Interview with Betty van Arenthals-Kramer Freher

Betty van Arenthals-Kramer Freher
Betty van Arenthals-Kramer Freher

Please enlighten us, how AEDT is helpful in supporting solutions with corporate social responsibility schemes as well as encouraging business relations?

Promoting social accountability in the fashion and footwear retail sector at both the European as well as national levels is a priority for AEDT. In this vein, AEDT continues to actively recommend SA8000 - an audit-able certification standard based on international workplace norms of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, AEDT actively supports two non-profit organisations whose aim is to improve labour conditions worldwide. This includes the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) (www.fairwear.org) and the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) (www.bsci-eu.org). In order to keep our members abreast of developments and new initiatives in the realm of CSR, AEDT invites CSR experts to its periodic board meetings and events to boost awareness on the existing social conditions and priorities in developing countries. Furthermore, we have a special section on the “Members Area” of the Association website where we upload material on best practices when it comes to CSR so as to increase the uptake of CSR initiatives among our membership. Several fashion brands already adhere to international CSR certification schemes and take initiatives driven by the conviction of the need to be environmentally sustainable and socially responsible in their business dealings. With regard to European legislators, AEDT calls for the harmonisation of social accountability requirements based on ILO conventions and with audits carried out by international and independent bodies.

Please tell us about objectives and activities of AEDT that promotes the common interests of European fashion retail industry.

AEDT’s vocation is to promote the common interests of the European fashion retail sector and therefore all our activities are undertaken in that vein. In addition to the horizontal policy issues that affect the whole of the retail sector, for example European policy relating to the environment, consumer rights and corporate social responsibility. AEDT actively lobbies on fashion and footwear specific issues also on the matters that bring about real as well as quantifiable benefits to fashion retail businesses. These include EU legislation on textile names and labeling, product safety for clothing and footwear, leather denominations, business relations between suppliers and retailers, the harmonisation of sizes etc.

How does it provide platform to its members?

AEDT provides a platform allowing members to pool their knowledge and resources as well as to share best practices, when it comes to dealing with challenges and maximizing on potential opportunities that fashion retailers in Europe are confronted with. Amongst these are: reducing unnecessary administrative burdens resulting from EU legislation, tackling unfair commercial practices in the supply chain, adapting to evolutions in distribution patterns in Europe and to changing consumer behavior, confronting new business models such as factory outlet centers and ‘designer’ villages as well as sales over the internet and ‘discount’ websites.
Published on: 23/05/2012

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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