Closing living wage gaps in garment supply chains: From commitment to action
Living wages are an essential element of the concept and standards of responsible business conduct, on which there is broad consensus that a joint approach is needed to achieve systemic change. The session will provide an overview of the current state of play and explore existing methodologies and frameworks for collaboration between industry, trade unions and governments to close living wage gaps and address other RBC risks linked to low wages. The panel will reflect on main obstacles and identify key areas for action and next steps to scale up implementation in the industry. The session will also provide the opportunity to present and discuss a Handbook for companies to enable living incomes and wages in global supply chains currently developed by the OECD.
Assessing RBC due diligence implementation: Reflecting a risk-based approach
Assessing company due diligence efforts is essential to ascertain whether increasing reporting requirements, voluntary commitments and due diligence obligations are effectively implemented in garment and footwear supply chains. The session will explore different options for assessing RBC due diligence. It will consider the opportunities and challenges involved in moving beyond traditional compliance-based checklists towards more risk-based, dynamic approaches. The panellists will discuss assessment efforts by, for example, voluntary initiatives and government agencies and explore whether different sources of information and meaningful indicators of progress are sufficiently considered when assessing RBC due diligence.
Due Diligence of circular value chains: Addressing the risks associated with circular processes
Increasing expectations from consumers and legislators on garment and footwear companies to reduce their environmental footprint are driving brands and producers alike to look for ways of keeping the value of products and materials as long as possible in the production and use cycle. In transitioning to circular approaches, companies create new business linkages both upstream and downstream of their value chain that require them to extend their due diligence to new associated risks. The session will explore what new business relationships, for instance, with recyclers, sorters, collectors or new materials producers and processors imply for RBC due diligence, and what considerations are important when exercising due diligence on circular value chains.
Worker engagement and the role of trade unions in due diligence
To ensure meaningful due diligence, companies need to actively engage with workers and trade unions in every step of the due diligence process. The session will provide an opportunity to reflect on the right to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining and discuss the need for engaging trade unions and workers in the design, implementation and tracking of due diligence. Panellists will identify obstacles to meaningful worker engagement, share best practice examples, and discuss approaches how to improve worker engagement in the sector through, for example, workers’ access to data, training, use of worker voice tools and global framework agreements.
The cocktail will be held in the Château de la Muette (rooms Roger Ockrent and Georges Marshall) next to the Conference Centre
February 17, 2023
08:00 - 08:30
Registration and Welcome Coffee
08:30 - 10:00
Greenwashing your clothes? Addressing unsubstantiated sustainability claims in the garment and footwear sector
For many companies in the garment and footwear sector, product sustainability claims have been the answer to increased market expectations to prove their efforts. Recent investigations by consumer market authorities in the sector, however, found that product claims used by companies and retailers are often not sufficiently backed by product-specific data, were too generic or selective. The session aims to explore the types of claims used by companies and retailers and discuss the implications of unsubstantiated claims for companies and the industry at large. Panellists will discuss whether claims can become more credible by improved data collection, transparency, and awareness. They will also explore whether collecting specific and reliable data to back sustainability claims will remain impossible as long as supply chains remain volatile and complex.
Implementing impactful due diligence: A practical perspective from Vietnam
OECD-based Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence is increasingly becoming the norm for mandatory and voluntary regulation across market countries. How can policies be shaped and implemented to realise positive impact on working conditions and the environment? Policy makers and industry experts from Europe and Vietnam discuss this in a two panel, two country Forum session connecting Hanoi and Paris through a partnership between the OECD and The Industry We Want.
Due diligence in conflict-affected and high-risk contexts: Enhanced due diligence or responsible disengagement?
Since the 2021 military coup in Myanmar, the recent financial and humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, the civil conflict in Ethiopia’s region of Tigray, or the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, major garment producing countries have turned into high-risk areas. This confronts responsible international buyers with the dilemma of having to decide whether to continue to operate in those areas to secure the jobs of garment workers, or to disengage to avoid involuntarily contributing to human rights violations. The session will take a critical look at these options and review other considerations when sourcing from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. It will examine the stakes in light of OECD recommendations on enhanced due diligence and responsible disengagement, as well as some of the practical challenges entailed in applying these recommendations in high-risk settings.
Due diligence costs and responsibilities: Collaborative approaches to buyer supplier relationships
Buyer-supplier collaboration on due diligence implementation based on distribution of costs and responsibilities along the supply chain can help support the development of effective due diligence processes and a more equal distribution of the burden of compliance. Within the context of increasing due diligence legislation, and the risk of unduly cascading RBC expectations to upstream parts of the supply chain, the panel will reflect on the benefits and limitations of buyer-supplier collaboration models and highlight current industry examples of successful approaches to shared implementation of due diligence.