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CNV supports broad coalition agreement on sustainable garment and textile production

CNV supports the agreement on international responsible business conduct in the garment and textile sector signed 9 March. A broad coalition of industry organisations, trade unions, civil-society organisations and the Dutch government combine forces in an effort to achieve practical improvements in and ensure the sustainability of the international garment and textile supply chain.

They have agreed to work together on the following issues in garment and textile production in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Turkey:

• protection from discrimination
• protection from child labour
• protection from forced labour
• meaningful dialogue with independent employee representatives
• achieving a living wage
• safe conditions and a healthier environment for employees
• reducing adverse environmental impact by saving on raw materials and creating a circular economy
• reducing the amount of water, energy and chemicals used; reducing chemical waste and waste water
• prevention of animal suffering

Cooperation on objectives hard to achieve individually

The parties see a wealth of opportunities to work together on objectives that are hard to achieve individually, such as

  • living wages ,
  • stronger trade unions and
  • reduction of excessively long working days.

Participating enterprises will be identifying the issues that affect their suppliers at all stages of the chain and will draw up an annual improvement plan with specific objectives for a period of three to five years. The quality and ambition of the improvement plans will be assessed.

The participating trade unions and civil-society organisations will support the joint improvement plans with their knowledge and expertise and will involve their local partners in the implementation process.

The Dutch government will try to reach agreements with governments in production countries about reinforcing their health and safety inspectorate. If local partners believe that their rights have been breached, they can take their case to a complaints committee, whose rulings will be binding

Next steps

The agreement has been drafted under the guidance of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER).
The creation of the text of the agreement is a major intermediate step in an intensive joint consultation process under the guidance of the SER.

The next steps in this process will be to secure funding of the agreement and have it signed – in June – by companies in the sector. The parties to the agreement will then also sign it.

Publication date 09 03 2016