by Maya Spaull, Steering Committee Member, Fair Trade USA

Creating positive transformation in the manufacturing sector is within our reach.  The Social & Labor Convergence Project (S&L Convergence) has a goal to develop a single, industry-wide assessment framework that seeks to improve transparency and reduce duplication of data collection and audit efforts.

As a member of the S&L Convergence Steering Committee, I have enjoyed contributing to the evolution of the project, connecting with other signatory groups around our shared goals and providing input on the S&L Convergence Tool development. In my role as the leader of Fair Trade USA’s Manufacturing Program, I am very excited about the potential to explore how our factory compliance and workforce well-being model could leverage the Tool in the coming years.

Ultimately, to make this project successful it will take genuine collaboration from global apparel and footwear brands, manufacturers, NGO’s, intergovernmental organizations, certification bodies and thought leaders across the sector coming together to design a Tool that works for all.  If you have been curious about how to deepen your understanding and participation in the S&L Convergence Project, there are some simple ways to plug in and participate.

  1. Become a S&L Convergence Signatory – we now have over 115 signatories, and welcome more groups to officially sign on to participate.
  2. Join a Working Group – we have four working groups which welcome your participation including Tool Development, Verification, Stakeholder Engagement and Communication/PR.
  3. Attend an In-Person Stakeholder Meeting – held regularly in various locations around the globe, these gatherings provide an opportunity to receive updates on project progress, a venue to ask questions and contribute your expertise to the project.
  4. Join our Webinars – these are conducted for signatories and interested parties to report on progress bi-monthly (1 h) and available in two time zones.
  5. Provide your Feedback – the next round of general stakeholder consultation on Tool Development is scheduled for third quarter of 2017.

For more information, you can reach out directly to Janet Mensink at janet@apparelcoalition.org or Christian Smith at christian@apparelcoalition.org .

The outcomes of this project have the potential to create long term improvements to working conditions and livelihoods for factory employees around the globe, so let’s work together to make it a success!