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ACT brands adopt accountability on purchasing practices

14 October, 2019In September 2019, ACT adopted a joint due diligence framework for member brands, ensuring that purchasing practices facilitate the payment of a living wage. This is the first time that international brands have collectively agreed to be held accountable by a global union federation for changing their purchasing practices.

ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) is a ground-breaking agreement between global brands and retailers and trade unions to transform garment, textile and footwear industry and achieve living wages for workers through collective bargaining at industry level linked to purchasing practices.

Based on comprehensive consultations with suppliers, trade unions and experts, ACT has adopted global commitments of all member brands to change their purchasing practices in five areas that have been identified as essential for enabling suppliers to pay for negotiated wage increases and improve working conditions.

This includes the adoption of a labour costing protocol for ensuring that all direct and indirect labour costs are included in costing calculations for negotiating the purchasing price. The protocol specifies, among other things, that brands will conduct labour costings in line with predicted wage increases as soon as the information becomes available, and that when other cost inputs such as the cost of fabric, energy costs, and the size of order remain equal, wage increases will be covered through higher purchasing prices.

Progress towards full implementation of the commitments will be measured annually through a comprehensive and transparent set of measures, to which brands will be held accountable by IndustriALL.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Jenny Holdcroft says that the ACT accountability and monitoring framework offers a tool for brands to meet international due diligence requirements and become industry leaders on responsible purchasing practices. 

“And it is the basis for providing suppliers with the confidence to enter into sectoral bargaining agreements with trade unions that will improve pay and working conditions. Experience has shown that without such assurances, suppliers will never agree to take on additional costs.

We now call on all other brands in the garment industry to join ACT and make the same commitment to supporting the social and economic upgrading of the industry.”