Together for Change in the garment industry
Fair clothing worldwide through cooperation and social dialogue
What is STITCH?
Sustainable Textile Initiative: Together for Change (STITCH) is a partnership with a common vision: a global textile and garment industry that contributes to an equal and just society by respecting human rights in the world of work.
STITCH consists of 6 partners: two labour rights organisations -- CDI in Vietnam and Cividep in India; two Dutch unions -- CNV Internationaal and Mondiaal FNV; and two multi stakeholder initiatives -- Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in the UK and Fair Wear in The Netherlands.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided the financial support for the programme and is aligned as strategic partner for STITCH.
Towards a more equitable garment industry
We share the goal of an industry where garment workers, of which 75% are women, can exercise their right to freedom of association, and access safe, dignified and properly paid work.
STITCH envisages workplaces where workers feel free to speak out, unionise, and bargain collectively for better working conditions. STITCH will amplify workers’ voices, help achieve trade union and civil society objectives and drive global change by convening and aligning national and international supply chain stakeholders.
By strengthening unions, we can enhance workers’ influence in the value chain. By influencing brands – the most powerful players in the value chain – we can create space for workers to organise and secure a seat at the negotiation table. By improving brands’ purchasing practices, we can create potential for better working conditions and rewarding freedom of association at the supplier and factory level. By influencing market country governments and strengthening the international regulatory frameworks for human and workers’ rights, we can build an ecosystem that supports it all.
How does STITCH operate?
The global textile and garment industry is one of the world’s largest and most significant. With a vast and complex sphere of influence, the industry -- especially brands’ business practices and the extent of government regulation around them -- plays a key role in determining working and living conditions for people around the globe.
Our goal is to redefine the future of the industry: a production chain in which textile workers, mainly women, can shape their employment conditions; where successful collective bargaining happens at the factory, national and sectoral levels; and where gender equality, living wages, fair prices, and decent work become the standard for all. As the human and environmental imperatives to increase automation, reduce carbon footprints, and improve the quality of working conditions grow, STITCH will work across the garment value chain to enable this shift.
Between us, we have access to all the key value chain stakeholders and actors, from trade unions and labour rights organisations, to suppliers, employers’ associations, brands and local governments. Drawing from our partners’ demonstrated track record in creating better labour conditions, we will influence attitudes, levels of awareness, and behaviour to drive meaningful change for workers and the industry at large.
We collectively stand up for better working conditions and adherence to labour rights by:
- Capacitating suppliers to improve their social dialogue with workers and governments and sourcing dialogue with brands
- Working with local unions and labour rights organisations on collective bargaining to influence higher wages, gender issues and decent work
- Engaging with brands towards more responsible business, leveraging the crucial role they can play in making the industry both more ethical and sustainable
- Advocating for a legislative framework that creates higher levels of accountability on better working conditions and remuneration for companies sourcing in production countries
- Lobbying, campaigning, and convening to influence the regulatory framework (the ‘smart mix’) being developed at EU and national levels to include workers’ voices, freedom of association, a gender lens and purchasing practices as part of widely supported and implemented human rights due diligence by companies.
STITCH is active in garment-producing countries across Asia, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and plans to develop a regional approach for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
STITCH (Sustainable Textile Initiative: Together for Change) advocates for better working conditions and a greater say for garment workers in the production chain.