Statement on CCC's role in governance of Fair Wear Foundation

Collaboration between the CCC Network and Fair Wear will take a different shape. Per spring of 2024, the representatives of the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) network are no longer part of the Board and Committee of Experts of the Fair Wear Foundation ('Fair Wear').

CCC appreciates the engagement we have had over the years and the genuine commitment that Fair Wear and its members have towards a fairer future for the garment industry. Fair Wear has rightly focused on the responsibilities of companies and sought to hold its member companies accountable through rigorous oversight. We remain recognisant that Fair Wear has a robust set of policies and brand guidance around key human rights abuses, as well as tools for workers to identify and report such abuses in an accessible way. Most recently we recognise Fair Wear’s role in supporting political regulation, including the discussions around the European due diligence legislation and the engagement in the Good Clothes Fair Pay campaign.

Since Fair Wear was established, the context of the global garment industry has changed drastically and this is accompanied with shifting priorities within the global CCC Network. In Europe, mandatory due diligence legislation has been introduced at national and regional level, while our members in Asia are operating in a context with ever shrinking civic space. The decision of the CCC Network to revise its participation is based on a careful weighing of the impact CCC can have by focusing its resources and included a thorough analysis of Fair Wear's policies and its members’ achievements especially in the areas of supply chain transparency, the International Accord and living wages.

After many years of intense advocacy work, we have to recognize that voluntary multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) lack the legal enforceability to bring about the level of structural, tangible progress that CCC wants to see and has advocated for through its participation in Fair Wear’s Board and CoE. We see a gap between our network’s long terms goals around binding enforceable agreements and legislation and the low level of enforceability inherent to voluntary MSIs.

While we strongly support the aims of Fair Wear and acknowledge its engagement for regulation as well as the progress made by several member brands, we believe that in order to obtain more impact, we need to focus our network’s resources, capacity and strength towards binding actions that have structurally lasting impacts for workers. This is part of our wider goal of ensuring that workers can leverage their power and not depend on voluntary standards for brands.

As a network, we remain committed to engaging with Fair Wear, its member companies and other stakeholders to achieve specific as well as structural change for workers. We will continue to be a stakeholder and we very much hope to have regular meetings with Fair Wear in order to continue sharing our views and positions. The departure of our Network's representatives from the Board and CoE does not preclude any CCC members from being able to access the initiative's complaint mechanism, participating in Fair Wear's structures and content discussions or otherwise collaborating.

If, in the future, Fair Wear decides to change its approach and incorporates enforceable, binding commitments on deliverable outcomes by member brands, the CCC network would be open to discuss new possibilities for involvement in its governance structure.


Read our Joint statement: Fair Wear Foundation and Clean Clothes Campaign on future collaboration.

published 2024-04-23