OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector

On 13-17 February 2023, the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector will bring together representatives from government, business, trade unions and civil society to address emerging risks and to share learnings on implementing labour, human rights, environmental and integrity due diligence in the sector across geographies. The event will be both online and offline, taking place in Paris, France.

As part of Fair Wear’s work to enhance industry alignment within the garment industry and to push for change, we will be part of two plenary sessions during the Forum, which starts on 16 February. We are also organising three side sessions in the run up to the event. Below is an overview of the events we are hosting, co-hosting, and playing a role in. Please join us and stay tuned for further announcements about Fair Wear’s involvement in this year’s OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector.

Side session onEnsuring local stakeholder- and worker-inclusive supply chain grievance mechanisms

Date and Time: 13 February 2023 | 10:00-12:00 CET

Registration: Please register via the Zoom link here.

Description: While many grievance mechanisms already make valuable contributions to accountability and remedy in the garment sector, more emphasis needs to be put on cooperation and meaningful engagement with stakeholders to ensure the effectiveness of such mechanisms. The first part of this session will discuss the opportunities and challenges for engaging with local stakeholders, mainly trade unions, in supply chain grievance mechanisms. The second interactive part will ask participants, including operators of grievance mechanisms, trade unions and other stakeholders, to discuss in break-out rooms how engagement and complementarity between international and local levels can be enhanced to support more inclusive and impactful supply chain grievance mechanisms.

The side-session is co-organised by CNV Internationaal (CNVI), the German Partnership for Sustainable Textile (PST) and Fair Wear. CNVI recently conducted a research on the role of local trade unions in building effective international grievance mechanisms, which will inform the discussions. Fair Wear and the PST collaborate together with other MSIs in the CARe (Collaboration on Access to Remedy) Platform, that currently serves as an informal hub to exchange experiences, learnings and best practices on access to remedy, identify synergies and support member companies in fulfilling their responsibility regarding access to remedy for workers. Their ambitions include encouraging collaboration across all levels to find a model of an inclusive supply chain grievance mechanism.

Side session onResponsible Purchasing Practices: how can companies integrate responsible purchasing practices in their businesses? Learnings from the Common Framework for Responsible Purchasing Practices (CFRPP), the STTI White Paper and a community-based approach

Date and Time: 14 February 2023 | 10:00-11:00 CET

Registration: Please register via the Zoom link here.

Description: Brands are increasingly turning their attention to their purchasing practices, however, progress towards responsible purchasing practices (RPP) across the sector is being slowed due to a number of repeatedly reported barriers. Our panel will focus on how brands can revise their purchasing practices and the importance of the supplier voice in making these changes. Besides that, our expert speaker will present the necessary steps when embarking on this mission, especially with regards to companies’ HRDD process, and will provide practical examples that can be built on. We will also demonstrate how to overcome the barriers that brands are facing, such as obtaining company-wide buy-in as well as supplier feedback and its involvement in improving a brand’s purchasing practices. We will highlight good practices in tackling these barriers based on our learnings within the Learning and Implementation Community (LIC)*.

* The LIC is a collaboration between Fair Wear, ETI, Ethical Trade Norway, the PST and Solidaridad (as a negotiating party to the Dutch Next Generation Agreement), with support of the STTI.

To learn more about the Common Framework for Responsible Purchasing Practices, please take a look at the website here.

Side session on ‘Towards industry transformation: tracking progress on wages, purchasing practices, and GHG emissions commitments through The Industry We Want Dashboard

Date and Time: 14 February 2023 | 12:00-13:00 CET

Registration: Please register via the Zoom link here.

Description: Join The Industry We Want to gain unfiltered, first-hand insights on how the garment and footwear industry is performing as we track advancements on social, commercial and environmental commitments. Learn from experts across the supply chain about the factors slowing down industry-wide progress and how to accelerate change across TIWW focus areas: wages, purchasing practices, and GHG emissions. Join us in asking the big and bold questions that guide constructive conversations about how to support and scale our efforts for industry transformation.

To learn more about The Industry We Want, please take a look at the website here.

For an overview of all of the OECD side sessions, please see here.

Side session on ‘Making Human Rights Due Diligence work for homeworkers

Date and Time: 14 February 2023 | 10:00-11:00 CET

Registration: Please register via the Zoom link here.

Description: This event, hosted by the Hidden Homeworkers team as a Side Session at the forthcoming OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector will explore how best to extend due diligence beyond tier-one factories, to increase visibility to include subcontractors and homeworkers. Homeworkers, who are mainly women, comprise a significant part of the workforce of many garment and footwear supply chains in South Asia and around the world. Our panel discussion will draw on our latest supply chain research, outlining best practices adopted by leading brands and MSIs and highlighting effective ways of increasing transparency to ensure that due diligence processes reach some of the most vulnerable workers in garment and footwear supply chains.

Mousumi Sarangi, Fair Wear’s Country Manager of India and Regional Coordinator of Gender will be among the panellists at this side session.

Plenary session on ‘Assessing RBC due diligence implementation: Reflecting a risk-based approach’

Date and Time: 16 February 2023 | 14:30 – 16:00 CET

Location: OECD Conference Centre, Room CC1

Description: Assessing company diligence efforts is essential to ascertain whether increasing reporting requirements, voluntary commitments and due diligence obligations are effectively implemented in garment and footwear supply chains. The session will explore different options for assessing RBC due diligence. It will consider the opportunities and challenges involved in moving beyond traditional compliance-based checklists towards more risk-based, dynamic approaches. The panellists will discuss assessment efforts by, for example, voluntary initiatives and government agencies and explore whether all sources of information and meaningful indicators of progress are sufficiently considered when assessing RBC due diligence.

Hester Janssens, Fair Wear’s Stakeholder Engagement and Partnerships Manager, will be among the panellists during this session.

Plenary session on ‘Implementing impactful due diligence: a practical perspective from Vietnam

Date and Time: 17 February 2023 | 9:30 – 11:00 CET

Registration: Please register via the OECD website here.

Description: OECD-based Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence is increasingly becoming the norm for mandatory and voluntary regulation across market countries. How can policies be shaped and implemented to realise positive impact on working conditions and the environment? Policy makers and industry experts from Europe and Vietnam discuss this in a two panel, two country Forum session connecting Hanoi and Paris through a partnership between the OECD and The Industry We Want.

Alexander Kohnstamm, Fair Wear’s Executive Director, will be among the panellists during this session.

In preparation for the above panel, Fair Wear, GIZ, VITAS, LEFASO, CDI, CNV and the Dutch Embassy to Vietnam are co-hosting an in-person session with Vietnamese policymakers and manufacturer representatives in Hanoi to discuss the above topics.