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Dutch govt backs sustainable garment production
14
Mar '16
The Dutch government has associated itself with a broad coalition of industry organizations, trade unions, civil society organizations that have tabled an agreement on international responsible business conduct in the garment and textile sector.

The agreement focuses on countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

The exercise is an effort to achieve practical improvements in and ensure the sustainability of the international garment and textile supply chain. For example, they want to address problems such as dangerous working conditions and environmental pollution, IDN has reported.

In the next step, the coalition will aim to secure funding of the agreement and have it signed in June by at least 35 companies in the sector, who together represent at least 30 per cent of sales in the Netherlands. The parties to the agreement will then also sign it. The agreement has been drafted under the guidance of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER).

Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, said: “In this widely supported agreement, enterprises and civil-society organizations are taking a great step forward in combating malpractices in the garment and textile industry in developing countries.

“Together, they will endeavour to improve working conditions in these countries and make the manufacturing process more environmentally friendly. This is very good news for all those people who are still working excessively long days in dangerous conditions for very low pay. It's also good news for the industry as a whole and for the consumer: everyone will be better off as a result."

The broad coalition is made up of the industry organizations VGT, Modint and Inretail, the trade unions FNV and CNV, the Dutch government and the civil society organisations Solidaridad, UNICEF Nederland, India Committee of the Netherlands, the Dutch Stop Child Labour Coalition and Four Paws Netherlands.

They have agreed to work together on the following issues in garment and textile production in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Turkey: protection from discrimination; protection from child labour; protection from forced labour, meaningful dialogue with independent employee representatives, achieving a living wage, safe conditions and a healthier environment for employees; reducing adverse environmental impact by saving on raw materials and creating a circular economy; reducing the amount of water, energy and chemicals used; reducing chemical waste and waste water; and prevention of animal suffering.

According to SER, the agreement offers the parties “a wealth of opportunities to work together on objectives that are hard to achieve individually, such as living wages, stronger trade unions and the reduction of excessively long working days”. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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