Chapter 1

Intro

Dear Partnership Members, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

This is the Partnership´s first digital annual report that, from now on, will always be published at our Members’ Meeting in spring. Thus, we can link the information in the report directly to the content on the Partnership website, so that you can dive deeper into the respective topics. 

Building back with better buyer-supplier relationships 

For purchasing and manufacturing companies in Germany and worldwide, 2020 was a bad year, if not the economically worst year in decades. And this has had and continues to have in some cases enormous effects on the people who work in our industry, first and foremost in the producing countries. In Germany and Europe, many companies are struggling to survive and have had to change their business models at a faster pace than ever before, and we saw radical disruption.

In the production countries, the increased pressure to change is often hitting companies and people much harder. The financial resources of many companies and their business partners are chronically scarce. Systems of social protection are weak or are non-existent. Workers have hardly any substantial alternatives or savings and are often unprotected against the effects of the crisis: Job losses, wage cuts, health risks and other restrictions. 

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is committed to achieving demonstrable improvements in working and environmental conditions in textile value chains. Especially in these times of crisis, this requires our members to focus even more on their business partners and the workers. In April 2020, the Textiles Partnership and its strategic partners took a clear position and issued a call-to-action with recommendations on how to immediately respond to the crisis and how to build responsible business relationships in the longer term. In this, responsible purchasing practices are key and we therefore made them our annual topic for 2021. 

Implement and report on due diligence obligations in a structured manner 

Besides purchasing practices, our activities on circular economy and climate action, which continue to gain momentum, and the joint engagement of Partnership members in Tamil Nadu and on living wages, complaints mechanisms, wastewater management and organic cotton, the focus in 2021 will also be on the Review Process. Postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the revised Review Process has now been launched.

The core of the effort is to support companies in implementing their due diligence obligations in a structured manner and in accordance with the requirements on the basis of a solid risk analysis, and to report on them in an equally structured and appropriate manner. In this way, the Parternship can underscore its claim to be the first point of contact for anyone wishing to systematically implement due diligence and thus taking responsibility also for business partners and workers in their value chains 

Achieving more together 

Important decisions will also be made in 2021 with regard to the structures of the Textiles Partnership. A new Steering Committee will be elected and a group of experts will discuss the further development of the governance structures. In addition, we will continue to expand our network of strategic cooperation partners with the aim of increasing the impact of the Partnership’s activities while at the same time reducing the effort required from our members. 

The Corona crisis has greatly accelerated existing trends in the industry and has had a profound impact on companies, stakeholders and many millions of employees, also and above all in the producing countries. Against this background, we in the Textiles Partnership have taken up key topics for the future and are pursuing their implementation. Use your membership in the Partnership as an opportunity to work together on these issues and on your organisation’s contribution to achieving fair working conditions and a business case for production within planetary boundaries. 

We hope you enjoy reading our first digital annual report and we are looking forward to a continued and trustful cooperation in the Textiles Partnership. 

Jürgen Janssen 

on behalf of the Partnership Secretariat

Contents
Contents
Chapter 2
Facts & Figures

Facts & Figures

Members and Internationalisation

Since the beginning of the year 2020 14 new members joined the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. As of December, 136 members were part of the Partnership.

Welcome! These are the 14 new members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles:


Internationalisation

Since 2017, the Textiles Partnership signed ten strategic cooperations with other initiatives and organisations. These cooperations have two overarching objectives: on the one hand, they are designed to support Partnership members in pursuing the Partnership’s goals and thereby increase its impact in producing countries. On the other hand, they have the aim of aligning sustainability requirements for companies in the textile sector.

Find more information on our cooperation network in chapter 4.4.

Chapter 2
Facts & Figures
Facts & Figures
Partnership Initiatives

Facts & Figures

Partnership Initiatives

In 2020, 26 members 26 members were engaged in the three Partnership Initiatives Tamil Nadu, Wastewater and Living Wages. Quite a few of them are active in two or even all three initiatives. The Partnership Initiative on complaints mechanisms was still being set up and is about to be launched soon.

Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu: First Project Phase Completed

In 2020, the first project phase of the Partnership Initiative in Tamil Nadu ended (July 2018 – September 2020) – having achieved theses results and successes:

More information on the Partnership Initiatives in chapter 4.2

Facts & Figures
Members and Internationalisation
Facts & Figures
Annual Topic Gender-Based Violence

Facts & Figures

Annual Topic Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence was the annual topic 2020 in the Textiles Partnership. In February, 14 members formed an expert group and started work. In November, the Steering Committee decided to extend the mandate of the expert group.

7 Webinars

  • Introduction to Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) 
  • Adoption of the ILO Convention 190 – what next? Measures against gender-based violence in textile supply chains
  • The Gendered Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Garment Workers
  • Addressing the Gender Data Gap 
  • How to address the sector risk of gender-based violence at factory level: Perspectives from Bangladesh
  • 2 out of 3 webinars of the series GBVH and Social Audits, part of the cooperation project with GOTS and IV

Publications

  • Guidance Document on Due Diligence, Social Audits and GBVH (2021)
  • 9 country-specific factsheets on gender-based violence in

3 Articles on Gender-Based Violence

  • Historic Milestone : the ILO Convention 190, Interview with Dr. Christina Stockfisch (DGB) on the ILO Convention 190 and its status of implementation

  • ‘Invisible Women’ – Due Diligence Risks and the Gender Data Gap, written by Stephanie Barrientos 

  • Prevent violence against women in factories, but how? Guest article by Sina Marx (FEMNET)

 

Detailed information in chapter 5.

Facts & Figures
Partnership Initiatives
Facts & Figures
Events & Support

Facts & Figures

Events & Support

Events

The diversity of topics in the Textiles Partnership is also reflected in the demand for and participation in our various learning and dialogue formats: supply chain management, buyer-supplier relationships, COVID-19, due diligence, Review Process and risk analysis, living wages and purchasing practices, circular economy and environmental issues.

Top 10 events by number of participants in 2020:


Resources & Support

Facts & Figures
Annual Topic Gender-Based Violence
Facts & Figures
Communication

Facts and Figures

Communication

Social Media

Follower

LinkedIn

LinkedIn updates concerning the Partnership’s own activities received the most attention. These are the Top-10 updates, ranked by the number of likes:

Twitter

We see the same on Twitter, where the engagement rate was highest for tweets on our activities. Three tweets on gender-based violence and our Partnership Initiatives made it into the Top 10, as well as two tweets related to the COVID-19 update on our website.


Media Coverage

The Textiles Partnership was mentioned in 57 media reports. In 32 of them, it was merely mentioned without any in-depth reporting (56%). In 17 cases the coverage was positive or neutral (30%), in the remaining 8 articles the PST was criticized (14%). 2020, many articles dealt with the impact of Covid-19 on textile supply chains and the discussion about mandatory due diligence regulation.


