Policy Initiatives for Better Wage Systems

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Global Fashion Agenda proactively advocates for policy changes and supportive measures that reinforce sustainability targets and prompt policymakers to take informed action to foster necessary change. The GFA Monitor report is built on five sustainability priorities and outlines the opportunities and actions required for fashion brands and retailers to shift to a net positive fashion industry by 2050.

One of these priorities is Better Wage Systems. Living wages are essential to ensure workers can live in dignity and support their families. Research suggests that wages paid in many garment-producing countries are insufficient to support decent livelihoods. Although most fashion brands do not pay the wages of production workers directly, they can make a difference by working with their partners to promote fair compensation and better wage systems, underpinned by fair purchasing practices that will help end poverty for millions of garment workers globally. Policy can play a crucial role in ensuring living wages globally.

Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence

In relation to Better Wage Systems, a non-binding communication on “decent work worldwide” was published alongside the proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence by the European Commission. The communication details how the Commission intends to ban goods made with forced labour from circulating within the EU Single Market and sets out upcoming and existing EU tools in four areas: EU policies and initiatives with outreach beyond the EU; EU bilateral and regional relations; EU in international and multilateral fora and engagement with stakeholders and in global partnerships.

Furthermore, fair living wages and decent living are included a part of the list of violations of human rights and environmental obligations included in the Directive’s annex.

The policy initiative is currently under discussion at the European Parliament and the Council for approval. Once adopted, member states will have two years to transpose the Directive within national law. Furthermore, the proposal for a regulation on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market is a priority for von der Leyen, the proposal was released by the Commission on the 14th of September 2022, and could be enforced within one to two years.

Read the Proposal for a regulation on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market here. Read the Proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence here.


New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act

At the US level, New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act also proposes measures on supply chain mapping for increased transparency and traceability in the supply chain. The Fashion Act was first introduced in October 2021 (the bill must now await next year’s session, due to commence in January)  by New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assembly woman Anna R. Kelles.

Sustainable finance

Lastly the EU’s different regulations on sustainable finance (i.e. the Taxonomy Regulation that sets out the overarching conditions that an economic activity has to meet in order to qualify as environmentally sustainable) are also expected to play an important role when it comes to channelling investment to ESG-positive companies.

Global Fashion Agenda is working closely with the Policy Hub-Circularity for Apparel and Footwear on the amendments to the Corporate Due Diligence Directive at the European Parliament level. Chair of the Policy Hub, Baptiste Carrière-Pradal shared: “The Policy Hub is pleased to have witnessed the Commission’s aim to release a proposal for a regulation on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market. This is a substantial proposal, and we entirely support and acknowledge the urgency to cease such improper practices in the industry.”

Global Fashion Agenda is one of the four members of the Steering Committee of the Policy Hub – Circularity for Apparel and Footwear. Our position papers and related advocacy actions can be found at www.policyhub.org

Download The GFA Monitor to learn more here.

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