German-Dutch partnership focuses on sustainable textiles

The German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textilehave signed a cooperation agreement to support companies in implementing due diligence by harmonising sustainability requirements. The cooperation will increase the influence on labour rights and the environment in producing countries.

The German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is a multi-actor partnership made up of companies, unions, non-governmental organisations, and standards organisations, as well as the Federal Government. The Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile Sector is a new instrument to work on the transition to sustainable, responsible international production and supply chains. The association was announced at the OECD forum in Paris demonstrating the importance of the diligence approach of the United Nations and the OECD for both initiatives.

“With the challenges in global textile supply chains in mind, the cooperation between Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile and the Textiles Partnership is the proper approach in order to achieve permanent systemic change. On the way to joint European and international action, the alignment of sustainability requirements and tools is an important milestone,” Dr Juergen Janssen, head of the secretariat of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles.

“The cooperation of the two existing national multi-stakeholder initiatives in the textile sector operating on the European market is an important step towards strengthening our impact. It leads us on the path to create, at least on the European level, a level playing field. This is an important aspect in making sure that Due Diligence is not an issue of competition, but rather a common denominator,” Pierre Hupperts, chairman of the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile.

“Major European textile companies have pressed for alignment of national textile initiatives within the EU. The Dutch and German agreement will contribute to clear guidance for business and better results for the working conditions and lives of millions of people in the garment industry,” Sigrid Kaag, Dutch minister of foreign tradeand development cooperation.

“This cooperation contributes to implement due diligence that is in line with the OECD guidelines throughout the EU market. It is a continuation upon the trustful collaboration between the German and the Dutch governments that exist for years with regard to this topic,” Dr Bernhard Felmberg, German federal ministry on economic cooperation and development and moderator of the steering committee of the Textiles Partnership.

“C&A, as a member of both initiatives, warmly welcomes the cooperation between them. We believe that this partnership will create further synergies for member companies in implementing supply chain due diligence. It is important that fashion brands and retailers collaborate to address industry-wide sustainability issues together. We are happy to see that both initiatives have made strong commitment towards this new partnership,” Aleix Busquets Gonzalez, global head of external stakeholder engagement at C&A.

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Renato Gerletti