Website

That the Textiles Partnership was kept busy in 2020 is reflected in around 30 news articles on topics such as new members or Partnership Initiatives, new partners in our cooperation network and publications. Our COVID-19 update provided sector-specific information, including information about the impact of the pandemic on textile supply chains, guidelines on responsible purchasing practices and specific information on 15 producing countries. Moreover, we updated the ‘Projects worldwide’ database and added a full-text search function that allows you to find content and publications more easily.

Top 10 Pages by Views

Website Visitors

In 2020, the Partnership website registered around 57,400 visitors from 80 different countries.

Facts & Figures
Events & Support
Chapter 3
2020 topics

Chapter 3

2020 Topics

COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the textiles industry. The consequences have been and continue to be far-reaching for brands and retailers in Germany and Europe, often threatening their existence. The situation has also been disastrous in producing countries. Many workers have lost their jobs or have been paid lower wages or none at all, and in many factories they have had insufficient protection against infection.

The Textiles Partnership reacted swiftly to the outbreak of the pandemic by suspending the Review Process, posting a COVID-19 update on its website and offering many different kinds of support and online events. Over and beyond this, the PST intensified exchanges and cooperation with its partners.

At the Members’ Meeting in November 2020, Jürgen Janssen, Head of the Partnership Secretariat, stressed the fact that the due diligence approach, to which the Textiles Partnership is committed, provided a good foundation, and he pointed towards a future in which business strategies can be developed that focus on strong partnership within value chains and thus will equip the business partners in the supplier networks to improve their own working and environmental conditions. (see foreword to the report on the 2020 Members’ Meeting)

Purchasing Practices

Responsible purchasing practices are a central element for companies, enabling them to comply with their due diligence obligations and contribute towards better working conditions in their supply chain. Purchasing practices refer to all principles and processes by means of which brands and retailers interact and do business with the manufacturers who supply their products. They are an essential key to a more sustainable and resilient textile and garment sector.

Twelve Partnership companies have been working on this topic since 2019 in a peer learning group, in which they share their experience and develop plans for improving their own purchasing practices. To mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the short term, in April 2020 the Textiles Partnership published the Guiding principles for responsible purchasing practices during the COVID-19 crisis. In June 2020, the first evaluation of the Purchasing Practices Self-Assessment was published.

As its Annual Topic in 2021, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles has a special focus on purchasing practices. Member companies can use a self-assessment and a supplier survey to evaluate their purchasing practices and to develop and carry out improvement measures on this basis. Experts support the companies in this process by means of online training courses and an e-learning video. Moreover, several multi-stakeholder initiatives, including the PST, are currently drawing up a joint framework on purchasing practices. 

Xinjiang

In 2020, reports of forced labour in Xinjiang made headlines around the world. According to credible reports, Uighurs and members of other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region face human rights violations. There is a high risk that factories and cotton farms in the textile supply chain in Xinjiang and other regions of China are benefiting from forced labour. The Textiles Partnership is discussing this situation with its members, politicians, the OECD and other sector organisations. Nine Partnership members have formed an ad-hoc group and are discussing strategies for dealing with the risk of forced labour in the region, as well as possible support activities within the Partnership.

Climate Action

The new expert group on climate action was launched in October 2020. Its purpose is to further develop and make available best practices for minimising climate risks in all parts of the supply chain. It focuses in particular on cooperation with suppliers and manufacturers, above all to support the transition to renewable energies at production facilities. The roughly 20 members of the expert group will also discuss solutions for better measuring and assessing environmental impacts.

Also in 2020, the UNFCCC published the Playbook on Climate Action. It is aimed at all companies in the textile and garment sector and is meant to provide them with best practices and information on climate change mitigation and CO2 reduction. The German translation has been published in February 2021.

Circular Economy

Circularity and circular economy is not a new topic in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. What is new, however, is the expert group on circular economy, launched in 2020.  It brings together around 35 Partnership members to identify and develop best practices and guidelines on potential circular processes and products along the entire textile value chain. It focuses on sustainable design, recycling, fibres and processes, collection, sorting and re-use, alternative business models (e.g. leasing, sharing and repairing) and on alternative packaging solutions.

Expert Groups

Expert groups aim to address individual topics across all three core fields of work in the Textiles Partnership: individual responsibility, collective engagement and mutual support. Beyond this, they also strive to set up cooperation arrangements on specific topics with relevant partners and organisations. 

Four more expert groups were added in 2020: climate action, circular economy, gender-based violence and chemical safety The other expert and working groups are: wastewater standards, living wages, man-made fibres, sustainable natural fibres, Review Process, impact assessment, and supply chain transparency.

Partnership Initiatives

The Partnership Initiatives are based on the conviction that we can achieve more by working together. Several Partnership members join forces to collectively achieve improvements in producing countries. Suppliers and local stakeholders are always involved in these measures. There are currently four Partnership Initiatives: Living Wages, Wastewater, Complaints Mechanisms and Improving Working Conditions in Tamil Nadu. Further initiatives are being planned. You can read a summary of what our Partnership Initiatives achieved in 2020 in the report on the 2020 Members’ Meeting.

Responsible Exit

‘Responsible exit’ means ending a business relationship in a responsible way, for example by taking measures at an early stage to either minimise or mitigate adverse impacts on employees at suppliers. In 2020, with support from civil society, the peer learning group on purchasing practices and the Partnership Secretariat developed responsible exit guidelines. The guidelines outline step by step how companies can establish processes for ending business relationships in a responsible way, and describes the rules and requirements to bear in mind in this context. Partnership members can find the guidelines in the Members’ Area.

Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) mainly concerns women and girls, but more rarely also men and boys and non-binary people. GBVH covers all types of violence inflicted on people through physical, emotional, psychological or sexual harm and suffering. Violence against women is a widespread problem in the textile industry, where around 80% of employees are women. Working conditions are often precarious and violence against women is an all too frequent phenomenon. For this reason, the Textiles Partnership made GBVH its 2020 Annual Topic.

Strategic Cooperation

Already at the foundation of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles it was clear that, being a national initiative in a global sector, it would need to establish a network with other European and international initiatives. The Textiles Partnership cooperates with initiatives that work towards achieving a sustainable and forward-looking textile industry based on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for the Garments and Footwear Sector. Through its international network with cooperation partners, Partnership members also gain access to the expertise, instruments and contacts of other sector initiatives. 

Two new strategic cooperations with the Organic Cotton Accelerator and the Open Apparel Registry were added in 2020. Ten strategic partnerships were in place at the end of the year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Textiles Partnership stepped up its exchanges with other sector initiatives, especially with regard to purchasing practices.

