Top Dutch clothing retailers including C&A and HEMA have signed a pledge to buy their garments solely from ethically approved producers.
The government has produced a ‘white list’ of 60 suppliers whose factories meet ethical standards on issues such as child labour, living wages, pollution and the use of sustainable materials.
International trade minister Lilianne Ploumen said the agreement was designed to meet growing demand from consumers for ethically produced clothing. ‘We often hear consumers complain that they want to buy sustainable clothing but don’t know where to get it. This list will definitely help,’ she said.
The 60 producers on the list include G Star, Sissy Boy, Vanilia and WE Fashion, while the retailers taking part, including the Bijenkorf, C&A and CoolCat, account for around 35% of the sector altogether.
Producers have committed to ‘substantially improving’ conditions in their factories within three to five years and will have to submit their plans for approval by a group made up of other companies in the sector, trade unions and aid agencies.
‘Companies that don’t keep to the agreement will be removed,’ said Ploumen. ‘And we will publish the names of those that drop off the list every year.’
The government has been taking a more pro-active stance on the issue since the Rana Plaza textile factory fire in Bangladesh in 2013, which claimed the lives of 1,100 textile workers.
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