Poor working conditions in the clothing industry have attracted a lot of attention Consequently: The sector is seen in a negative light Various initiatives have been started up So there is a momentum...
Initiatives at international level Accord on Fire and Building Safety Bangladesh Multi-stakeholder approach Binding, valid for 5 years 190 brands are members, 6 Belgian brands 3 pillars: Independent inspections with public reports Renovations Involvement of employees Employers' federation in Bangladesh (BGMEA) now sees the advantages of the accord: factories that are inspected are seeing the number of orders increase.
Initiatives at international level Following the Bangladesh Accord: extension of the Freedom of Association Protocol in Indonesia momentum for negotiations on a wage agreement in Cambodia: Global unions want a structural solution Letter from 8 clothing companies to employers' federation: willingness to incorporate higher minimum wages in FOB price
OECD OECD ministerial conference in June 2014: ministers from 7 OECD countries call on international clothing companies to contribute to the compensation fund for victims of Rana Plaza 2015: The OECD wants to start up a process with small and medium-sized companies in the textiles sector on the implementation of OECD guidelines
European Commission EU Guideline on non-financial reporting April 2014: Disclosure of information on environmental and social indicators Listed companies with over 500 employees (around 6 000 companies in the EU) EU flagship initiative on responsible management of the supply chain in the garment sector: Raising awareness in companies Improving communication regarding relevant European actions Multi-stakeholder dialogue Better communication between all relevant actors Promoting effective implementation of international guidelines
Belgian level At Minister Peeters' request, the NCP (National Contact Point) is discussing the compensation fund for Rana Plaza victims Putting together National Action Plans for companies and human rights: implementation of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights State’s duty to protect Corporate social responsibility Access to remedy
UN Guiding Principles What do existing human rights instruments mean for countries and companies and how to reduce the gap between law and practice Focus: tackle the negative impact on human rights related to business activities Application: Anywhere that this impact occurs and independently of the size of the company (so not limited to multinationals)
Corporate social responsibility Companies must prevent human rights violations and remedy violations caused by Their own activities The activities of all partners in their supply chain Via: A policy statement Identifying a “due diligence” process in order to identify, prevent and eliminate the impact on human rights Procedures to enable remedy in the event of violations
Corporate social responsibility Examine the effectiveness of the response to risks; Accountability: companies must communicate publicly about the measures that they are taking; Remedy: in the event of a negative impact, companies must provide or cooperate in the provision of remedy.
Putting together national action plans National Action Plans in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland NAP timing Belgium: Draft plan: December 2013 Stakeholder consultation (based on a questionnaire): April 2014 to August 2014 Renewed political commitment December 2014 Complete draft plan: January 2015 Stakeholder consultation March – April 2015 Ratification June 2015
Initiatives at European and Belgian level: position of Clean Clothes Campaign With respect to the process Multi-stakeholder involvement First assessment of the existing situation Monitoring implementation With respect to the content Legislative initiatives too, for example regarding compensation for victims: level playing field for all players. Adequate attention for the 3 pillars. Too little attention is given to 'Access to remedy’. A step towards new initiatives, not a summary of what is already happening.
Conclusion The eyes of the world are focused on the clothing sector Various initiatives have been set up Communication on policy and transparency are becoming increasingly important There are various options for companies to assume their responsibility: Membership of the Fair Wear Foundation Signing the Bangladesh Accord Fair Wear Foundation Wage Ladder (also for non-members): How do the wages paid in your company's supply chain compare to specific benchmarks in different countries?