Supply Chain Transparency

Creating transparency in a company’s own supply chain is a prerequisite for the implementation of corporate due diligence. Only if a company knows where, how and by whom its products are manufactured, can it adopt effective measures to prevent social, environmental and corruption risks in its supply chain. New guidelines were issued in 2020 with step-by-step instructions on how companies can achieve greater supply chain transparency. This is also the aim behind the strategic cooperation with the Open Apparel Registry. Since 2020, 23 member companies have been participating in an aggregated PST list on the Open Apparel Registry, covering some 6.800 production sites.

Chemical Safety

The expert group on Chemical Safety commenced its work in mid-2020. It aims to support members in the consistent implementation of the Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL) in wet processing. The expert group advises Partnership members on possible substitutes and assesses activities to support them. It also provides information on adjustments to chemicals management requirements.

Complaints Mechanisms

International standards and regulatory frameworks demand that companies provide complaints mechanisms for people who may be affected by social and environmental impacts. Workers in the textile supply chain should also be able to lodge complaints and receive access to remediation and compensation. It is essential that the complaints mechanisms are functional and effective. The Textiles Partnership supports its members in setting up effective complaints mechanisms along their own supply chain or participating in existing mechanisms.

To this end the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles cooperates closely with the Fair Wear Foundation, which provides a grievance mechanism for its member companies in 11 countries. In future, PST companies should also have access to this mechanism and be able to use it in their supply chain. The Textiles Partnership offers workshops and webinars to acquaint its members with the requirements for effective complaints mechanisms and effective remediation, and offers space for exchanges. Since 2020, PST has an Incident List compiling abuses or incidents in the textile supply chain. This document helps companies to identify specific incidents and potential risks in their own supply chain.

How do we deal with complaints that reach the Textiles Partnership? From the beginning of 2021, a strategy group will deal with this and other strategic questions related to the topic of complaints mechanisms. The representatives of the different stakeholder groups will deal with current issues and develop proposals for solutions.

Members

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is a multi-stakeholder initiative composed of members from the private sector (companies and associations), non-governmental organisations, trade unions, standard setting organisations and the German Federal Government. There are a further seven advisory members from academia and the research community. The companies in the Textiles Partnership represent around half of the total turnover in the German textile market. 

In 2020, 14 new members joined the Partnership, bringing the total membership to 136. The new members are: HUMANA Second Hand Kleidung GmbH, Pervormance international GmbH, GrenzGang, LODENFREY Menswear GmbH, HUMAN BLOOD B.V., mey GmbH & Co. KG, bluesign technologies, textilekonzepte GmbH, CHAPS Merchandising GmbH, RETAILPRAXIS GmbH, Hof University, erlich textil, global tactics Textilmanufaktur e.K., Helmut Peterseim Strickwaren GmbH.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for the strategic management and further development of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. It consists of 12 members who represent stakeholder groups including the private sector, the German Government, non-governmental organisations, standard setting organisations and trade unions. The representatives are elected by the members every two years. The next Steering Committee elections will take place in 2021. In its meetings, the Steering Committee decides, among other things, on membership applications and new projects. 

In 2020, one of the Steering Committee’s resolutions was to suspend the Review Process and delay it for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once a year, the Steering Committee holds a two-day conference to deliberate on the general structure and strategy of the Textiles Partnership. At its September 2020 conference, the topics addressed included the PST´s vision and its perception of its role, as well as the work plan and topics to be dealt with in 2021.

Risk Analysis

Meticulous and ongoing risk analysis is a fundamental part of due diligence in general and of the 2021 Review Process in particular. The guidelines ‘Identifying and prioritising risks. Basis for the Review Process in the Textiles Partnership’ show companies what they need to consider when analysing risks.

Beyond this, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles presented a new IT tool in 2020: the Textile Risk Expert System, or T-REXS for short. This is meant to help Partnership members analyse and prioritise the social, environmental and corruption risks in their supply chains. It helps, for example, to determine the abstract risks that exist in the supply chain and to compile information on the likelihood of these risks occurring. T-REXS also enables companies to prioritise the most serious risks in their supply chain.

Sector Risks

The OECD has identified several risks of particular relevance to the textile and garment sector. These include, among others, discrimination, health and safety, wages and social security, corruption, child and forced labour, environmental protection and the use of chemicals. These and other sector risks are among the topics addressed by the Partnership. They are also key elements of the revised Review Process: Each member company analyses the risks in its supply chain, prioritises them and defines targets and measures on that basis.

Cotton

In 2020, the Textiles Partnership entered into a strategic cooperation with the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA). The cooperation between the two multi-stakeholder initiatives is intended to promote the quality and availability of organic cotton and to better adapt the demand for organic cotton to the available supply.

In addition, a pilot project on organic cotton was launched in India, with the participation of Tchibo, Dibella, Fairtrade Germany, FFID – Chetna, OCA and GIZ. By scaling up the existing pilot project and launching new pilot approaches in cotton-relevant regions, the project partners want to further increase the availability of organic cotton for members of the Textiles Partnership.

The joint target of the Partnership to increase the proportion of sustainable cotton remains the same: by 2025, the proportion should increase to 70% of the total volume of cotton purchased by Partnership members, with 20% being organic cotton. Already in 2018, members had almost reached the joint target of 35% sustainable cotton set for 2020. 

Wastewater Management

Wet processing in textile production involves a higher risk of environmental damage, for example through untreated wastewater from factories. Sustainable wastewater management is a major step towards solving the problem. That is the objective of the new Partnership Initiative on wastewater, for which 14 Partnership members joined forces in July 2020. The initiative focuses on Taiwan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Pakistan and Turkey. 

The initiative combines three approaches: firstly, it is raising awareness of the problem on the part of factories and building up knowledge among suppliers and brands; secondly, it seeks to harmonise the testing of wastewater by means of plausibility checks and common requirements for wastewater reporting, while also improving data quality and transparency; and thirdly, the initiative aims to forge cooperation arrangements and promote data exchange between all actors in the supply chain and with research establishments.

Working Meetings

In his opening words to the Working Meeting on 21 April 2020, head of the Partnership Secretariat Jürgen Janssen stressed that, ‘Only through collective action, a partnership approach and shared responsibility can the effects be mitigated, especially at the present time, and the goal of a sustainable textile supply chain be further pursued.’

The agenda included a live-streamed keynote by Karl-Hendrik Magnus, of McKinsey, nine webinars and a marketplace with seven booths. The sessions covered a wide range of topics, from circular economy to risk analysis, to supply chain mapping and complaints mechanisms. Current developments and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic naturally played a role in various contexts. You can still view recordings of some of the sessions on the website.

