First birthday of German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles
In mid-October 2015, the general assembly, including a celebration of the first birthday of the “Partnership for Sustainable Textiles”, which was initiated by the German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Müller, took place in Berlin. One year after its founding, the Partnership counts around 160 members
With these, there is now a relevant number of companies from the textiles sector working on the subject of sustainability, together with non-government organisations, trade unions, standard organisations and the government. It is the common objective to continually bring about social, ecological and economic improvements of the production conditions all along the textile supply chain. The Bremen Cotton Exchange has been involved in the work of the Partnership from the start, representing cotton as a raw material. It is important for the union to point out the share of cotton worldwide that is conventionally produced under responsible conditions, apart from production, projects and labels already active in the market. This share constitutes more than 90 percent of global cotton growing and of the processing in downstream steps. What matters most is to have an unbiased discussion in the raw material sector.
The adoption of a changed plan of action in May 2015 propelled an increase of members especially from trademark industry and retailers possible. This plan determines internationalisation as an important task for the Textiles Partnership. “This was a key condition for the broad accession from the economy, as only international agreements ensure equality in competition,” explained Stefan Genth, CEO of the Trade Association Germany (HDE).
Ingeborg Neumann, president of the German Textile + Fashion Confederation, said in her speech: “Advances in sustainability within the complex global supply chain cannot be made against, but only with the companies. And therefore, the aim will not be reached through laws, but only through a partnership of all involved parties. This partnership can only be successful if it establishes equal conditions for companies in all countries.”
Since August, a steering committee has been coordinating the development of concrete activities of the Partnership. In recent weeks, collective rules and ways of working were agreed upon. Further decisions made by the steering committee are concerning the appointment of expert groups which, for example, will work out Partnership criteria for natural and chemical fibres as well as processes of internationalisation.