the Asser Institute.
At the event ‘Putting due diligence into practice’, all signatories to the agreement received more information and tools to take their due diligence to a next level. About 100 participants from signatory companies, ngo’s, labour unions and Dutch government participated in the event, which mostly contained workshops on due diligence in practice.
The participants in the Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile are continuously investigating their production chain. Last year, all production locations, i.e. the factories where clothing is actually made, were mapped out. Now, in the second year, the materials used are being listed. The aim: to identify and prevent possible risks in production countries.
In Bangladesh, training sessions were held in December and February for local clothing manufacturers. These sessions involved factories supplying to companies participating in the Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile.
The Dutch metallurgy industry has begun negotiations for an international responsible business conduct (IRBC) agreement in which private companies, industry associations, government and civil society organisations – including trade unions and NGOs – will put international guidelines on responsible business conduct into practice.
On 21 February, three trade associations, in collaboration with SOMO and the secretariat of the Agreement held a workshop for businesses on the clothing industry in Myanmar. The goal was to present a picture of the many considerations when producing responsibly in high-risk countries. One such high-risk country is Myanmar.
“It’s extremely complex, and a process that demands a lot of patience,” said Mariëtte Hamer. She is the chairperson of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER). The statement was made in the Lower House of Parliament on 22 February, in a discussion bringing members of Parliament up to speed on the IRBC (International Responsible Business Conduct) agreements. These agreements are intended to prevent abuses such as dangerous working conditions and adverse environmental impact in producing countries.