Partnership with key textile brands follows launch of the Fairtrade Textile standard in May.

Following the launch of the textile standard in March 2016, three textile manufacturers from Germany in May 2016 announced their commitment to collaborate with Fairtrade.

The three companies include 3Freunde, Shirts for Life and Melawear.
“These first partners take on an important pioneering role and serve as role models”, said Dieter Overath, CEO of Fairtrade Germany. “Such courageous commitment is precisely what we need to finally drive change in the textile industry.”

The Fairtrade Textile Standard focuses on the improvement of working conditions, wages, and workers’ rights. It empowers factory workers by enabling them to improve their working conditions collectively. It is the first standard in the industry to require living wages to be paid within a set time period. “Wages have to be increased gradually. The living wage level has to be achieved within six years,” explained Dieter Overath. “Communication on the final product will be very clear on where a company stands in this process.”

In addition to the requirements for textile factories, the standard also includes requirements for brands: They have to commit to fair and long-term sourcing practices in their contracts in order to make wage increases feasible.

Beyond certification – the Fairtrade Textile Programme
Factories participating in the Fairtrade Textile Programme will receive onsite support by local experts and the Fairtrade producer networks to meet the standard’s requirements.

James Mwai the Director of Policy Research and Advocacy noted that: “We are very excited that Ethiopia has been selected as one of the pilot countries alongside India and Bangladesh for the implementation of the Fairtrade Textile Standard. The commitment by the German firms is a critical indicator of the leadership role that Fairtrade plays in changing forever the dynamics of textile workers rights and supply chain responsibilities.”