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Spotlight on fair wages at Sustainable Textile Lab
12
Sep '15
The Netherlands-based international civil society organization Solidaridad has stressed that fair living wages for everyone. That was the theme of Solidaridad's third Sustainable Textile Lab recently in cooperation with a number of major brands and retailers, It said in a statement on its website.

More than 70 apparel and textile professionals attended the lab, including a senior policy advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jos Huber.

“The very ambitious target of the Dutch National Action Plan of 120 companies working with living wages in their supply chain by 2020 still needs some steps forward,” Huber said.

The goal of the Sustainable Textile Labs is to do just that by inspiring and informing, but above all, by encouraging companies to take concrete steps in improving conditions for workers. The lab consisted of presentations and debates in order to share experiences concerning the implementation of fair living wages across the world and discuss possible steps that can be taken.

Lab participants gained insights from a host of organizations who are actively involved with implementing fair living wages.

At the lab, Solidaridad presented the benefits of using a standard methodology called the Fair Wage Method. A pilot project has been started in China with two brands in order to test the effectiveness of this method.

Swedish fashion label H&M introduced the Fair Wage Roadmap which they currently use in their sustainability programmes. Elin Astrom of H&M explained that continual dialogue with factories is key to their success.

The Fair Wear Foundation ( FWF) said it has significantly increased awareness on the subject of living wage in the Netherlands. FWF works with the Fair Wage Ladder and publishes material on their public fair wage portal.

Another participant, Expresso Fashion said it has seen real improvements resulting from their cooperation with suppliers. Working toward living wages does not only increase the quality of life for workers, but also benefits the quality of products. For Expresso Fashion, it is not just a best practice, it's a journey.

Jolande Sap of the Dutch National Action Plan sounded a note of caution saying that brands should not lose themselves in all the different methods for living wages.

The Sustainable Textile Labs are hosted several times of year in the Netherlands. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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