Launched in 2021, the Standard Convergence Initiative (SCI) aims to encourage alignment between industry and multi-stakeholder initiatives as well as brand or retailer proprietary tools to help combat audit and standard fatigue in the textile and footwear sector.
In order to achieve conditions where manufacturers can suffice with a single audit, the International Apparel Federation (IAF) and International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) have supported the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP).
Since its inception in 2019, SLCP has scaled its distribution of converged assessments. Over 7000 facilities worldwide chose to complete an SLCP verified assessment in 2022.
In 2020, 34 brands and retailers publicly committed to accept SLCP verified data from their suppliers. This has now risen to 65 brands and retailers. In addition, manufacturers are reporting concrete reduction of audits and reallocation of resources towards improvements.
Building on this progress, SCI’s research indicates great overlap between the main social standards. This suggests plenty of room for a fast reduction of audit fatigue for manufacturers.
What are the SCI’s key recommendations?
- SCI calls on more brands and retailers to quickly make the switch to converged schemes such as SLCP. This will further maximize the potential savings and benefits for manufacturers. SCI also calls on brands and retailers to drop their proprietary codes in favor of collaborative third-party standards. This constitutes the quickest road to a reduction of the number of standards that manufacturers face. SCI works with the Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative (STTI) to ensure that brands and retailers make clear commitments to this end.
- SCI calls on all leading social schemes to accept and integrate SLCP verified data. This reduces the need for separate data collection and verification processes. SCI will work with its partners including ITC, SLCP, brands, retailers and standard holders to encourage the reduction of audit fatigue. This will be facilitated through a fast and rigorous reduction of unproductive work by manufacturers caused by overlapping standards.
On Monday, 13 February, 2023, IAF and ITMF will jointly hold a virtual session about the SCI’s view on progress in the reduction of audit and standard fatigue. Speakers from the industry, SLCP, ITC, standard holders (Oeko-Tex and WRAP) and from SCI will share their perspectives.