Members’ Meeting

‘On track’ was the topic of the 6th Members’ Meeting of the Textiles Partnership on 24 and 25 November 2020. In his welcoming note, Jürgen Janssen, head of the Partnership Secretariat, emphasised that the course towards due diligence and sustainability is ‘correct, relevant and forward-looking.’ The two-day event included a total of 14 sessions on a wide variety of Partnership issues, ranging from due diligence obligations and gender-based violence, responsible exit and living wages to supply chain transparency and climate action. Members can find recordings of the sessions in the Members’ area. The marketplace is still online with eight booths for the following topics: Partnership Initiatives Tamil Nadu, wastewater and complaints mechanisms, as well as expert groups on circular economy and climate action, SME Compass, Green Button (Grüner Knopf), and Review Process. 

We welcomed Rubana Huq (BGMEA), Mathijs Crietee (International Apparel Federation), Herman Leung (DAKOTA Garment Group), Nazma Akter (Awaj Foundation) and Christina Hajagos-Clausen (IndustriALL) to the panel discussion on Future Supply Chain Relations. 

Review-Prozess

In the Review Process, companies in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles report on their individual responsibility in their supply chains, set goals and define measures. In 2019, the Review Process was thoroughly revised and focus was placed on an individual  risk-based due diligence approach. The new Review Process is aligned with the requirements and provisions of international regulatory frameworks, in particular the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector. It was intended that the Partnership members would carry out the Review Process for the first time in its new form in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Steering Committee decided to postpone the launch for one year. 

LinkedIn & Twitter

The Textiles Partnership has had its own LinkedIn and Twitter accounts since 2019. On LinkedIn, the number of followers grew from 334 to 1,642 in 2020 (+ 392%), and on Twitter, from 321 to 422 (+ 31%). On both platforms, posts on the Partnership’s own activities received the most attention. Three tweets on the Annual Topic of gender-based violence and on our Partnership Initiatives made it into Twitter’s top 10, as did two tweets on the COVID-19 update on the PST website. 

COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the textiles industry. The consequences have been and continue to be far-reaching for brands and retailers in Germany and Europe, often threatening their existence. The situation has also been disastrous in producing countries. Many workers have lost their jobs or have been paid lower wages or none at all, and in many factories they have had insufficient protection against infection.

The Textiles Partnership reacted swiftly to the outbreak of the pandemic by suspending the Review Process, posting a COVID-19 update on its website and offering many different kinds of support and online events. Over and beyond this, the PST intensified exchanges and cooperation with its partners.

At the Members’ Meeting in November 2020, Jürgen Janssen, Head of the Partnership Secretariat, stressed the fact that the due diligence approach, to which the Textiles Partnership is committed, provided a good foundation, and he pointed towards a future in which business strategies can be developed that focus on strong partnership within value chains and thus will equip the business partners in the supplier networks to improve their own working and environmental conditions. (see foreword to the report on the 2020 Members’ Meeting)

Purchasing Practices

Responsible purchasing practices are a central element for companies, enabling them to comply with their due diligence obligations and contribute towards better working conditions in their supply chain. Purchasing practices refer to all principles and processes by means of which brands and retailers interact and do business with the manufacturers who supply their products. They are an essential key to a more sustainable and resilient textile and garment sector.

Twelve Partnership companies have been working on this topic since 2019 in a peer learning group, in which they share their experience and develop plans for improving their own purchasing practices. To mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the short term, in April 2020 the Textiles Partnership published the Guiding principles for responsible purchasing practices during the COVID-19 crisis. In June 2020, the first evaluation of the Purchasing Practices Self-Assessment was published.

As its Annual Topic in 2021, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles has a special focus on purchasing practices. Member companies can use a self-assessment and a supplier survey to evaluate their purchasing practices and to develop and carry out improvement measures on this basis. Experts support the companies in this process by means of online training courses and an e-learning video. Moreover, several multi-stakeholder initiatives, including the PST, are currently drawing up a joint framework on purchasing practices. 

Xinjiang

In 2020, reports of forced labour in Xinjiang made headlines around the world. According to credible reports, Uighurs and members of other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region face human rights violations. There is a high risk that factories and cotton farms in the textile supply chain in Xinjiang and other regions of China are benefiting from forced labour. The Textiles Partnership is discussing this situation with its members, politicians, the OECD and other sector organisations. Nine Partnership members have formed an ad-hoc group and are discussing strategies for dealing with the risk of forced labour in the region, as well as possible support activities within the Partnership.

Climate Action

The new expert group on climate action was launched in October 2020. Its purpose is to further develop and make available best practices for minimising climate risks in all parts of the supply chain. It focuses in particular on cooperation with suppliers and manufacturers, above all to support the transition to renewable energies at production facilities. The roughly 20 members of the expert group will also discuss solutions for better measuring and assessing environmental impacts.

Also in 2020, the UNFCCC published the Playbook on Climate Action. It is aimed at all companies in the textile and garment sector and is meant to provide them with best practices and information on climate change mitigation and CO2 reduction. The German translation has been published in February 2021.

Circular Economy

Circularity and circular economy is not a new topic in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. What is new, however, is the expert group on circular economy, launched in 2020.  It brings together around 35 Partnership members to identify and develop best practices and guidelines on potential circular processes and products along the entire textile value chain. It focuses on sustainable design, recycling, fibres and processes, collection, sorting and re-use, alternative business models (e.g. leasing, sharing and repairing) and on alternative packaging solutions.

Expert Groups

Expert groups aim to address individual topics across all three core fields of work in the Textiles Partnership: individual responsibility, collective engagement and mutual support. Beyond this, they also strive to set up cooperation arrangements on specific topics with relevant partners and organisations. 

Four more expert groups were added in 2020: climate action, circular economy, gender-based violence and chemical safety The other expert and working groups are: wastewater standards, living wages, man-made fibres, sustainable natural fibres, Review Process, impact assessment, and supply chain transparency.

Partnership Initiatives

The Partnership Initiatives are based on the conviction that we can achieve more by working together. Several Partnership members join forces to collectively achieve improvements in producing countries. Suppliers and local stakeholders are always involved in these measures. There are currently four Partnership Initiatives: Living Wages, Wastewater, Complaints Mechanisms and Improving Working Conditions in Tamil Nadu. Further initiatives are being planned. You can read a summary of what our Partnership Initiatives achieved in 2020 in the report on the 2020 Members’ Meeting.

Responsible Exit

‘Responsible exit’ means ending a business relationship in a responsible way, for example by taking measures at an early stage to either minimise or mitigate adverse impacts on employees at suppliers. In 2020, with support from civil society, the peer learning group on purchasing practices and the Partnership Secretariat developed responsible exit guidelines. The guidelines outline step by step how companies can establish processes for ending business relationships in a responsible way, and describes the rules and requirements to bear in mind in this context. Partnership members can find the guidelines in the Members’ Area.

Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) mainly concerns women and girls, but more rarely also men and boys and non-binary people. GBVH covers all types of violence inflicted on people through physical, emotional, psychological or sexual harm and suffering. Violence against women is a widespread problem in the textile industry, where around 80% of employees are women. Working conditions are often precarious and violence against women is an all too frequent phenomenon. For this reason, the Textiles Partnership made GBVH its 2020 Annual Topic.

