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The outdoor brands won the award for jointly remediating a complaint in China together with four non-FWF brands. The submission shows that collaboration drives change. The brands said that it’s important to have large brands on board to increase leverage. ‘We worked across big and small companies and across time zones and within a short period of time’ explained Haglöfs’ Eva Mullins on stage. ‘Let’s fight the fight together!’
The complaint involved unauthorised subcontracting up to ten different subcontractors, payment issues and excessive overtime. The brands shared that workers have already benefited from the joint approach. ‘Overtime has been reduced to the legal amounts, and everyone knows now how to read their pay slips’, said Mullins.
The Times they are a Changin’
Every year, during the FWF Annual Conference, an award is presented to the FWF member company which demonstrates an Inspirational Practice: something they’ve been doing to improve labour conditions that is newer, smarter, more effective and simply inspirational.
Over 200 people from around the globe attended the FWF Annual Conference on Tuesday. Representatives of FWF member brands, garment industry stakeholders, media and industry influencers came together at De Hallen Studio’s in Amsterdam.
This year’s conference theme was ‘The Times they are a Changin’, a clear call for action. FWF believes that it is time for a true revolution in the garment industry and change should start today.
Now is the moment
Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, opened the conference. She applauded FWF for taking leadership and commended the collective power in the room. She referred to Universal Children’ Day and FWF’s theme of the day. ‘We have failed the 150 million children that are currently working. We have a shared responsibility to fix this. Now is the moment.’
Founder of People Tree, Safia Minney, also referred in her keynote speech to FWF’s theme: ‘We are running out of time, we have to make a huge shift in the next 2-3 years’, she said. Safia gave examples of how People Tree builds the bridge between the supply chain and consumers, using celebrities and influencers, and telling the real story of the products they produce. She also touched on the need for governments to enforce laws to create a level playing field.
Real FAIR WEAR
The conference also featured a CEO panel. CEOs from within and outside the garment sector reflected on what is holding us back from creating real FAIR WEAR and shared their vision on a sustainable fair garment industry. ‘Consumers are hungry for information’ said CEO Tony Tonnaer of Kings of Indigo. ‘We need to tap into this to create awareness. And brands need to be completely transparent, even if you aren’t perfect, you need to be open about everything.’
Collaboration was not only a key feature of the winning pitch for the Inspiration Award. It was also extensively discussed during the CEO panel: ‘If you’re a small brand and only have 5% share of a factory’s production, you can’t achieve that much. So we need to work together with other brands to scale up our collective impact,’ said Christian Schneidermeier from German outdoor brand ORTOVOX.
Ortovox was also nominated for FWF’s Annual Award Show, one of the conference highlights. The German outdoor brand got nominated for breaking the six-day working week norm in Asia, giving the weekend back to their workers. They did this in close cooperation with a factory manager.
The other brand nominated was German outdoor brand Vaude for developing and implementing a consistent monitoring system throughout their whole supply chain.