Partnership for Sustainable Textiles
The aim of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is to improve social and ecological conditions in textile supply chains. In 2014, the Partnership was initiated by German Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller in response to the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh. It is the first point of contact for all companies that want to assume their ecological and human rights due diligence throughout the supply chain.
As a multi-stakeholder initiative, the Textiles Partnership brings together all stakeholders and provides them with a network and support. At the beginning of 2021, the Partnership had around 140 members, including companies, associations, trade unions, civil society actors, standard setting organisations and the German Federal Government. The companies in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles represent almost half of the retail sales of the German textile and fashion industry.
The objectives, issues and processes in the Textile Partnership are based on international standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the ILO core labor standards. The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector serves as main orientation in the work of the Partnership. The due diligence approach enables member companies to meet the requirements of the German Government’s National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights.
How does the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles achieve its goals?
|Through individual responsibility, collective engagement and mutual support, Partnership members strive towards social and environmental improvements throughout the textile supply chain.
To enable member companies to meet their due diligence obligations, the Textiles Partnership has developed an industry-specific implementation framework and a reporting format (Review Process).
In addition, members join forces in Partnership Initiatives, as more can be achieved together than alone. The Partnership Initiatives are active on site in producing countries, for example to improve working conditions in Tamil Nadu. There are also initiatives on living wages, wastewater management and complaints mechanisms. The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles also sees itself as a platform for learning and dialogue. Through webinars and workshops, work in expert and project groups, as well as tools and support material, information and experiences are prepared and shared with all members.
How does the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles work?
A Steering Committee is the decision-making body of the Textiles Partnership and responsible for the strategic development. It is elected every two years and consists of twelve representatives of the various stakeholder groups.
Expert groups and peer learning groups aim to address individual issues across all three areas of work in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles: Individual Responsibility, Collective Engagement and Mutual Support. For example, they work on circular economy, climate action, chemical and natural fibers, purchasing practices or gender-based violence. Furthermore, they strive for topic-specific cooperation with relevant partners and organizations.
The Partnership Secretariat supports all operational tasks and processes, including the preparation and execution of conference calls, meetings, workshops and other events.
Strategic Cooperation and Internationalization
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 a network with other European and international initiatives. To this end, it has entered around ten strategic cooperations with other initiatives since 2017, including the Fair Wear Foundation, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Exchange and ZDHC. Through cooperation with the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT), it is possible for members of both initiatives to become associate members of the other initiative.
How is the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles financed?
Up to and including December 2022, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will provide basic funding for the Partnership Secretariat. No membership fees are charged. When participating in Partnership Initiatives, members contribute partly through financial contributions and partly through in-kind services.