Following is the International Apparel Federation’s (IAFs) new mission statement: “To unite all stakeholders of the fashion and apparel industry, including brands, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and country associations worldwide to enable and promote smarter, stronger and more sustainable supply chains.” the IAF Board of Directors has decided on a joint IAF position and agenda on the following issues: 1. Responsible Business Conduct. 2. Innovation and industry growth. 3. Industry development and education.
1. The IAF Board agrees that Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (Responsible Business Conduct) is a major strategic issue for the fashion industry. Global problems need global solutions. SMEs, making up a major part of the industry and represented by national and regional associations that are members of IAF, must be part of the solution. Currently, IAF’s position on three major sub-themes, audit effectiveness, due diligence and recycling are as follows: Audit effectiveness. The IAF emphasises that the proliferation of social, safety and environmental audits carried out on apparel manufacturers is a major problem for the industry, actually taking away resources from making real improvements in working conditions. As a signatory, IAF supports the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Social and Labour Convergence Project.
2. IAF will closely cooperate with like-minded industry trade associations on the issue of improving audit effectiveness and eliminating unnecessary or ineffective audits.
Due diligence: To put it in a nutshell, the due diligence approach asks companies to commit to a reasonable effort in ensuring responsible business conduct across their supply chains. It is not reasonable for small companies to do as much as big companies nor is it reasonable to ask either the supplier or the buyer to do all the work and absorb all the costs related to ensuring responsible business conduct.
3. To foster a globally unifying approach to due diligence that ensures a fair sharing of responsibility among larger and smaller companies and among buyers and suppliers, IAF and its member associations pledge to support global implementation of the OECD due diligence guidance provided its members’ interests are safeguarded and provided industry associations are involved and (financially) supported.
Recycling: The IAF recognizes that recycling or ‘circularity’ is a major issue for the apparel industry and that positive results can only be achieved through global cooperation.