Fair Wear and SLCP agree shared vision to improve working conditions

In a step toward increased alignment and collaboration, Fair Wear Foundation and the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP) have confirmed their shared vision and developed a list of joint activities in pursuit of improved working conditions in supply chains. Fair Wear became a signatory to SLCP in 2021 to show its support for enhanced cooperation between brands and reducing the burden on manufacturers in the gathering and verification of social and labour data to support human rights due diligence. This latest development is the result of further constructive dialogue and a desire to leverage the synergies between the two organisations.

As part of their joint vision, SLCP and Fair Wear are aligned on the importance of the following topics:

  • The central role of OECD Due diligence guidance on human rights due diligence and the need for a smart mix approach to implementation in (garment) supply chains. [Read: Fair Wear position paper and SLCP position paper]
  • The relevance of credible and actionable social and labour data that can be used to hold brands accountable and inform their implementation of human rights due diligence.
  • A data-driven approach to inform factory remediation, brands improving purchasing practices, and policy setting.
  • A shift away from audits to focus more on the role of brands to identify risks, prevent and mitigate possible and/or actual harm, and contribute to the remediation of labour rights violations.
  • The need for better insights into industry-wide conditions and risks to drive the most effective solutions.
  • Convergence on assessments, sharing of data, and collaboration between partners in the industry, to avoid duplications and focus resources on improvement programs.

The long-term goal of Fair Wear and SLCP’s collaboration is for SLCP’s verified data to be used as a source for Fair Wear’s strategy and instruments (e.g. risk assessments and remediation activities). In addition, brands (both Fair Wear members and beyond) should be able to use SLCP’s high quality verified data as part of their human rights due diligence approach. To work towards this long-term goal, SLCP and Fair Wear have defined short and mid-term objectives.

  • As a first step, Fair Wear will work with a small number of brand members to develop and pilot a process to establish improvement plans based on the SLCP data set.
  • SLCP and Fair Wear will use the lessons learned from the pilot to explore alignment between SLCP verified assessments and Fair Wear audits.
  • SLCP and Fair Wear will report back to stakeholders on the outcomes of these initial activities by the end of 2022.

Janet Mensink, Executive Director, SLCP, said: “We are excited to be taking the collaboration between SLCP and Fair Wear Foundation to the next level. Our organizations have a shared vision and complementary expertise in improving labour conditions: Fair Wear Foundation on brand performance, risk assessments and remediation; and SLCP on the Converged Assessment Framework and the provision of high-quality social and labour data. Together, we can drive the systemic change necessary to improve working conditions in global supply chains.”

Margreet Vrieling, Associate Director, Fair Wear: “Fair Wear is very much looking forward to this next phase of our collaboration with SLCP. Both organisations strive to improve working conditions in global supply chains. These next steps in this collaboration open the door for brands to use data from SLCP in their risk- assessments and remediation plans. A wide array of quality information is a cornerstone of good due diligence processes, crucial in achieving systemic change and impact for workers .”