As a result of the ‘Spinning around Workers’ Rights‘ report, recently published by SOMO, the Dutch member of parliament, Gijs van Dijk (Socialist Party) has asked tabled questions in parliament for outgoing minister Kaag. Answering these questions last week, the Minister acknowledged the existence of major abuses in the garment industry in India. SOMO and Arisa ask Dutch politicians to continue their work on producing binding regulations at both national and international level.

Photo: Joerg Boethling Alamy Stock-Photo

Minister Kaag acknowledges that abuses in the garment industry have been exacerbated by the Corona pandemic, and states, unequivocally, that there is a lack of transparency in the garment and textile industry. This lack of transparency prevented SOMO and Arisa from being able to find more links between brands and the investigated spinning mills, links that almost certainly exist. Transparency in the garment and textile value chain is therefore of utmost importance. According to Kaag, companies and governments, along with trade unions and NGOs, must pay constant attention to this issue. By working with civil society organisations, companies can limit risks and resolve abuses.

Ambitious legislation for sustainable and responsible business is badly needed

SOMO and Arisa urge the Dutch government, in its capacity as participant in the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textiles, to makes these points clear. The government should also remind Dutch companies of their responsibility to be open about their suppliers, including those further down the value chain. As a public purchaser of workwear and other textile products, the government can act as a role model by making its own purchasing more sustainable. Above all, it is crucial that the (new) government introduces ambitious Dutch legislation for sustainable and responsible business by 2023, and continues to work towards ambitious European corporate accountability legislation.