COVID Fashion Commitments Company Resources

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To help companies meet the COVID Fashion Commitments and build back better into 2021, we have collated a bank of helpful information and guidance. This page brings together informative/explainer pieces along with guidance documents, rapid assessment tools, events, and opportunities for collaboration.

We invite you to use the resources below when assessing how to best support workers in your supply chain during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. None of the resources are intended to provide a prescriptive checklist for companies to follow, but rather should be reviewed and adapted appropriately within your business context.

In the spirit of collaboration, if you come across any resources or events that other companies could benefit from, please share them with us and we will add them to this page.

This page will be updated as required on an ongoing basis.

Disclaimer: This page is intended as a helpful guide and in no way constitutes an endorsement of/ affiliation with any of the listed agencies or their specific guidance. Baptist World Aid Australia has no vested interest in any of the organisations or services referenced. Please note that given the rapidly changing circumstances of the current crisis, information can quickly become outdated. Please check the date of publication on all resources and assess appropriate actions against the current government advice in your own country and your sourcing countries.

Contents

 

Baptist World Aid Resources


  • JUST ADDED! A Framework for Building Back Better – This document is designed to assist in evaluating your ethical sourcing approach in the wake of the COVID Fashion Commitments and prepare for return to the Ethical Fashion Survey in 2021.
  • COVID Fashion Commitments – Provides a detailed rationale and suggestions for meeting each of the six commitments.
  • 2020 Ethical Fashion Report Survey – Please note, this was the intended 2020 survey, prior to COVID-19. This survey does not need to be completed for 2020 and is currently under review for 2021. We invite you to review these survey questions as a benchmark for assessing your COVID-19 and future-facing response. This will be superseded by a revised survey for 2021.
  • Ethical Fashion Report Survey Support Document – Please note, this is an accompaniment to the intended 2020 survey, prior to COVID-19. While the specifics are currently under review for 2021, this document provides a helpful baseline for our expectations and validation requirements.

 

1. Support workers’ wages by honouring supplier commitments


2. Identify and support the workers at greatest risk


 

3. Listen to the voices and experience of workers


  • JUST ADDED! Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, United Nations– These Guiding Principles provide the first global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. They continue to provide the internationally-accepted framework for enhancing standards and practices with regard to business and human rights. 
  • JUST ADDED! Effective Operational-Level Grievance Mechanisms, International Commission of Jurists – Provides an assessment of existing practices and policies and recommendations for the improvement of the design and implementation of operational-level grievance mechanisms, including a set of Proposed Performance Standards to assist companies and other stakeholders in their work. 
  • JUST ADDED! Q&As on Business and Freedom of Association, International Labour Organisation – Provides helpful guidance on the roles and responsibilities of business in supporting Freedom of Association. 
  • UN expert on the rights to freedoms of peaceful assembly and of association, UN Human Rights – Urges the need to maintain channels for freedom of association in times of crisis.
  • Keeping open lines of communication with workers is critical during COVID-19, Elevate – Demonstrates the case for providing effective grievance mechanisms, with Elevate reporting a four-fold increase in call traffic.
  • South East Asian Unions Turn Online to Defend Workers’ Rights, IndustriALL – Provides examples of how unions are adapting to hear worker voices in this context. We encourage you to draw on this kind of creativity as you consider how you can continue to maintain open lines of communication with garment workers.
  • The Right to Refuse, or to Shut Down Unsafe Work, IndustriALL – Outlines workers’ rights to shut down unsafe work under international law. This will be helpful background information in the context of reopening workplaces and potential engagement with trade unions and collective bargaining agreements.

 

4. Ensure workers’ rights and safety are respected


Please note that some of the below advice relates to specific third-party auditing/certification regimes. Where companies regularly conduct their social audits via a third party, we encourage you to reach out to them to understand how they are adapting their usual monitoring procedures during this time. Where companies do not use these third parties, we encourage you to assess the documents below to determine how you can adapt your own internal monitoring processes to best maintain visibility of conditions and safeguard workers.

 

5. Collaborate with others to protect vulnerable workers


  • COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry, International Labour Organisation – A call to action setting urgent priorities for governments, retailers, brands, manufacturers and international organisations to work together to contribute to shared solutions.
  • COVID-19 Hub, Better Cotton Initiative – Collates updates from the field as well as information on how BCI is adapting procedures to support members and farmers.
  • COVID-19 Hub, Fairtrade International – Collates guidance for producers with briefings and impact updates.
  • What is ETI doing to support members and businesses during COVID-19? , Ethical Trading Initiative – ETI is hosting group calls and a platform for members and MSIs to collaborate on COVID-19 solutions.

 

