The Fair Wear Foundation’s executive director Alexander Kohnstamm told Just Style exclusively that the partnership between Cascale and Fair Wear is “so crucial because brands’ responsibilities are individual, but many of them can only be meaningfully addressed through collective action”.

Kohnstamm asserted that “with due diligence now fully accepted as the basis for responsible business conduct, the need for collaboration is bigger than ever” and added that together the two organisations have set out to promote clarity on what good looks like in practice.

“We’ll give Cascale brands access to Fair Wear tools and expertise based on 25 years’ experience with human rights due diligence. And we’re committed to giving true meaning to Cascale’s inspiring adage that partnership is the new leadership,” he said.

Both Cascale and Fair Wear underscored the importance of collaboration for driving meaningful change and have added environmental and social impact data platform Worldly to their collaboration to provide members with high-quality, reliable resources and guidance related to the apparel and footwear industry.

Fair Wear explained these resources will help navigate the complexities of human rights due diligence effectively, leveraging tools such as Cascale’s Higg Index.

Cascale’s executive vice president Andrew Martin believes that power imbalances in the consumer goods industry can often result in both human rights and environmental risks and violations in supply chains.

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He emphasised the need for “more equitable partnerships,” and noted these are not just desirable but a “necessary driving force” for the continuous improvement in responsible business conduct, with effective due diligence playing a pivotal role.

Martin said: “With our membership, representing over 300 organisations in the consumer goods industry, and Fair Wear’s expertise, we work collaboratively to expand and scale the systemic change needed to address the human rights challenges we face.”

Kohnstamm is of the view that this collaboration is a great step in raising the bar for human rights in global garment supply chains.

Both of the organisations shared they have been working to drive sustainability in the apparel and textile industry for decades and have collaborated and aligned on several initiatives related to responsible business practices.

The two organisations emphasised and advocated for mandatory due diligence legislation as a catalyst for industry-wide impact.

Furthermore, the organisations said they actively supported the European Commission’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), which was recently approved in the European Union and will require due diligence for companies to prevent adverse social and environmental impacts across their value chains.

Fair Wear and Cascale also shared they understand the urgent need for aligning due diligence efforts with international standards, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment & Footwear Sector (OECD Guidelines).

The organisations concluded this is especially important given the recent developments in Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (HREDD) legislation, such as CSDDD and through this collaboration, they both plan to help brands meet existing and upcoming legislative requirements.