Strategic Cooperation

Already at the foundation of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles it was clear that, being a national initiative in a global sector, it would need to establish a network with other European and international initiatives. The Textiles Partnership cooperates with initiatives that work towards achieving a sustainable and forward-looking textile industry based on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for the Garments and Footwear Sector. Through its international network with cooperation partners, Partnership members also gain access to the expertise, instruments and contacts of other sector initiatives. 

Two new strategic cooperations with the Organic Cotton Accelerator and the Open Apparel Registry were added in 2020. Ten strategic partnerships were in place at the end of the year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Textiles Partnership stepped up its exchanges with other sector initiatives, especially with regard to purchasing practices.

Supply Chain Transparency

Creating transparency in a company’s own supply chain is a prerequisite for the implementation of corporate due diligence. Only if a company knows where, how and by whom its products are manufactured, can it adopt effective measures to prevent social, environmental and corruption risks in its supply chain. New guidelines were issued in 2020 with step-by-step instructions on how companies can achieve greater supply chain transparency. This is also the aim behind the strategic cooperation with the Open Apparel Registry. Since 2020, 23 member companies have been participating in an aggregated PST list on the Open Apparel Registry, covering some 6.800 production sites.

Chemical Safety

The expert group on Chemical Safety commenced its work in mid-2020. It aims to support members in the consistent implementation of the Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL) in wet processing. The expert group advises Partnership members on possible substitutes and assesses activities to support them. It also provides information on adjustments to chemicals management requirements.

Complaints Mechanisms

International standards and regulatory frameworks demand that companies provide complaints mechanisms for people who may be affected by social and environmental impacts. Workers in the textile supply chain should also be able to lodge complaints and receive access to remediation and compensation. It is essential that the complaints mechanisms are functional and effective. The Textiles Partnership supports its members in setting up effective complaints mechanisms along their own supply chain or participating in existing mechanisms.

To this end the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles cooperates closely with the Fair Wear Foundation, which provides a grievance mechanism for its member companies in 11 countries. In future, PST companies should also have access to this mechanism and be able to use it in their supply chain. The Textiles Partnership offers workshops and webinars to acquaint its members with the requirements for effective complaints mechanisms and effective remediation, and offers space for exchanges. Since 2020, PST has an Incident List compiling abuses or incidents in the textile supply chain. This document helps companies to identify specific incidents and potential risks in their own supply chain.

How do we deal with complaints that reach the Textiles Partnership? From the beginning of 2021, a strategy group will deal with this and other strategic questions related to the topic of complaints mechanisms. The representatives of the different stakeholder groups will deal with current issues and develop proposals for solutions.

Members

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is a multi-stakeholder initiative composed of members from the private sector (companies and associations), non-governmental organisations, trade unions, standard setting organisations and the German Federal Government. There are a further seven advisory members from academia and the research community. The companies in the Textiles Partnership represent around half of the total turnover in the German textile market. 

In 2020, 14 new members joined the Partnership, bringing the total membership to 136. The new members are: HUMANA Second Hand Kleidung GmbH, Pervormance international GmbH, GrenzGang, LODENFREY Menswear GmbH, HUMAN BLOOD B.V., mey GmbH & Co. KG, bluesign technologies, textilekonzepte GmbH, CHAPS Merchandising GmbH, RETAILPRAXIS GmbH, Hof University, erlich textil, global tactics Textilmanufaktur e.K., Helmut Peterseim Strickwaren GmbH.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is responsible for the strategic management and further development of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. It consists of 12 members who represent stakeholder groups including the private sector, the German Government, non-governmental organisations, standard setting organisations and trade unions. The representatives are elected by the members every two years. The next Steering Committee elections will take place in 2021. In its meetings, the Steering Committee decides, among other things, on membership applications and new projects. 

In 2020, one of the Steering Committee’s resolutions was to suspend the Review Process and delay it for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once a year, the Steering Committee holds a two-day conference to deliberate on the general structure and strategy of the Textiles Partnership. At its September 2020 conference, the topics addressed included the PST´s vision and its perception of its role, as well as the work plan and topics to be dealt with in 2021.

Risk Analysis

Meticulous and ongoing risk analysis is a fundamental part of due diligence in general and of the 2021 Review Process in particular. The guidelines ‘Identifying and prioritising risks. Basis for the Review Process in the Textiles Partnership’ show companies what they need to consider when analysing risks.

Beyond this, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles presented a new IT tool in 2020: the Textile Risk Expert System, or T-REXS for short. This is meant to help Partnership members analyse and prioritise the social, environmental and corruption risks in their supply chains. It helps, for example, to determine the abstract risks that exist in the supply chain and to compile information on the likelihood of these risks occurring. T-REXS also enables companies to prioritise the most serious risks in their supply chain.

Sector Risks

The OECD has identified several risks of particular relevance to the textile and garment sector. These include, among others, discrimination, health and safety, wages and social security, corruption, child and forced labour, environmental protection and the use of chemicals. These and other sector risks are among the topics addressed by the Partnership. They are also key elements of the revised Review Process: Each member company analyses the risks in its supply chain, prioritises them and defines targets and measures on that basis.

Cotton

In 2020, the Textiles Partnership entered into a strategic cooperation with the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA). The cooperation between the two multi-stakeholder initiatives is intended to promote the quality and availability of organic cotton and to better adapt the demand for organic cotton to the available supply.

In addition, a pilot project on organic cotton was launched in India, with the participation of Tchibo, Dibella, Fairtrade Germany, FFID – Chetna, OCA and GIZ. By scaling up the existing pilot project and launching new pilot approaches in cotton-relevant regions, the project partners want to further increase the availability of organic cotton for members of the Textiles Partnership.

The joint target of the Partnership to increase the proportion of sustainable cotton remains the same: by 2025, the proportion should increase to 70% of the total volume of cotton purchased by Partnership members, with 20% being organic cotton. Already in 2018, members had almost reached the joint target of 35% sustainable cotton set for 2020. 

Wastewater Management

Wet processing in textile production involves a higher risk of environmental damage, for example through untreated wastewater from factories. Sustainable wastewater management is a major step towards solving the problem. That is the objective of the new Partnership Initiative on wastewater, for which 14 Partnership members joined forces in July 2020. The initiative focuses on Taiwan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Pakistan and Turkey. 

The initiative combines three approaches: firstly, it is raising awareness of the problem on the part of factories and building up knowledge among suppliers and brands; secondly, it seeks to harmonise the testing of wastewater by means of plausibility checks and common requirements for wastewater reporting, while also improving data quality and transparency; and thirdly, the initiative aims to forge cooperation arrangements and promote data exchange between all actors in the supply chain and with research establishments.

