The IAF will be an active participant in the Social and Labour Convergence Project which was launched this week, Wednesday October 21st. The project, facilitated by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) aims to build an industry wide, standardized methodology for social and labour performance assessment in apparel and footwear supply chains. In short, it aims to substantially reduce the number of social audits performed at manufacturers.
IAF represents the interests of national apparel and footwear industry associations, together representing mainly small and medium sized (SME) industry from over 60 countries. From member surveys IAF has found that both associations representing mainly brands and associations representing mainly manufacturers regard audit fatigue as a major flaw in the global supply chain. They have urged their international Federation IAF to take action. On the other hand, IAF members also regard audit fatigue as a problem that the industry should be able to solve through collaboration, as already audits are greatly overlapping.
IAF is glad that many of the world’s largest brands and retailers are actively involved in the Convergence project. In this project, IAF’s role will be to focus on the interests of SMEs, both SME brands and SME manufacturers, helping to make sure that results of global harmonization work fully benefit smaller companies as well. Successful collaboration in the entire supply chain, including that between all size of companies will be the cornerstone for success of the project.
IAF firmly believes that reducing audit fatigue will not only reduce unnecessary costs, it will also free energy and resources needed to take steps that really improve the industry, including schooling, training and capital investments. SAC Vice President for Europe, Baptiste Carriere Pradal echoes IAF’s sentiments saying: “We want to check less and act more”.