The Social and Labor Convergence Project (SLCP) — an initiative led by the world’s leading manufacturers, brands, retailers, industry groups, intergovernmental organizations, service providers and civil society organizations — has secured more than 100 signatories in the year since it launched. The missions of the SLCP is to develop a common assessment framework and data collection system for the apparel, footwear and textile industry, dramatically increasing industry efficiency and reducing audit-related costs.
The framework, which is designed to replace proprietary solutions, includes a standard agnostic tool and verification methodology to collect relevant and essential data on critical issues including child labor, forced labor, occupational health and safety, and wages. The participating organizations will benefit from reduced duplication, opportunities to measure continuous improvement, and increased transparency. Additionally, the SLCP framework enables participating organizations to invest resources previously designed for compliance audits into the improvement of social and labor conditions.
The project is following the recommendations from the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chain in the Garment and Footwear Sector, developed by the OECD. The OECD contributes to this project by providing input on the strategic direction of the project, and to support its alignment with the OECD Guidance.
“Leading apparel, textile and footwear companies recognize the need for greater efficiency when it comes to creating standard measures around key labor issues,” said Janet Mensink, director, Social and Labor Convergence Project. “By aligning around a shared framework, we’re able to collectively accelerate the social impacts and sustained improvements to working conditions in the apparel and footwear industries.”
Organizations including Arvind Mills, G-Star, Gap Inc., H&M, Hirdaramani, Intertek, OECD, SGS, Solidaridad, VF Corp./Timberland, and WRAP were early SLCP signatories. With now more than 100 participating organizations, the SLCP launched a new project website to provide additional information and opportunity for engagement.
“We are on track with our aggressive two-year timeline and I am extremely optimistic about the direction of the SLCP,” said Colleen Vien, sustainability director at VF Corp./Timberland, and member of the SLCP Steering Committee. “Our progress is a clear demonstration of what’s possible when all the stakeholders involved share a common vision and don’t get distracted by individual agendas.”
The first version of the framework has been created and is currently being reviewed by all signatories; it will be first piloted in February 2017. The converged tool and verification methodology will be finalized and ready for use by Q1 2018.