MCL News and Media has launched a new briefing, which provides in-depth, practical advice on the critical issue of due diligence in textile sourcing. The report, written by international textile consultant and Ecotextile News correspondent, Simon Ferrigno, explains the due diligence concept and discusses how it is much more than just compliance to third-party textile standards and basic risk management. For any retailer or brand that is not only concerned about mitigating risk, but is also looking to improve its impact on the environment and the lives of workers in its supply chain – this special briefing is a ‘must-read’ report for your business.
Spread over four parts, ‘Due Diligence in Textile Sourcing’ asks whether current due diligence initiatives are a sophisticated way for retailers and brands to cover their backs, or whether it is a valuable tool for companies and investors upstream to ensure they comply with certain legal and moral imperatives of sustainable development.
The report also looks at how due diligence moves beyond the limitations of textile standards, which in the instance of cotton, can often ignore key questions outside their crop and immediate farm boundaries.
With the OECD recently presenting draft textiles guidelines for consultation, this briefing also uses the example of an ‘organic’ cotton farm project in the Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia as a yard-stick for what might pass a due diligence test, which goes well beyond ordinary third-party certification.
“Due diligence is often seen as an essential tool and process for companies to identify, assess, mitigate, prevent and account for how they address the actual and potential adverse impacts of their business activities,” says Simon Ferrigno. “However, this process not only concerns adverse impacts caused or contributed to by companies, but it also considers those potential and actual adverse impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services through a business relationship.
“This is an important distinction because due diligence goes beyond direct relationships and in the case of the textile industry goes well beyond the Tier 1 level suppliers to retailers and brands. As such, the obligation is however on this final user to leverage others in the supply chain to action, to create improved transparency and understanding.”
A wider list of recommendations can be found at the end of this four-part briefing, which gives a thorough introduction about why due diligence is a must for apparel buying teams. It then drills down further to examine how a comprehensive due diligence programme by retailers and brands can impact on the environment, economy and society, and finally how it can dove-tail into policy and governance.