Working Meetings

In his opening words to the Working Meeting on 21 April 2020, head of the Partnership Secretariat Jürgen Janssen stressed that, ‘Only through collective action, a partnership approach and shared responsibility can the effects be mitigated, especially at the present time, and the goal of a sustainable textile supply chain be further pursued.’

The agenda included a live-streamed keynote by Karl-Hendrik Magnus, of McKinsey, nine webinars and a marketplace with seven booths. The sessions covered a wide range of topics, from circular economy to risk analysis, to supply chain mapping and complaints mechanisms. Current developments and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic naturally played a role in various contexts. You can still view recordings of some of the sessions on the website.

Members’ Meeting

‘On track’ was the topic of the 6th Members’ Meeting of the Textiles Partnership on 24 and 25 November 2020. In his welcoming note, Jürgen Janssen, head of the Partnership Secretariat, emphasised that the course towards due diligence and sustainability is ‘correct, relevant and forward-looking.’ The two-day event included a total of 14 sessions on a wide variety of Partnership issues, ranging from due diligence obligations and gender-based violence, responsible exit and living wages to supply chain transparency and climate action. Members can find recordings of the sessions in the Members’ area. The marketplace is still online with eight booths for the following topics: Partnership Initiatives Tamil Nadu, wastewater and complaints mechanisms, as well as expert groups on circular economy and climate action, SME Compass, Green Button (Grüner Knopf), and Review Process. 

We welcomed Rubana Huq (BGMEA), Mathijs Crietee (International Apparel Federation), Herman Leung (DAKOTA Garment Group), Nazma Akter (Awaj Foundation) and Christina Hajagos-Clausen (IndustriALL) to the panel discussion on Future Supply Chain Relations. 

Review-Prozess

In the Review Process, companies in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles report on their individual responsibility in their supply chains, set goals and define measures. In 2019, the Review Process was thoroughly revised and focus was placed on an individual  risk-based due diligence approach. The new Review Process is aligned with the requirements and provisions of international regulatory frameworks, in particular the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector. It was intended that the Partnership members would carry out the Review Process for the first time in its new form in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Steering Committee decided to postpone the launch for one year. 

LinkedIn & Twitter

The Textiles Partnership has had its own LinkedIn and Twitter accounts since 2019. On LinkedIn, the number of followers grew from 334 to 1,642 in 2020 (+ 392%), and on Twitter, from 321 to 422 (+ 31%). On both platforms, posts on the Partnership’s own activities received the most attention. Three tweets on the Annual Topic of gender-based violence and on our Partnership Initiatives made it into Twitter’s top 10, as did two tweets on the COVID-19 update on the PST website. 

Facts & Figures
Communication
Chapter 4
Core Fields of Work

Chapter 4.1

Individual Responsibility

Review Process

The members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles have set out to achieve social, environmental and economic improvements along the entire textile supply chain together with other companies and organisations. The Review Process substantiates and documents their individual commitment to this shared goal. At the heart of the reporting are risk analysis and risk prioritisation with regard to 11 social, environmental and corruption risks. Members use this as a basis for deriving goals in order to prevent potential risks and mitigate actual negative impacts.

After the 2019 OECD Alignment Assessment, the Review Process was supposed to take place in its revised version for the first time in 2020. Shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Steering Committee decided to suspend the 2020 Review Process. It began at the beginning of April 2021.

The review process takes place every two years. It essentially comprises five elements in chronological order.

The Steering Committee responded swiftly and decisively in March [2020]. By deferring the new Review Process in particular, it created scope for the Partnership to reorient itself in the midst of the crisis and make sure that the course towards due diligence and sustainability is correct, relevant and forward-looking. The Review Process will now commence in spring 2021 in what continue to be choppy waters, with coro¬navirus cliffs, trade currents that are difficult to predict, human rights shoals and storms intensified by climate change…

Jürgen Janssen, head of the Partnership Secretariat, in the foreword to the report on the 2020 Members’ Meeting

The Partnership Secretariat supports and accompanies members before and during the Review Process. Companies can carry out risk analyses using the Partnership’s new T-REXS tool. The tool for entering data (TexPerT) has also been updated. Two new guidelines provide step-by-step assistance through the Review Process and the risk analysis. In March 2021, the Partnership members had the opportunity to address individual sector risks during the ‘Fit for the Review Process’ week.

The 11 Sector Risks

The OECD has identified 11 risks of particular relevance to the textile and garment sector. Companies must address all these sector risks during the Review Process. On a case-by-case basis they examine if and how these sector risks occur (actual negative impacts) or could occur (potential risks) in their own value chain.

News

Textile Risk Expert System – T-REXS

The Textiles Partnership presents its new tool, which guides companies step by step through the risk analysis.

Chapter 4
Core Fields of Work
Chapter 4.3
Mutual Support

Chapter 4.3

Mutual Support

Learning and Dialogue

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles sees itself as a platform for sharing knowledge, learning and dialogue. Information and experience are processed and shared with all members via webinars and workshops, work in expert and project groups and by means of tools and support material.

The Textiles Partnership pursues a holistic approach and covers a wide range of themes. Working groups devote themselves to individual topics such as supply chain transparency, purchasing practices, chemical safety, or natural and synthetic fibres.

Four New Expert Groups

Expert groups aim to address individual topics across all three fields of work of the Textiles Partnership: individual responsibility, collective engagement and mutual support. Beyond this, they also strive to set up strategic cooperations on specific topics with relevant partners and organisations. Four new expert groups were launched in 2020, on climate action, circular economy, gender-based violence and chemical safety.

News

Expert group on circular economy

Around 35 Partnership members participate in the new expert group. They want to identify and develop best practices and guidelines on recyclable processes and products along the entire textile value chain.

News

Expert group on climate action

On October 1st, the new expert group (EG) on climate action was launched. It aims to develop best practices for minimising climate risks in all parts of the supply chain.

Coping with the crisis together

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles strove to provide its members with the best possible support, by means of numerous information and exchange formats, guidelines, a comprehensive range of information on the website and joint activities with other organisations.

COVID-19 Update

In its COVID-19 update on its website, the Textiles Partnership has given its members sector-specific information, amongst other things about impacts on textile supply chains, guiding principles for responsible purchasing practices and specific information on 15 producing countries.


Events

Wide range of topics reflected in events

Besides the various support activities related to COVID-19, a large number of mainly virtual events took place. The range of topics addressed by the Partnership was also reflected in the demand for and participation in learning and dialogue formats. These concerned supply chain management and relations with partners in the supply network, the implementation of due diligence obligations in each company and at political level, risk analysis, living wages and purchasing practices, circular economy, climate action and environmental topics.

