The German-led Partnership for Sustainable Textiles initiative, which aims to bring about social, ecological and economic improvements along the apparel and textile supply chain, has been introduced to Vietnam.

At a gathering at the German Embassy in Hanoi today (26 November), Deputy Ambassador Hans-Jörg Brunner said the aim is to provide information related to the pioneering work of the group so that interested Vietnamese firms can take part. The move is a step towards the group's wider plans announced earlier this year to develop "production facility pools" in major producer countries, especially Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Pakistan and Vietnam.

The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles was established in Berlin in October last year on the initiative of Dr Gerd Mueller, the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development. The group has drawn up standards for the whole raw material and textile/clothing production chain, especially in building safety, better industrial relations, achieving living wages, fibre production (especially for cotton), and reducing harmful chemicals (initially focusing on water contamination).

Its membership includes around half of Germany's major retailers and garment companies, including Otto Group, C&A, Aldi divisions, Lidl, KiK, Adidas, Puma, Hugo Boss, Rewe and Tchibo, some producers and scores of civic organisations, development charities and trade unions.

Gradual deployment of the coalition's objectives began in autumn this year aimed at making textile products in more sustainable and ethical conditions in countries particularly in Asia. Vietnam, the group said, is its first target market. 

"Through long-lasting collaborative relationships with Vietnam, the alliance can realise its goals based on best practice as well as through the network established in the country and the region," it added.

Vietnam is the world's fourth-largest garment exporter, making up 3.7% of the global market. The industry accounts for around 8% of gross domestic product in Vietnam, in addition to 13-15% of the total export value of the country. There are around 5,000 Vietnamese companies operating in the industry with 2.5m employees.

Writing on just-style earlier this year, Mike Flanagan described the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles scheme as a "supersized" version of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh:

COMMENT: German sustainability scheme a "supersized" Accord