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. The first of the five priorities is Respectful & Secure Work Environments. Policy initiatives present important opportunities to drive and incentivise positive social and economic development for the people the fashion value cycle employs, their families, and their communities. This can be achieved by the setting of mandatory measures that uphold human rights and ensure secure working conditions, fair wages, and wellbeing. Improvements in Respectful and Secure Work Environments are expected to be impacted by two important ongoing policy initiatives.
EU proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence
The first proposal implicating this priority is the EU’s long-awaited legislative proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. It was published by the European Commission on 23 February 2022 with the general aim of motivating companies to inspect their supply chains for human rights and environmental breaches. The textiles sector has been included among those on which the proposed Directive will have a high impact. Important to note that its Annex provides a list of violations of human rights and environmental obligations that include working conditions, and which will then be used to determine the adverse impact on human rights and environment as part of the due diligence. The Directive would enter into force as of 2025-2026 following the final adoption by the EU co-legislators and the transposition by the Member States into their national systems.
The New York Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act
The second initiative relevant to The GFA Monitor priority of ‘Respectful and Secure Work Environments’ is the New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act introduced in October 2021. If adopted with its current suggested provisions (the bill must now await next year’s session, due to commence in January), it would include an obligation of Social and Environmental Due Diligence Disclosure to apparel and footwear companies with more than 100 million USD in revenue doing business in New York.
Policymakers worldwide must not overlook the significance of the fashion industry and instead should follow suit in proposing mandatory measures for companies in a crucial step towards industry accountability for respectful and secure work environments.
“Global Fashion Agenda is currently working together with the Policy Hub-Circularity for Apparel and Footwear on the amendments to the Corporate Due Diligence Directive at the European Parliament level and is looking forward to knowing more about its enforcement in the textile sector announced by the European Commission as of 2023 part of the EU Textiles Strategy. This is a crucial file and we fully recognise the importance for companies to take responsibility to respect human rights and protect the environment.” – Maria Luisa Martínez Díez, Public Affairs Director, Global Fashion Agenda.
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Global Fashion Agenda is one of the five 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