Global Fashion Agenda participated in and closely contributed to the 2023 OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector.
During a side session that took place online on 14 February entitled ‘The interplay of Due Diligence and Upstream Circular Fashion Systems’ Global Fashion Agenda presented an interactive dialog with public and private sector actors on the connection between establishing circular fashion systems in manufacturing countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Viet Nam, and mandatory Human Rights & Environmental Due Diligence. Alongside our Director of Impact & Sustainability, Holly Syrett, participants included representatives from the Policy Hub-Circularity for Apparel and Footwear, H&M Group, GIZ FABRIC and BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association).
The conversation shed light into the current barriers to collectively establish circular systems that benefit all stakeholders and utilise post-industrial waste opportunity. These include the lack of knowledge and knowledge sharing amongst the different stakeholders; the need for robust data; the fragmentation of the value chain; tax implications and the lack of incentives to bring in recyclers/technologies from EU/US to Asia. Amongst the policy recommendations were the importance of strengthening the risk phased approach in the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive currently under discussion at EU level and the need for harmonisation amongst all the pieces of legislation when it comes to reporting and information sharing requirements to make sure manufacturers are not overburdened.
Our Public Affairs Director, María Luisa Martínez Díez was amongst the speakers of the in person session, ‘Due Diligence of circular value chains: Addressing the risks associated with circular processes’ that took place on 16 February. Together with Zubeida Zwavel (Executive Director of the Centre for African Resource Efficiency and Sustainability (CARES) South Africa), Mauro Scalia (Director of Sustainable Businesses at Euratex) and Tobias Fischer (Development Sustainability Manager at H&M Group) she discussed what new business relationships, for instance, with recyclers, sorters, collectors, or new materials producers and processors imply for Responsible Business Conducts on due diligence, and what considerations are important when exercising due diligence on circular value chains.
María Luisa highlighted the drivers of circularity such as the adoption of circular design principles, bringing new business models to scale and more investment into textile-to-textile recycling technologies as well as activities GFA is conducting to accelerate circular practices. These include The Global Circular Fashion Forum (GCFF), a new global initiative established by GFA and funded by GIZ. The GCFF will spur local action in textile manufacturing countries to accelerate and scale recycling of post-industrial textile waste in an effort to achieve a long-term, scalable, and just transition to a circular fashion industry. The GCFF builds on GFA’s experiences with the Circular Fashion Partnership (CFP) in Bangladesh that demonstrated the potential for domestically accelerating and scaling the recycling of post-industrial textile waste to create new textiles.
The results of the conversations will contribute to ongoing research led by the OECD on the structure of circular value chains in the garment and footwear sector.