The report named greater supply chain transparency as one of the key successes during 2018

The report named greater supply chain transparency as one of the key successes during 2018

Nine out of ten textile companies participating in the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textiles (AGT) are well on the way to meeting targets to improve transparency in the apparel supply chain.

The organisation's latest annual report also shows that by the end of 2018 the Agreement had also increased its impact; with 92 garment and textile brands now signed up, representing around 48% of turnover in the Dutch market. International cooperation with other initiatives has also grown.

The five-year agreement was signed in 2016. It aims to bring industry stakeholders together to help companies manage risks and achieve transparent supply chains in order to create a more sustainable global industry.

Of the key successes during 2018, the report names greater supply chain transparency thanks to an expansion of the production site list from 2,802 sites at the end of 2017 to 4,268 at the end of 2018; greater joint influence both in the Netherlands and internationally thanks to an increase in the number of participating brands; greater understanding of materials used in the sector and therefore more informed choices leading to a switch to more sustainable material use; more knowledge and skills for enhancing product and process sustainability thanks to the joint projects, courses and workshops; and more international cooperation with wider initiatives such as the FLA and SAC as well as the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, which has strengthened collective influence.

"By gaining a clearer picture of conditions at a larger number of production sites and of the materials used by companies and by analysing their own supply chain, companies took specific action in 2018 to change their operational management in a way that makes them better able to tackle abuses in their supply chain," says the report.

However, it adds that while cooperation within the Agreement has led to a further deepening and broadening of knowledge and understanding of the chains and due diligence, this was only "the start of the change process."

Pierre Hupperts, chair of Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile, explains: "Change is slower than we would wish it to be in view of our enthusiasm and commitment. It takes time to arrive at the right approach and to change the organisation and processes within companies. This makes it essential to set clearly defined priorities and to focus our attention and efforts on activities that can really make a difference.

"The Dutch textile market is only a small part of the world market and our influence is limited. However, our initiative can help to get things moving within the international garment and textile sector."