Fairtrade unveils new textile standard; CCC opposes
Bonn-headquartered Fairtrade International has announced the publication of the new Fairtrade Textile Standard. It is one component of the greater Fairtrade Textile Programme to facilitate change in textile supply chains and related business practices.
Fairtrade claims this comprehensive approach engages manufacturers and workers in the supply chain to bring about better wages and working conditions, and engages brands to commit to fair terms of trade.
During its meetings that took place in September and November 2015 and in February 2016 the Standards Committee unanimously approved the content and scope of the Fairtrade Textile Standard.
The Fairtrade Textile Standard was developed in consultation with other existing social initiatives and standards, experts in economics, workers’ rights, textile production and distribution, as well as representatives of the workers themselves, Fairtrade said.
This standard applies to operators employing hired workers in the textile supply chain processing Fairtrade certified cotton and other sustainable fibres. This includes, but is not restricted to, ginners, spinning, weaving, knitting, and cut-make-trim stages of textile production. This standard is applicable in countries and regions where freedom of association is possible, as determined by the Textile Standard geographic scope policy.
This standard also applies to brand owners purchasing finished textiles. The brand owner must have a contract with the relevant National Fairtrade Organization or Fairtrade International which includes the brand’s commitment to responsible purchasing practices such as feasible lead times and paying fair prices that allow suppliers to pay living wages
The standard will be applicable from June 1, 2016 and the certification body will start auditing against the new standard from this date.
Among other things the Fairtrade Textile Standard seeks to address workers’ issues such as living wage, empowerment, occupational health and safety and conditions of employment.
But the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), the garment industry's largest alliance of labour unions and non-governmental organizations, has opposed the Fairtrade Textile Standard.
Amsterdam-based Clean Clothes Campaign said in a press release that a product label approach based on audits, which pushes responsibility and costs down on the suppliers and accepts that a living wage is not paid, will not benefit garment workers.
CCC argues that product label approach is not the right tool for this industry and that the standard diverts responsibility away from brands.
CCC also says that a standard relying on inspections and certification is dangerous and marking garments as “fairtrade” without paying a living wage is unacceptable and misleads consumers.
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