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July 14, 2021

Responsible purchasing practices framework launches

A new framework aimed at bringing together multi-stakeholder initiatives and existing frameworks on responsible purchasing practices has emerged.

By Hannah Abdulla

A group of multi-stakeholder initiatives, including the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile, has drafted a common framework for responsible purchasing practices (RPP).

The framework is said to be essential in improving working conditions in textile and garment supply chains.

The Common Framework for Responsible Purchasing Practices’ integrates existing frameworks and documents of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) and NGOs on responsible purchasing practices and is built on five principles:

  • RPP are integrated into the commercial and other relevant departments of a business
  • Purchasing companies and their suppliers respect each other as equal business partners
  • Critical path and production planning is done collaboratively between the purchasing companies and suppliers
  • Purchasing companies and suppliers agree on fair and transparent payment terms
  • The purchasing company’s costing levels and procedures support wage increases and sustainable production.

Purchasing practices has long been a bone of contention in the apparel industry with the situation believed to have gotten significantly worse since the pandemic hit. 

The framework will be a reference point for companies wanting to improve their purchasing practices, and for MSIs wanting to support their member companies to implement practical improvements in purchasing. The OECD ‘Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector’ explicitly calls upon companies to adopt responsible purchasing practices. The Covid-19 crisis has magnified how crucial RPP are to ensuring worker rights are protected.

Other organisations that drafted the framework include the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), Ethical Trade Norway, Better Buying Institute, Fair Wear and the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (PST). This working group also consulted with Action Collaboration Transformation (ACT) and builds on recommendations by the ‘Manufacturers’ Payment and Delivery Terms Initiative’, which was started by the International Apparel Federation and the STAR Network (Sustainable Textile of the Asian Region), supported by GIZ Fabric.

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