Corporate responsibility in times of crisis

In this unexpected, exceptional and unprecedentedly difficult time, trade associations are urging all players in the chain to be there for each other. Together we need to consider how we can overcome, distribute and compensate the problems and risks in the chain. Now, and in the future. Flexibility, mutual understanding, vision, responsibility and solidarity are needed.

We call on all parties to do the maximum within everyone’s individual ability.

No administration, but chain cooperation
Many companies have drawn up a CSR policy in recent years, based on Due Diligence. It is a continuous process of scanning and addressing potential risks in the chain on violating human rights and damaging the environment. Now, during the corona crisis, keeping the sector alive and retaining jobs and chain partners, both buyers and suppliers, comes first, which means that jobs of the people in the production countries can also continue to exist.

Because the worldwide industry is upside down, some measures and monitoring are no longer possible. This requires understanding and practical solutions from the various stakeholders in this field. For example, Modint is already in consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and the secretariat of the Agreement on Sustainable Clothing & Textiles to place ongoing affairs in the current context.

Due Diligence
John Ruggie (Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard University) has drawn up a human rights framework for the UN with 3 principles that concern companies, government and employees at all times:

Protect: The government must provide protection against human rights violations by third parties.
Respect: Businesses must respect human rights
Remedy: Victims should have access to redress

While companies are busy with liquidity, crisis deliberation, human resources and discussing risks and costs with chain partners to keep everything afloat, it is especially now the time for protection by the authorities. This is not to say that companies should no longer have an eye for malpractices in the chain, and certainly not if it is related to their own measures. The CSR policy remains in place, where possible the supply chain / CSR managers can help to recalibrate corporate responsibility in times of crisis, which will be different for each individual company and will depend on carrying capacity. There is still support for international corporate responsibility, which will be irreversible. Respect for chain partners is paramount, and with it also comes respect for all people who work within the chain. As an industry, we do our best, also for them.

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