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What should transparency in the garment industry look like? On 8 November, FWF and 40 industry stakeholders discussed these topics during FWF’s annual International Stakeholder Meeting in Amsterdam. The key takeaway: the need for greater collaboration.
This year’s topic was Transparency. The day was spent exploring the current state of the garment industry, and discussing how more transparency could be helpful in ensuring better conditions across all levels of this complex industry. Various organisations, including the Bangladesh Accord, ILO Better Work and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textiles, shared their vision on how a more transparent industry could lead to more effective remediation of issues and better compliance.
Participants examined specific cases that are often seen in the industry, such as how to best remediate a complaint from a worker, and discussed how more transparency can help in those situations, and who needs to collaborate in order to make it effective. Industry experts, such as Anna Burger of Cornell University’s New Conversation Programme and Doug Miller, Emeritus Professor of Worker Rights in Fashion at the University of Northumbria, led participants to think about what next steps are required, and what role each actor can play to create systemic change.
Finally, Jos Huber from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared the role the government can take to support and encourage a more transparent industry. She challenged the organisations present to work together to take steps forward.
The benefit of a more transparent industry was agreed upon by all, with further discussion needed on what information should be shared and by whom, to have the most impact. The key takeaway from the day was the need for greater collaboration between actors at all levels of the supply chain – brands, suppliers, multi-stakeholder initiatives, civil society and trade unions. New systems are needed to accurately and effectively share information, and a commitment by all is required.