The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) along with leading apparel brands including H&M, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co, Gap, Target and Timberland, have launched the Social and Labor Convergence Project to help improve working conditions in global apparel and footwear manufacturing.
The project seeks to achieve “real, sustainable change through the collective development of an industry-wide, standardised methodology for social and labour performance assessment in the apparel and footwear supply chains”. The SAC believes that through convergence of assessment tools, costs on duplicated auditing will be significantly reduced, and the money saved will instead be used to improve social welfare for millions of people employed in the sector.
Signatories to the public statement include both SAC members and non-members, as well as a handful of NGOs, auditing firms and non-profit organisations. Other fashion brands leading the charge includes Denmark’s Bestseller Group, which includes Vero Moda, Vila and Jack and Jones, PVH Corp, Columbia Sportswear Co, Adidas, Burton, Asics, Inditex, Patagonia, and Puma.
Baptiste Carriere-Pradal, vice-president Europe of SAC said: “The industry, having heard the call from so many different stakeholders, is convinced that the time has come to create greater alignment.
“We want to check less and act more: This initiative will accelerate a race to the top in social impacts within apparel and footwear manufacturing countries by shifting resources away from redundant and misaligned assessments to performance improvement and enhanced transparency. Convergence is the key to successfully increase transparency and to improve working conditions in global supply chains.”
Michael Kobori, VP of sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co, added: “As a company with a pioneering record on labour rights and a long history of industry collaboration, we welcome the opportunity to explore how to support more effective and efficient ways to raise labor standards in the apparel supply chain.”