Doing Business Right Event! Supply chain regulation in the garment industry on 29 June @Asser Institute

The negative impact on human rights of what we wear is not always well-known to the consumer. Our clothing consumption has increased over five times since the Nineties. At the same time, the business model of certain fashion brands is too often dependent on widespread human rights and labour rights violations to be profitable, cheap, and fast. The 2013 tragedy of Rana Plaza, where more than 1100 garment workers died, gives us just a small hint of the true costs of our clothes and footwear. Efforts by governments to tame the negative effects of transnational supply chains have proven difficult due to the extreme delocalisation of production, and the difficulty to even be aware of a company’s last tier of suppliers in certain developing countries. 

However, in recent years, initiatives have emerged which pivot on business’ due diligence and self-regulation, under a process initiated and supported by governments, international organisations and NGOs. The approval, in February 2017, of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector might induce a transformation in the way the sector deals with the issue. It is a multi-stakeholder-negotiated guidance tool specifically designed for enterprises in the garment and footwear supply chain to implement the due diligence recommendations contained in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a host of ILO Conventions and Recommendations. At the national level, just a few months earlier, in July 2016, the Sustainable Garment and Textile Sector Agreement was signed by the Dutch Government, trade unions, several business and non-governmental organisations. When producing in developing countries, the signatories commit to cooperate on the prevention of discrimination, child labour and forced labour, to promote the right to collective bargaining by independent trade unions, living wages, healthy and safe working conditions, and to reduce the negative environmental impact of clothing production. Also EU activity is on the rise: the EU Commission in recent years has initiated a host of initiatives in the framework of external action, and the European Parliament has recently approved a motion for a EU flagship initiative on the garment sector calling on the Commission to table a proposal for mandatory supply chain regulation.

On 29 June 2017, the T.M.C. Asser Institute organises a roundtable on sustainability in the garment industry to discuss how better regulation can tame the negative effects of transnational supply chains. The roundtable brings together experts from international organisations, EU institutions, the Dutch government, non-governmental organisations, and the business world. The speakers will discuss the evolution of the regulatory efforts to curtail human rights violations in global supply chain by means of the establishment of clear, precise and enforceable commitments for the business community. They will highlight social, economical, and legal challenges and opportunities lying ahead for public and private partnerships in the transnational regulation of business conduct.


14:30 - 14:45 Opening - Antoine Duval (Asser Institute)

14:45 - 15:15  Keynote presentation

‘Corporate due diligence in the garment industry. Which role for the European Union?’ Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament (GroenLinks)

15:15 – 16:30 Panel Roundtable - Enrico Partiti (Moderator, Asser Institute)

  • Mariëlle van der Linden (International CSR Unit Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Lodewijk de Waal (Chairman, National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises
  • Roel Nieuwenkamp (Chair OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct)
  • Sibbe Krol (The Sustainable Trade Initiative)
  • Jeroen van Dijken (Vereniging van Grootwinkelbedrijven in Textiel (VGT)

16:30 – 17:00   Q&A

17:00  Reception

Registration: Registration for this event is mandatory, as a limited number of seats are available. Please register here    

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