In the Textile Partnership , the federal government, textile and apparel industry, retail, trade unions and civil society are joining forces to put improved internationally recognized environmental and social standards into practice throughout the value chain of textile production.
With this, disasters such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013 should be avoided in the future.
In the fall of 2014, we became a founding member of the Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien (Alliance for Sustainable Textiles.) Jan Lorch (Head of Sales and CSR) represented VAUDE in the interim steering committee, which carried out the Strategy and Process Planning of the alliance until 31 July 2015.
Since August 2015, Jan Lorch has been an active member of the working group for the development of a review process, which will guarantee the implementation, evaluation and reporting of jointly defined measures.
The objectives of the Textile Partnership are consistent with our corporate objectives. Our vision is to be the most sustainable outdoor outfitter in Europe. From experience, we know that it is extremely difficult for us as a family owned company to change the conditions in the textile manufacturing alone. Therefore, we have always committed ourselves to a joint approach across the industry and to political support.
With the establishment of the Textile Partnership, the federal government is taking an important first step in this direction. We welcome the fact that the federal government itself is contributing, with financial support of specific projects and measures in the environmental and social arena, with public-private partnerships with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (Society for International Cooperation), GIZ, and the further integration of sustainability criteria in public procurement.
»In my view, the textile alliance is a great opportunity to work together to address problems in our supply chain and existing business models and actually make a major, positive changes.«
Antje von Dewitz, CEO
We are encouraged that, for the first time, the social and environmental sustainability of textile products is so high on the political agenda. We consider it a positive signal that one year after the founding of the alliance, membership has grown five-fold. It is gratifying that all participants, including very critical campaign organizations, are constructively, professionally and with international agreements all pulling in the same direction. We hope that awareness of the challenges in textile production – both in the industry and among consumers – will be raised significantly.
We expect that existing social and environmental standards and initiatives such as the Fair Wear Foundation or the bluesign® Standard – which area already experienced in these areas – will become much better known and that customers will take notice of more sustainable products on the market.
As a family owned company, our resources are limited. The objectives of the Textile Partnership in the environmental and social spheres are fully in line with our own objectives, but they are still very ambitious. We have been discussing internally whether we can achieve these objectives with our resources or whether we are overstretching ourselves. The planned timeframe for achieving these objectives does not seem realistic for the time being.
We expect that the steering committee’s deadlines will be determined with sound judgment. VAUDE is actively involved in this process and is bringing its experience and expertise as an SME to the table.
The biggest challenges currently for VAUDE are in chemicals management in the supply chain. bluesign® will represent us on this issue in the future working group of the Textile Partnership.
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