Top global apparel and footwear brands pick SL to launch Social & Labour Convergence Project

Thursday, 1 November 2018 01:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), one of the signatories to the project aimed at facilitating improved working conditions in apparel and footwear industries, announced that the recent decision by the prestigious Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) whose membership includes world’s best known brands to launch the Social & Labour Convergence Project in Sri Lanka was a major boost to the two industries and Sri Lanka in particular. 

The project once implemented would have the potential to revolutionise the way manufacturers within the global apparel and footwear industry are evaluated by their buyers and address one of the key challenges the local industries have faced for years, that of audit fatigue.

JAAF was the first industry organisation to be a signatory of the project that was launched in early 2016 to develop a simple, unified and effective industry-wide assessment framework and data collection system within the apparel and footwear industry to reduce the audit fatigue of handling multiple audits, maximise resources (time, energy, money) which can be channelled for improvement of social and labour conditions, thereby increasing efficiency in the industry. Moving away from traditional auditing the SCLP strives to achieve a participatory approach from all stakeholders.  

Over the last 30 months the project has gathered momentum with 183 signatories currently committed to meeting the objectives of the project and having signed off on the Converged Assessment Framework they created together. 

This multi-stakeholder initiative includes 64 brands such as Nike, H&M, Gap Inc. and PVH, 38 manufacturers, audit agencies, consultancies, civil society and industry associations as well as governments. The ILO, OECD have joined the initiatives as observers. MAS Holdings, Hirdaramani Group as signatories have provided leadership to this project right from the beginning.   

The training (9-12 October) in Colombo marked the global launch of the SLCP operation and was conducted by JAAF, SLCP and ITC with the support of MAS Holdings and Hirdaramani Group; 37 factories and 17 verifiers from Sri Lanka will be involved in the SLCP Operation for 2018, with back-up of 23 brands. The SLCP will go to scale from 2019 onwards, when the program will be rolled out to other countries as well.

“There is a recognition that the only way to make a significant improvement in the industry is through collaboration and collective action. Major brands doing business in Sri Lanka have committed to adopt this tool for their suppliers. In the coming months it is expected that there will be a wide adoption of the SLCP Converged Assessment Framework, hereby increasing industry efficiency in the social and labour space,” said Nikhil Hirdaramani, who is representing JAAF in this project.