Top 10 Events by number of participants

Working Meetings & Members’ Meeting

With the Zoom meetings, video calls and network meetings, virtual events characterised the year of the pandemic like never before. The two main annual events of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles – the Working Meeting and the Members’ Meeting – also took place online in 2020. Despite the lack of personal meetings or small-talk during coffee breaks, the online events nevertheless offered an opportunity to exchange ideas and information and to carry out substantive work on the topics addressed by the Textiles Partnership. The virtual formats also have the advantage that more people can participate, irrespective of their location. Thus, experts from Bangladesh, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong took part in the panel discussion, which was live-streamed to the participants’ (home) offices.

News

Review: Working meetings

Informing, playing a part, exchanging views: All this was offered at this year’s virtual Working Meeting. The recordings of the webinars and the market booths are still available.

News

Review: 6th Members’ Meeting

“On track” was the topic of the 6th Members’ Meeting of the Textiles Partnership on November, 24 and 25. In his welcoming address, Jürgen Janssen, head of the Partnership secretariat, emphasised that the course towards due diligence and sustainability is accurate, important and forward-looking.

News

Panel Discussion Future Supply Chain Relations

What will the supply chain relationships of the future look like? And what perspectives and expectations do the players in the production countries have? These were the questions that our panel discussion dealt with.


New Guidelines and Resources

The guideline on risk analysis help to identify and then prioritise the social, environmental and corruption risks in company’s supply chain. As well as meeting basic requirements for corporate due diligence processes, the risk analysis also forms the basis of the Review Process in the PST. The new Partnership tool, Textile Risk Expert System (T-REXS for short), offers support in this context.

The guidelines on supply chain transparency explain how supply chains can gradually be made more transparent. They provide the necessary information needed to map supply chains and the involved stakeholders beyond direct business partners. They also offer guidance on how greater transparency can be created for external stakeholders and what opportunities exist for disclosing supply chain data.

In 2020, the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) published the Playbook for Climate Action for the textile and garment sector. The Charter aims to achieve net zero emissions throughout the sector by 2050 at the latest. The Textiles Partnership is one of the Charter’s supporting organisations. The German translation of the Playbook for Climate Action is now available.

Guideline

Identifying and prioritising risks

The guidance shows how you can first identify and then prioritise the social, environmental and compliance risks in your company’s supply chain. In addition to meeting basic requirements for due diligence processes, the risk analysis is the basis for the PST Review Process.

Guideline

Step-by-Step Guide to Transparency in the Supply Chain

The Textiles Partnership has now published a new guide that supports brands in gradually achieving more transparency in their supply chain. It provides them with the necessary information to be able to map the supply chain and the stakeholders involved.

News

Textile Risk Expert System – T-REXS

The Textiles Partnership presents its new tool, which guides companies step by step through the risk analysis.

Chapter 4.1
Individual Responsibility
Chapter 4.2
Collective Engagement

Chapter 4.2

Collective Engagement

Partnership Initiatives

The Partnership Initiatives are based on the conviction that we can achieve more by working together. Several Partnership members join forces to achieve improvements collectively in the producing countries, using the companies’ purchasing power, the expertise and contacts of the non-governmental organisations and trade unions, and the German Government’s scope for influence. Suppliers and local stakeholders also play an important role. Four Partnership Initiatives are currently ongoing, and others are planned:

Wastewater

This initiative aims to achieve sustainable wastewater management at textile factories and production sites, using capacity building, the harmonisation of wastewater standards, improved data and analytical quality, exchanges and knowledge transfer, and other approaches.  More Information

Complaints Mechanisms

Workers in the textile supply chain should also be enabled to lodge complaints. This calls for effective complaints and remediation mechanisms. In this area, the PST cooperates with the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textiles (AGT). 

Living Wages

Although minimum wages apply in many producing countries, they are often not enough to live on. The Textiles Partnership therefore advocates payment of living wages. Members involved in this initiative devote themselves in particular to installing responsible purchasing practices, freedom of association, and collective bargaining in producing countries.  More Information

Improving working conditions in Tamil Nadu

The Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu aims at systematically improving the working conditions within the textile and clothing industry in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, especially for women and girls working in spinning mills.. To this end, it is working to strengthen the multi-stakeholder dialogue at state and district level, and to deliver training to inform and teach workers and factory managers with regard to their rights.  More Information

In 2020, 26 members 26 members were engaged in the three Partnership Initiatives Tamil Nadu, Wastewater and Living Wages. Quite a few of them are active in two or even all three initiatives. The Partnership Initiative on complaints mechanisms was still being set up and is about to be launched soon.


Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu: First Project Phase Completed

Results and Achievements

In 2020, the first project phase of the PI Tamil Nadu (July 2018 to September 2020) ended – with these results and achievements:

NGOs, trade unions, actors from politics and administration as well as companies and associations participate in the stakeholder dialogue. In a total of 38 meetings at district level, 6 meetings at state level and 2 annual conferences, they built trust with each other and started working together. In all four districts – Tirupur, Coimbatore, Erode and Dindigul – steering committees were formed, which have developed action plans and are now implementing them. The action plans address issues such as working conditions in factory hostels, harassment at the workplace, social protection and labour laws. In addition to the four district committees, another steering committee was formed at the state level.

These are the achievements of the training module:

Starting the second project phase with more trust and commitment

The members of the PI agree: Based on the successes and lessons learnt, they want to continue their joint activities. That is why they are currently preparing the next phase. In particular, the structures created and the trust between the stakeholders are to be consolidated and further developed.

 

The Partnership Initiative in Tamil Nadu reacts to the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, some of the factory trainings could not take place as planned. Therefore, the members of the PI decided to reallocate some of the funds so that the local implementation organisation SAVE could contribute to hygiene and infection control in the production facilities. Among other things, it distributed government guidelines on handling COVID-19 in about 580 spinning mills and factories. In addition, she sought dialogue with political representatives in the four districts in order to respond to the increasing number of reported cases of child labour.

News

Statements from Tamil Nadu

At the 2nd Annual Conference of the MSI-TN, we interviewed some attendees. We asked them how they assess the work of the MSI-TN, how they work with the MSI-TN and what their wishes for the future are.

News

2nd annual conference of MSI-TN

The MSI-TN is making progress. This became visible at the Second International Annual Conference. About 140 participants attended the conference on 6th February 2020 in Coimbatore, which was supported by the Partnership Initiative Tamil Nadu.


Partnership Initiative Living Wages

In the second module of the PI, the Fair Wear Foundation, the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT) and the PST jointly offer supplier trainings. The aim of the trainings is to inform suppliers about basic social standards. They also learn tools and methods to help them raise wages for workers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the supplier trainings could not take place as originally planned. However, two online trainings took place in September and November 2020, which were also attended by suppliers from PST companies. Further trainings are planned for autumn 2021.


