In September 2022, our greatly anticipated offline Member Day finally became reality – a unique opportunity for our member brands and the Fair Wear team to (re)connect and spark collaboration.
While it has been refreshing to experience completely different, online, ways of connecting with our members over the past two years, being able to host this long-standing, important event in person again was hugely impactful for all involved. It was a chance for all to collectively push the limits on what is possible in the garment industry. As our Executive Director, Alexander Kohnstamm, said:
Our brands are truly inspirational. Gathering them all under one roof meant being able to share unique insights, spark fresh ideas and continue to be frontrunners in our shared commitments to improving social conditions in the garment industry.
Human Rights Due Diligence. It’s a term we are all familiar with in the industry. But, what is it, and, what does it mean for brands?
In many ways, Fair Wear and its member brands have been ahead of the game. Together, we have been accelerating change towards responsible purchasing practices – by collecting information about risks and the situation at every supplier partner.
During Re:Member Day, Fair Wear’s HRDD expert, Anne van Lakerveld, introduced a new way to facilitate our member’s HRDD process. Streamlining country information will save them from having to plough through pages and pages of reports, and suggestions for improvements and remediation will be clearly flagged. Our members were evidently eager to learn more about this innovative workstream:
“It was striking to see how much passion there was in the room and how dedicated our members are to improving human lives in the garment industry.” – Mariette van Amstel, Head of Membership
We owe special thanks to our ten Production Country Managers for joining us for some equally long-overdue strategising, work sessions and collaboration. Throughout the day, our members and Country Managers discussed audits and assessments in India, remediation work in Bangladesh, political changes in Indonesia, and the situation for Trade Unions in Eastern Europe.
“Having the opportunity to discuss with members face-to-face the steps they are making towards social sustainability in the Eastern Europe was hugely beneficial to our team. Members were especially keen to discuss the volatile context in the region, especially in Ukraine.” – Regional Coordinator for Eastern Europe, Biljana Solakovska-Mihajlovska
Our members and Fair Wear colleagues also had the opportunity to give a brief presentation of a particular topic or concrete project and discuss it with fellow members and the Fair Wear team during our open space pitch session. This was a key highlight for Sophia MacRae-Tod, Sustainability Coordinator at Acne Studios, who told us:
“For me, it was great to be able to connect and brainstorm with other brands.“
During this session, we heard from Nils Todter from hessnatur alongside Paula de Beer, Fair Wear’s Living Wage Officer. The two shared Fair Wear’s approach and best practice examples on how to incorporate prices that support living wages into supply chains. Hessnatur demonstrated how they prioritise fact-based costing and subsequently isolate labour costs in the prices paid to suppliers. They also showed how to align with purchasing departments on this, a crucial part of their work. Though living wage is an increasing priority for our members, achieving it has not yet been widely possible. Hearing from hessnatur was, therefore, a hugely valuable opportunity for many of our member brands.
Marco Hühn from Deuter Sport GmbH also spoke on their new app as part of their complaints mechanism processes. The Deuter Sport team found the facilitations highly beneficial as our Country Managers were able to offer unique insights into how this would work in varying cultural settings and working environments.
Moments like these – of true collaboration and information sharing – are the reason our annual Member Days are consistently a highlight of the year for our members.
Finally, after a day packed full of content, we took advantage of being at the beautiful beach in Bloemendaal aan zee. Colleagues from Fair Wear and our member brands joined together in an evening of beach activities and a typical Dutch borrell.
Ready to take action for a fairer garment industry?