IAF & ITMF unveil Standards Convergence Initiative

IAF & ITMF unveil Standards Convergence Initiative

ITMF and IAF at the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector held online unveiled their joint initiative, the SCI or Standards Convergence Initiative.

During
a side session organised by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation
(ITMF) and the  International Apparel Federation (IAF) at the OECD Forum
on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear  Sector held online from 1st
to 5th February, the two organisations unveiled their joint
initiative,  the SCI or Standards Convergence Initiative. The SCI will
serve as a global industry wide platform to discuss
and develop a strategy as well as the
tools to accelerate the reduction of audit and standard fatigue in the
clothing and textile industries. 

The
auditing conduct of standard holders, along with brands, retailers and other
buyers’ decisions determines if we are moving firmly in the direction of less
unnecessary overlap of audits
and standards.  Therefore, one of the first steps of the SCI, in
collaboration with the International
Trade Centre (ITC), is to create transparency in the conduct of the
main standard holders, brands and retailers and 3rd party
standard  holders, measuring to what extent they are contributing to the
reduction of audit and standard fatigue.  

For this purpose, the SCI
has identified four criteria to use as a yardstick to judge standard
holders’ commitment to reduce audit and standard fatigue. The four
criteria are:  

1. Willingness to harmonise
standards,  

2. Compliance with OECD and
ILO guidelines,  

3. The use of existing
platform to avoid audit duplication and  

4. Global certification of
auditors. 

The four criteria will
provide a foundation for a structural monitoring of standard holders’ efforts
to reduce audit and standard fatigue that will be carried out by ITC.
During the session at the OECD Forum, the ITC explained how its unique
Standards Map Database will be used to measure and monitor standard convergence
in the industry. First results of the monitoring are expected in the third
quarter of 2021. 

In addition to this
monitoring exercise, from its global, industry wide vantage point, the SCI will
actively foster collaboration between different actors that are each
working on a partial solution. And, because large brands and retailers
sticking to their own standards block the reduction of standard fatigue, the
SCI will  continuously call on these brands and retailers to either drop
their proprietary standards in favour of 3rd party standards or to
collaborate in other ways that observably reduce audit and standard
fatigue.  

More information about the
SCI is available at
www.standard-convergence-initiative.org

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