Improving equity for women in Türkiye's garment sector

In 2022, the RVO funded Fair Wear to conduct research on transforming the business practices of three Fair Wear member brands – King Louie, Schijvens and Kuyichi – and 25 of their Turkish suppliers. 

The aim of the project is to identify, analyse, and test specific policies and actions that garment brands and suppliers can implement to improve their human rights due diligence (HRDD) and responsible business conduct around two focus areas:  

  1. payment of a living wage; and, 
  2. gender equality, with a focus on violence and harassment.  

These two risk areas will be analysed in terms of how they are impacted by the business practices of brands based in the Netherlands—with a deep-dive into the three partner brands—as well as the business practices of Turkish factories. This will enable partner brands to work with factories to identify areas for change at the factory level as well as in the brands’ own operational processes. Innovative risk-based solutions can then be developed and implemented in both the brand’s HRDD processes and responsible business conduct and at factory-level. Opportunities for other brands to learn and replicate these risk-based solutions will thus be created. In doing so, the project directly feeds into our overall strategy of building a common understanding of what impactful HRDD entails and a harmonisation of tools across the garment industry. 

The project is split into two parts: Project A and Project B. 

Project A 

In Project A, Türkiye’s garment sector, and more specifically, the role of garment brands’ CSR, will be analysed from a responsible business perspective in alignment with the OECD guidelines. Research will be done among factory workers and suppliers in Türkiye as well as in the Netherlands with brands buying from Turkish suppliers. This will include extensive stakeholder mapping and context analysis of gender equality and violence and harassment in the workplace. Recommendations for actions will be made based on the findings.  

Project B 

In Project B, Fair Wear and the three partner brands will implement the recommendations developed in Project A. Depending on the findings, Project B activities will range from capacity building of local organisations to trainings with suppliers and brands, and more. To expand the project’s impact, in Project B, the partner brands will share their acquired knowledge and tools with brands sourcing in Türkiye, including 45 Fair Wear member brands and member brands of other MSIs. The research will serve to provide in-depth data on the impact of brands’ purchasing practices on payment of a living wage and incidences of violence and harassment in garment factories. The aim is that the best practices and tools identified in Project A and developed by the partner brands in Project B are disseminated and implemented by additional brands and their suppliers. 

If you are interested to learn more about the project, we will be publishing three reports in the coming months. The first will be published in May and will be developed by an Academic institution in Türkiye. The second two will be published in June and will be written from the perspective of two European garment brands.