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75 Companies Pledge to Dutch Sustainable Sourcing Agreement

Dutch industry members are coming together to build a more sustainable garment supply chain.

On Tuesday, 75 businesses and representative organizations, including G-Star Raw and the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) discussed progress on the AGT, a Dutch agreement on sustainable garments and textiles. At the meeting, the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) published the first aggregated list of  signatories’ production locations.

Signed last year, the AGT fosters better supply chain practices in the greater global garment industry. AGT’s development process was facilitated by the SER and is the first in a series of agreements that aim to improve the sustainability of global garment supply chains. Representing more than one third of the Dutch market’s revenue ($3.9 billion), participants aim to have at least 50 percent of the Dutch garment sector pledge to agreement by next year and 80 percent by 2020.

Under the agreement, participating bodies will join forces on garment production in other countries, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Turkey. This collaboration is expected to help curb child and forced labor, discrimination, reduce negative environmental impact of raw materials production, conserve resources and promote safer working conditions, fair wages and the right to collective bargaining by independent trade unions. By enacting the agreement, retailers will be able to fulfill consumer demands for more sustainable garments and promote better apparel consumption among Dutch shoppers.

To achieve universal sustainability targets, parties involved will draft an annual action plan. The sustainability plan will be based on an investigation of risks associated with individual supply chains and suppliers. Once the action plan is drafted, an SER independent secretariat will evaluate the ambitions and quality of this improvement plan.

Civil society organizations and unions involved in the agreement will offer expertise and implement local partners to meet goals. The Dutch government will also step in to facilitate agreements with national and local authorities in sourcing countries and scale up the agreement according to EU standards. Once the agreement reaches its third year, individual parties will release their sustainability progress to the public.