ITMF: Call to action from the Standards Conve...

Call to action from the Standards Convergence Initiative

(Source: SCI)
(Source: SCI)

To help accelerate the move towards a situation where manufacturers can suffice with a single audit, from its inception, the IAF and the ITMF have supported the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP). SLCP has played a leading role in forging the path to converged assessments.
On February 13, 2023, the International Apparel Federation (IAF), Zeist/Netherlands, and the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), Zurich/Switzerland, 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, standards and from the SCI will share their perspectives.
The Standard Convergence Initiative (SCI) is an initiative of the IAF and ITMF that 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.
Since launching in 2019, the program has scaled rapidly, with over 7,000 facilities worldwide choosing to complete an SLCP verified assessment in 2022 alone. There are now over 65 brands and retailers publicly committing to accept SLCP verified data from their suppliers and manufacturers are reporting concrete reduction of audits and reallocation of resources towards improvements  
Building further on the progress in recent years, more can be done to further reduce the burden on suppliers and manufacturers. The rate of progress should be increased significantly. The next step is reducing standard fatigue. Research suggests great overlap between the main social standards, suggesting plenty of room for a fast reduction of standard fatigue for manufacturers.
The SCI therefore has 2 key asks for brands and retailers as well as standard holders. The initiative calls on more brands and retailers to quickly make the switch to converged schemes such as SLCP to further maximize the potential savings and benefits for manufacturers. It also calls on brands and retailers to drop their proprietary codes in favor of collaborative and harmonized third-party standards as this constitutes the quickest road to a reduction of the number of standards that manufacturers face.
Several of the leading schemes and standard holders are exploring alignment and data sharing to reduce the need for separate data collection and verification processes. Furthermore, all leading social schemes should work towards compatibility between the systems and accept and integrate SLCP verified data. The reduction of standard fatigue should be achieved through a fast and rigorous reduction of unnecessary and unproductive work by manufacturers caused by overlapping standards.

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