Successful launch of the Social&Labor Convergence Project

Since the rise of social auditing in the apparel and footwear supply chain more than twenty years ago, we have seen the number of social audit standards and methods increase dramatically, some with only minor differences. With brands and retailers each applying their own slightly different standards, manufacturers are allocating valuable resources to manage a steady stream of audits. In addition to contributing to “audit fatigue,” this duplication reduces the value of audits and consumes resources that could otherwise be applied to making improvements.

Some initiatives have recently highlighted the need for broader acceptance of shared assessment approaches and methods. Many voices from government, industry, and non-profit organizations are calling for a convergence of social and labor auditing practices in the supply chain. The solutions to these problems will require close co-operation between all tiers of the supply chain, as well as with multi-stakeholder initiatives that have developed assessment tools and methods. We call for collaboration among these actors to reach a common social assessment standard, method or tool for social and labor performance measurement in apparel and footwear supply chains. We believe that this effort could later be applied to other industries.

Following up on a public statement in October 2015, the Social&Labor Convergence Project was succesfully launched in Amsterdam (2-4 February). Sofar 62 key organizations have signed on to this initiative, ranging from manufacturers, brands, standard holders, civil society and intergovernmental observers. The stakeholders came together to celebrate its launch and roll up their sleeves to start of the work. Great consensus on the objective: convergence of existing tools into a universal best in class assessment framework. After three days of debates and working together, we have made concrete steps on how to get there. More news to follow soon!

 

The Social&Labor Convergence Project is facilitated by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and supported by the C&A Foundation. Launching day 2 February organized as a Sustainable Textiles Lab, special edition, in collaboration with Solidaridad and Schuttelaar&Partners. Pictures taken by Jos Kuklewski.