Between the cotton farm where Fairtrade certified cotton is cultivated and the sewing factory where Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) does most of its work, there are many stages: ginning (removing the seeds from raw cotton), spinning, knitting/weaving, dyeing/finishing among them.
Fairtrade International (FLO) is currently working on a programme to determine the best way for improving social compliance in the textile supply chains of Fairtrade certified cotton.
As part of that programme, Fairtrade International, Max Havelaar Netherlands/Switzerland and FWF together designed a pilot to explore how an independent verification approach can be applied to other stages of the textile chain (ginning, spinning, knitting/weaving, dyeing, printing etc.). FWF sees participation in this pilot as an opportunity to test its verification approach and methodology in all stages of garment production.
Three companies affiliated with FWF participate in this pilot: Switcher (Switzerland), Nudie Jeans (Sweden) and Charlie + Mary (Netherlands). These companies license Fairtrade certified cotton and look to FWF to assess working conditions in the supply chains.
Between April and June 2011, FWF carried out several activities, including:
- social audits in India at factories and workshops for ginning, spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing, and printing;
- implementation of local FWF hotlines, allowing workers and other stakeholders to file complaints regarding working conditions;
- performance checks at Switcher, Nudie Jeans and Charlie+Mary to assess how these companies are supporting the improvements in working conditions in factories through their business practices.
As always when factories are audited, Switcher, Nudie Jeans and Charlie+Mary are required to follow up with the factories on the audit reports and respond to any complaints that arise.
Fairtrade International will present the findings from this pilot program along with the other pilots at a multi-stakeholder meeting on 17 and 18 October in Utrecht.
For more information, please see the project outline on this website.