In a stand intended to encourage businesses in textile and fashion industries to address environmental and CSR issues on a global level, the Dutch government has launched a coalition of companies, trade unions and NGOs, with whom it reportedly signed a five-year textile agreement on sustainable garment and textile production globally recently.
The textile deal, signed by the Dutch government with three trade associations, two trade unions and five social organizations, seems to be on the lines of a similar step taken by Germany recently, in which the government of the latter attempted to address environmental and corporate social responsibility issues worldwide.
The agreement addresses a host of issues like child labour, forced labour, a liveable wage, safe working conditions and animal welfare. Under this agreement, all stores are responsible for making sure that sustainable practices are carried out throughout the entire supply chain — from cotton to clothing. The entire supply chain must be free of these violations, and if the violations persist, the companies will have to intervene to mend the situation. Under this agreement, the Dutch clothing sector vows to fight against child labour poor working conditions and low wages in developing countries, such as Bangladesh.
This agreement comes a couple of years after a building reportedly collapsed at a garment factory Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, in which thousands of workers were killed.
Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen says, “I understand very well that it is quite complicated for people to be in the know (even though everyone wants to do the right thing while buying clothes). If a company such as C&A joins the covenant, then you know that you can buy clothes there with peace of mind.”
Such initiatives had been taken up earlier as well, but they were not all that effective. This agreement too will only succeed if 80 per cent of the clothing companies sign the agreement by 2020. Ploumen has been heralding this campaign from its inception.