The Corona-pandemic has revealed that the industry is in dire need to reduce the number of duplicative and therefore unnecessary audits.

We, the Intl. Apparel Federation (IAF) and the Intl. Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), are committed to reduce audit and standard fatigue in the industry. Therefore, we are supporting efforts like the Social Labour Convergence Program (SLCP), that is working to implement an industry-wide framework to assess social and labour conditions. This framework includes a standard-agnostic tool and verification methodology which collects objective social and labour data that stakeholders can use to identify opportunities for improvement and track progress.

The next step to reduce audit and standard fatigue is to align standards. Therefore, we have started the so-called Standard Convergence Initiative (SCI) which serves as a platform to discuss and develop a strategy as well as the tools to achieve these objectives. The auditing conduct of standard holders, along with brands, retailers and other buyers’ decisions determines if we are moving firmly in the direction of less unnecessary overlap of audits.

Ultimately, IAF and ITMF members and relations will be asked to recommend to their members to work with those standard holders that are committed to reduce audit and standard fatigue.

SCI-Principles

IAF and ITMF collaborate with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to promote transparency and convergence in the conduct of the main standard holders, including brands and retailers and 3rd party standard holders, measuring to what extent they are contributing to the reduction of audit and standard fatigue. For this purpose, we have identified four principles which will serve as guidelines to judge the progress made.

These principles are:

  • Principle 1: Willingness to harmonize standards (Standard Holders)
  • Principle 2: Compliance with OECD and ILO Guidelines
  • Principle 3: Use existing platforms for conducting audits
  • Principle 4: Auditors certified internationally
PDF-Document: Details of the 4 principles

Meetings

UPCOMING:

Virtual Presentation by SCI during the OECD Garment Forum 2022

February 25th, 2022

Standard Convergence Initiative (SCI) - Measuring convergence with the help of ITC's Standards Map
There is no doubt that standards and audits in the field of social compliance are important to improve working conditions along the entire textile supply chain. The proliferation of different standards (both third-party standards and proprietary standards by brands/retailers) has led to a situation in which textile companies are faced with a multitude of standards that are often very similar though not identical. This requires textile companies to undergo additional and duplicative audits. It is the aim of the SCI to maximise the convergence of standards in the textile supply chain. Convergence has the potential for the redirection of resources previously used for duplicative audits toward increased efforts for improving labour conditions. Standard holders should consider aligning their standards where feasible to do so and brands/retailers should consider dropping their proprietary standards in favour of third-party standards.

The SCI in cooperation with the International Trade Center (ITC)s intends to measure if standard holders in the textile supply chain are actually working towards more convergence of their standards. SCI has identified four principles. Along with the help of a selected set of ITC's Standards Map criteria against which convergence of standards can be measured. It is the objective of the SCI to present the first results of this analysis at the side session during the meeting of the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector in 2022.

The SCI side session where the results about the convergence will be presented will take place on
Friday, February 25th, 2022 from 11:00-12:15 hrs. (Paris-time).

To participate in the virtual SCI side session, please register HERE

Virtual SCI Stakeholder Technical Workshop

November 26th, 2021

On November 26th, 2021, the SCI offered a first technical workshop to stakeholders during which criteria from ITC's Standards Map for each of the four principles were presented (see PDF-document below) against which convergence of standards (by brands/retailers and by third-party standards) could be measured.

PDF-Document: SCI Stakeholder Technical Workshop-Nov 26th, 2021

Launch of SCI during the OECD Garment Forum 2021

February 5th, 2021

During a side session organized by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) and the International Apparel Federation (IAF) at the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector held online from February 1st to February 5th, 2021, the two organizations unveiled their joint initiative, the SCI or Standards Convergence Initiative. The SCI will serve as a global industry wide platform to discuss and develop a strategy as well as the tools to accelerate the reduction of audit and standard fatigue in the clothing and textile industries.

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