AMSTERDAM, November 6, 2017 – The Social&Labor Convergence Project (SLCP) today launched its second prototype for a converged assessment framework. Through its mission, the SLCP strives to move the apparel and footwear industry from excessive audits toward sustainable social and labor improvements. More than 160 signatories from leading stakeholders have collaborated to develop the updated assessment. In the coming months, this new version will be extensively pilot tested by more than 175 facilities in 23 apparel and footwear-producing countries across the world.

An unprecedented endeavor when the first public statement was made exactly two years ago, the SLCP has made tremendous progress in building a converged social and labor assessment framework for the apparel and footwear industry. The second prototype is a vast update from the first version, in both contents and functionality. Moreover, a verification methodology has been integrated. It includes a data collection and verification tool, a protocol, and guidance material. The steadily growing number of participating signatories have gained confidence in the value and impact of the converged assessment framework and they have strengthened their commitments to replace currently used proprietary tools with the new framework.

“Over the past two years, a critical mass of organizations from all relevant stakeholder groups have come together to create this common assessment framework for social and labor conditions in the apparel and footwear supply chain,” Abhishek Bansal, Head of Sustainability at Arvind Limited, said. “With the current progress, I believe we are on the right track to achieve the objective of converging and eliminating the current practice of replication of efforts.”

The updated framework will be pilot tested in over 175 facilities in 23 countries across the world, ranging from China to Myanmar to Lesotho to Honduras to Turkey, and in diverse conditions: The pilot will include facilities beyond Tier 1 and covering a large range of facility sizes and product types.

All aspects of the framework will be tested: the data collection with the tool by a facility assessment and the verification methodology by external parties. Simultaneously, the SLCP will collect input from external stakeholders in a round of public consultation. All feedback from the pilot and public consultation will be used to develop the third prototype of the converged assessment framework in early 2018. The final version of the converged assessment framework is expected to be launched in May 2018.

“It’s amazing to see the progress since the first announcement, exactly two years ago. Few people believed this could be done,” SLCP Director Janet Mensink said. “Look where we are today, we’ve shown the industry can collaborate and the will to reimagine current models is there. The conversation has shifted from building the framework, to planning on adoption and operation.”