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EU Parliament Rapporteur overviews AEPC's DISHA programme
27
Sep '12
Mr. Richard Howitt MEP, European Parliament Rapporteur, on Corporate Social Responsibility took an overview of Government sponsored programme- DISHA, run by Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC). Driving Industry towards Sustainable Human Capital Advancement (DISHA’S) objective is, bridging the gap in apparel factories in the implementation of social and environmental codes of conduct through effective Management Systems and a structured workplace communication. Shri Praveen Nayyar, Chairman DISHA Sub- Committee and Shri Vijay Mathur, Acting Secretary General, AEPC was also present in the meeting.

Mr. Howitt raised many questions and asked clarification on the multiple issues.  Replying to Mr Howitts queries on acceptances received competitiveness issues, challenges faced so far and management of the knowledge and harmonization, Shri Praveen Nayyer said that, “The programme is not going to dilute the competitiveness of the sector, but in fact enhance it. Our main concern is the stringent norms for overtimes, which is far above the ILO stipulation and that of some of our competing countries. he shared optimism on the acceptance of the programme  globally.”

Making the presentation Ms. Chandrima Chatterjee, Director Compliance and Project DISHA, stated that DISHA programme also provides training for demonstrable and better benchmarking of social and environmental performance of factories.

Ms. Chatterjee while commenting on DISHA said, “We are working towards changing the culture and approach of audits and make it more SME friendly and encourage sustainable changes for the Apparel Industry in India.”  The project entails, facilitating the Internationalization of DISHA Common Code of Conduct with an aim to generate global acceptance of brands, buyers and other stakeholders in order to reduce multiple audits for apparel factories. 

In the process AEPC issues certification, based on progress made towards, maintaining, the standards expected of the factories vis-avis the standards provided for within the Common Compliance Code, she added. 

Ms. Chandrima informed that through workshops and orientation programmes at all major clusters in India and DISHA has reached out to 598 factories. With average workforce of 400 workers, project DISHA has covered around 2.4 lac workers in terms of awareness generation. She added that, at present, there are 140 voluntary participating units with workforce ranging from 30 workers to over 3104 workers.

For National and International endorsement of the common compliance code and greater acceptability of the programme, International Trade Centre (ITC, Geneva) compared AEPC CCC with 8 other major international codes and found the CCC robust and aligned to best international code specifications.

She also noted that, ISEAL Alliance, London, an international body for setting standard for formation of codes also appreciated the process being followed for code and guideline formation of DISHA.

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