Partnership Initiative Wastewater

At the beginning of the joint work of the Partnership Initiative Wastewater, existing approaches to wastewater management and wastewater reports were compared and an internal collection of challenges and shortcomings was compiled. After this review, the members of the PI agreed on the development and addition of specific support tools for brands and manufacturers.

Currently, the guide on the elimination of hazardous chemicals is being completed and a booklet on wastewater management as well as a plausibility check of wastewater reports are being developed. After completion of the support tools, the focus will be on their application on site. To this end, e-learning sessions are planned in cooperation with partners.

News

Start of the Partnership Initiative Wastewater

Sustainable wastewater management in the textile supply chain is the goal of the new Partnership Initiative. The focus countries are Taiwan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Pakistan and Turkey.


More Information on the Partnership Initiatives

Details on the Partnership Initiatives can be found on the website. What happened in the Partnership Initiatives in 2020, what activities took place and what progress was made, you can read in the report on the 2020 Members´ Meeting.

Report on the 2020 Members’ Meeting

News from our Partnership Initiatives

Read the report on the 2020 Members’ Meeting to learn about developments in the Partnership Initiatives in 2020, what activities were carried out and how successful they were.

Chapter 4.3
Mutual Support
Chapter 4.4
Internationalisation

Chapter 4.4

Internationalisation

Strategic Cooperation

It is not only during the crisis that joining forces with other initiatives adds a great deal of value. Already at the foundation of the Textiles Partnership it was clear that, being a national initiative in a globally networked sector, it would need to establish relations with other European and international initiatives. To this end, the Partnership has entered into 10 strategic cooperation arrangements with other initiatives since 2017. Through the international network of cooperation partners, Partnership members gain access to the expertise, instruments and contacts of other sector initiatives.

The cooperation arrangements pursue two overarching objectives. On the one hand, they are intended to support Partnership members in pursuing the Partnership’s objectives and thereby enhancing the results it achieves in producing countries. On the other, they contribute towards harmonising the sustainability requirements to be met by companies in the textile sector.

The cooperation differ depending on the partners involved, but regardless of the topic, the overarching purpose is to promote the due diligence approach at EU level and to recognise reciprocal engagement. Cooperation arrangements addressing specific topics intensify exchanges, for instance about living wages, complaints mechanisms, the use of chemicals or fibres, to name just a few. In 2020, the PST entered into two new cooperation arrangements with the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) and the Open Apparel Registry (ORA).

News

Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA)

The aim of the cooperation between Textiles Partnership and Organic Cotton Accelerator is to promote the availability of organic cotton and to improve the alignment of supply and demand.

News

Open Apparel Registry (OAR)

The Textiles Partnership supports the uniform and reliable database of the OAR and publishes an aggregated list of about 6900 production sites of 23 Partnership members.

COVID-19: Cooperation stepped up with other initiatives

The months of the pandemic have once again confirmed a big part of what the Partnership is about: the fact that challenges are better met by working together. The Textiles Partnership has therefore stepped up its exchanges with other sector initiatives, including as many as 13 multi-stakeholder initiatives and sector organisations.

At the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, the group met for discussions in weekly video conferences. Particularly at the start of the pandemic, the main questions were: How should brands and retailers, traders, suppliers and producers respond in the short term to the rising number of infections? How should they react to shop closures and the massive slump in demand? What does the pandemic mean for the social and environmental conditions in the supply chain?

The initiatives also exchanged information on how governments in the producing countries were reacting to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. They wrote a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling on him to uphold international labour standards. The letter was signed by 49 companies purchasing in India, including 14 Partnership members.

News

Joint Statement Responding responsibly to the COVID-19 crisis

In April, 13 organisations compiled a joint statement, ‘Responding responsibly to the COVID-19 crisis’. This instructs members on good purchasing practices and responsible business conduct during the pandemic.

The respective organisations also frequently offered their services to members of other multi-stakeholder initiatives in order to combine resources and support as many people as possible during the crisis. For instance, more than 200 representatives of Partnership members and other companies took part in the Partnership’s seven online seminars examining the situation in selected producing countries. Together with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), the Textiles Partnership organised webinars on dealing with job cuts and wage payments.

News

Letter to the Indian Government

49 companies, which purchase in India, have approached the Indian government with a joint letter. In the letter, they request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to maintain international labour standards. 14 Members of the Textiles Partnership have also signed the letter.

Chapter 4.2
Collective Engagement
Chapter 5
Annual Topic Gender-Based Violence

Chapter 5

Annual Topic Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence was our 2020 Annual Topic in the Textiles Partnership. In February 2020, 14 Partnership members formed an expert group on this topic, which addresses the issue as it relates to the Partnership’s three areas of work, i.e. to support members in the 2021 Review Process, to promote collective engagement, and to create support services and exchange formats. In November 2020, the Steering Committee decided to extend the mandate of this expert group.

News

Annual Topic 2020

In 2020, Gender-based violence is highlighted as the annual topic in the Textiles Partnership. Introduction to the topic and overview over the activities.

7 Webinars on Gender-Based Violence

In the course of the year, many events related to the Annual Topic were held, examining discrimination, gender-based violence and harassment. Here is a screenshot from a session at the Members’ Meeting entitled ‘How to address the sector risk of gender-based violence at factory level. Perspectives from Bangladesh’

New Resources

A new guidance document deals with the gender-sensitive design of social audits. It was developed in a project by members of the PST, the International Association of the Natural Textile Industry (IVN) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Over the past months, the project partners have worked intensively on the challenges of identifying gender-based violence in social audits and how gender-sensitive audits can be better integrated into due diligence processes.

In addition, nine country-specific factsheets on gender-based violence in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Poland, Turkey and Vietnam are available to PST members in the members’ area.

3 Articles on GBVH

News

ILO Convention No. 190

In this interview, Dr Christina Stockfisch of the German Trade Union Confederation, who was actively involved in the negotiations, explains what progress the Convention represents, and what it is about in real terms.

Guest article by Sina Marx (FEMNET)

Prevent violence against women in factories. But how?

All over the world, irrespective of their origins, incomes or the sectors they work in, women experience violence in the workplace. […] The textile industry is one of the sectors that foster structural violence towards and harassment of women workers.

News

Invisible Women: Due Diligence Risks & Gender Data Gap

Although women account for an estimated 70% of the 60 million garment and textile workers worldwide, they are often ‘invisible’, with little accurate data or information available on their participation, roles and conditions of work. Text written by Stephanie Barrientos.


Annual Topic 2021: Responsible Purchasing Practices

Effective cooperation between purchasing companies and suppliers based on partnership is crucial to protect the rights of workers in the supply chain. The COVID-19 crisis has once again made this particularly clear. With the Annual Topic 2021, we want to contribute to an industry-wide improvement of purchasing practices and to create space for progress towards good working conditions and living wages; in the sense of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for the textile sector. More Information

Chapter 4.4
Internationalisation