6. Build back better for workers and the world


  • JUST ADDEDA Framework for Building Back Better – This document is designed to assist in evaluating your ethical sourcing approach in the wake of the COVID Fashion Commitments and prepare for return to the Ethical Fashion Survey in 2021.  
  • JUST ADDED! Preferred Fibre and Materials Market Report, Textile Exchange– Provides a helpful framework for considering sustainable fibres and materials.  
  • JUST ADDED! UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action– Under the auspices of UN Climate Change, fashion stakeholders worked during 2018 to identify ways in which the broader textile, clothing and fashion industry can move towards an holistic commitment to climate action. They created the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which contains the vision to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 
  • The COVID-19 Crisis – The Impact to Supply Chain Sustainability, Amfori – Webinar recording from 24th June 2020. “COVID-19 has created unprecedented times on a global scale. All aspects of day-to-day life have been impacted, ranging from our work schedules to personal interactions. Our supply chains have experienced the unseen disturbances, affecting producers through to the end consumer. However, this impact is more than just financial. Supply chain sustainability cannot be overlooked at this critical time. In collaboration with Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in Australia, we will examine how supply chains have changed; the challenges being faced; the effect on sustainability; and the opportunities that are being presented as the world adjusts to new normal.”
  • #UnitingBusiness to Respond to COVID-19, UN Global Compact – To help companies navigate the sustainability challenges magnified by COVID-19, the UN Global Compact has compiled a series of COVID-19 issue area briefs that detail the impact of the pandemic on a range of sustainability issue areas including gender equality, ocean, water stewardship, climate, decent work, sustainable finance, human rights and anti-corruption. Each brief includes a variety of resources to help companies build back better and recover stronger.
  • Leading by Example During and After the COVID-19 Crisis, United Nations Virtual Forum – A recording of this highly distinguished panel, outlining how businesses can respond responsibly to this crisis and continue building towards a resilient future.
  • COVID-19 and the world of work: Ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities at all stages of the response, ILO – A detailed policy brief that provides key recommendations for disability inclusion in the immediate response and recovery following COVID-19.
  • Rebuilding a More Sustainable Fashion Industry After COVID-19, BCG, SAC, Higg Co. – Outlines sustainability priorities for businesses in the short-, medium- and long-term recovery phases of COVID-19.
  • Time for Change: How to use the crisis to make fashion sourcing more agile and sustainable, McKinsey & Company – Details the systemic transformation to the ‘next normal’ in the fashion industry.
  • CEO Agenda 2020: COVID-19 Edition, Global Fashion Agenda – Outlines six key opportunities for fashion executives to rebuild a resilient and sustainable fashion industry.
  • The COVID-19 recovery requires a resilient circular economy, Ellen MacArthur Foundation – A thought provoking piece that goes beyond the fashion industry to urge for a complete system reset, moving towards circular economies in the aftermath of COVID-19.
  • 2020 Ethical Fashion Report SurveyPlease note, this was the intended 2020 survey, prior to COVID-19. This survey does not need to be completed for 2020 and is currently under review for 2021. We invite you to review these survey questions as a benchmark for assessing your COVID-19 and future-facing response. This will be superseded by a revised survey for 2021
  • Ethical Fashion Report Survey Support Document Please note, this is an accompaniment to the intended 2020 survey, prior to COVID-19. While the specifics are currently under review for 2021, this document provides a helpful baseline for our expectations and validation requirements.

 

 

General Information and Guidance


This section includes guidance which is applicable across many or all commitments. We invite you to review these general documents in conjunction with the specific guidance above to holistically address the six commitments.

 

 

 

Country and Regional Guidance


 

 

 

Webinar Recordings


Webinar 1 – Addressing the Immediate Challenge: Purchasing Practices and Risk Assessment

Recorded Tuesday 2nd June, 2020

This first webinar explores Commitments 1 and 2, including a discussion of the immediate impacts of purchasing behaviour in production countries during COVID-19, and tools and strategies companies can use to conduct a thorough risk assessment. Joining us on this panel are: Kim Randle, Executive Director and Lawyer at FairSupply; Matt Friedman, CEO of Mekong Club, and; Fuzz and Carolyn Kitto, National Directors of Be Slavery Free.

Webinar 2 – Adjusting to a ‘new normal’: Innovation in the Face of Adversity

Recorded Tuesday 16th June, 2020
This second webinar explores Commitments 3 and 4, including a discussion of practical strategies companies can take to ensure worker voices are heard, and vulnerable workers are protected from exploitation during this period. Joining us on this panel are: Apoorva Kaiwar, Regional Secretary of IndustriALL South Asia; Amirul Haque Amin, President of the National Garment Workers Federation, Bangladesh; Heather Cannon, Vice President, Capacity Building at ELEVATE, and; Gary Shaw, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Kathmandu.

Webinar 3 – Building Back Better: Establishing a More Sustainable Business Model in a Post-COVID World

Recorded Tuesday 31st June, 2020
This webinar unpacks Commitment 6, “Build back better for workers and the world”, through the lens of collaboration with industry peers and related organisations. The events of this year have forced companies to pause and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their supply chain models – and more than ever, this is now the time to start future-proofing businesses in a sustainable manner. We discuss strategies that companies may adopt as businesses begin to emerge from the initial COVID period, and how to ensure the dignity of garment workers and environmental protection is at the forefront of business moving forward. Joining us on this panel are: Angela Bell, National Manager of Ethical Clothing Australia; Camille Reed, Director of Australasian Circular Textile Association; Nayeem Emran, Advocacy Lead-Labour Rights at Oxfam Australia; and Leisl Lancaster, Social and Environmental Impact Manager at Outland Denim.

Webinar 4 – COVID Fashion Findings

Recorded Tuesday 1st December 2020
This webinar looks back on the findings of the COVID Fashion Report and discusses how companies can continue building these learnings into their ethical sourcing approach for 2021 and beyond. As COVID-19 continues to unravel around the globe, it’s integral that the tenets of the COVID Fashion Commitments are continued and embedded in ethical sourcing strategies moving forward. Joining us on this panel are: Stacey Nicolas, Product Manager at Cue Clothing Co.; Rachel Hunt, Fabric Buying Manager at Cue Clothing Co.; and Linell Lottering, Sustainability & Compliance Manager at Macpac.