On the side-lines of the “OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector”, which took place on 13-14 February 2019 in Paris, the SLCP organised an information meeting for all signatories and partners. During the meeting the SLCP-Secretariat provided an update on the “Light Operation” in China and Sri Lanka that took place between November 2018 and February 2019. The objective of the Light Operation was to pressure test the full SLCP Converged Assessment Framework and system, gather learnings and prepare the roll-out in several countries in 2019.

During this soft launch various training sessions were conducted to explain how to use the tool and collect the data at facility level and complete verifications and thus to identify any sort of practical and/or procedural problems. The Light Operation comprised the entire process, 1) the Converged Assessment Framework (tool, protocol, guidance), 2) the verification oversight, 3) the data hosting & sharing and 4) the country roll-out. In total, around 150 verified assessments were conducted at facility level which were verified by more than 60 SLCP-approved verifiers.

At the meeting we heard from Nikhil Hirdaramani, Sustainability Director for the Hirdaramani Group and SLCP Council Member, who remarked: “We have lived too long in a world of audit fatigue. The SLCP is really needed and it’s great to see how much has been achieved in two years. We are proud to have been part of the Light Operation, where we successfully applied the Converged Assessment in our facilities. It’s great to see our client brands committed to using this.”

The SLCP-Secretariat reported that the Light Operation has proven that the concept as well as the process and tool work. It was pointed out it helps tremendously when local national textile/apparel association are actively involved. Of course, some issues still need to be resolved. There are still some technical hick-ups that occurred and caused delays. The user-friendliness of the process and tool needs to be improved as well by making the application more intuitive and implementation more scalable for 2019.

The meeting was informed that all the findings of the Light Operation will be analysed in detail, and improvements implemented in the next few weeks. As of May, the roll out should start in China, India, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. In the third quarter the roll-out will be continued in additional countries to reach the adoption targets for 2019.

Senior Policy Advisor, Jos Huber, from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the meeting and commented: “We have been involved in the SLCP since the beginning and provided seed funding in 2016. I feel proud to see this seed has grown into a beautiful tree. It’s amazing to see the impact SLCP has achieved in only a couple of years. The way in which SLCP has been embraced by all stakeholders gives us reason to be very optimistic. Ensuring transparency of data will be key to SLCP’s success and we would encourage further stakeholder collaboration in this area as the program develops.”

A visual overview and explanation of the life of an SLCP Assessment can be found on the SLCP-website “At a Glance”.