Following IAF’s new mission statement: “to unite all stakeholders of the fashion and apparel industry, including brands, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and country associations from around the world to enable and promote smarter, stronger, more sustainable supply chains.” the IAF Board of Directors has decided on a joint IAF position and agenda on Responsible Business Conduct.

The IAF Board agrees that Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (Responsible Business Conduct) is a major strategic issue for the fashion industry. Global problems need global solutions. Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), making up a major part of the industry and represented by national and regional associations that are members of IAF, must be part of the solution. Both sides of the buying equation, buyers and supplying parties, must be involved on an equal footing in developing solutions. IAF represents its members in reaching practical solutions in global fora with multilateral organizations as well as with large brands and retailers. IAF will be cooperating closely with the other like-minded industry trade associations in this issue.

Currently, IAF’s position on audit effectiveness is as follows:

-Audit effectiveness. The IAF emphasizes that the proliferation of social, safety and environmental audits carried out on apparel manufacturers is a major problem for the industry, actually taking away resources from making real improvements in working conditions. As a signatory, IAF supports the Social and Labour Convergence Project (SLCP). It considers this project the best effort to date to smartly and effectively reduce the number of unnecessary or ineffective audits. The S&L Convergence project is actively supported by a many of the world’s largest brands, retailers and manufacturers. IAF strives to also represent SME interests in this process while safeguarding a good balance between supplier and buyer interests. IAF has started to involve its member associations in this project.

IAF will closely cooperate with like-minded industry trade associations on the issue of improving audit effectiveness and eliminating unnecessary or ineffective audits. IAF will better connect our members’ voices in existing global harmonization actions, such as the S&L Convergence Project.