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Mining the Disclosures 2015: An Investor Guide to Conflict Minerals Reporting in Year Two

RSN Updates

Read our updates to learn more about RSN’s work.

Wednesday
May252016

2016 Copenhagen Fashion Summit: Closing the Loop in the Fashion Industry

Earlier this month, Founder and Director of Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), Patricia Jurewicz, attended the fourth biannual Copenhagen Fashion Summit, a culmination of a week’s worth of panels, meetings, and discussions on sustainable fashion. The Summit, held on May 12th in the beautiful Copenhagen Concert Hall, was organized by the Danish Fashion Institute on behalf of the Nordic Fashion Association under the patronage of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. The event, themed “Responsible Innovation”, brought over 1200 people from 52 countries, ranging from industry experts to government officials.

Two long-time leaders in the industry spoke at the Summit, Rick Ridgeway of Patagonia and Hannah Jones of Nike. Rick described the four R’s that inspired Patagonia’s Worn Wear program: Repair, Recycle, Resell, and Reduce – the last of which he dubbed an “inconvenient truth” for the fashion industry. Hannah made an impassioned call for a complete overhaul of the industry’s current sustainability practices, asserting that “incrementalism and efficiency measures will not get us there; less bad is not good enough”. She emphasized the importance of sustainable innovation at the molecular level of the industry, explaining that “for sustainability to be transformative, it must be built in to what we create and how we design from the very beginning”.

Perhaps the most memorable presentation of the day came from the Youth Fashion Summit, a group of 116 fashion and business students from 40 different countries. In the 3 days prior to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, these students worked to determine how to implement the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals into the fashion industry. The students drafted a Manifesto of 7 Demands for The Fashion Industry. The demands echoed the speakers’ calls for closed-loop systems within all facets of the industry and elimination of unnecessary harm in product creation. In essence, their message was that the youth will have to clean up the current industry’s mess, and so the current industry heads better start dealing with the mess they created now. The Manifesto underlined the clear urgency and necessity of putting into place all of the possible innovations discussed at the Summit.

The 2016 Copenhagen Fashion Summit, while full of brilliant minds and innovative ideas, is only one of many steps needed to create a wholly sustainable fashion industry. Getting high profile people of the industry in one room to discuss these issues is impressive, but now we must focus on making these innovations the rule rather than the exception. RSN is doing its part in this effort by looking to disrupt the opaque cotton value chain by developing a new initiative called YESS: Yarn Ethically and Sustainably Sourced. Please join us in not only demanding transparency and accountability, but by supporting a tool that will help eliminate cotton harvested with modern day slavery.

For more information on the 2016 Summit, check out these links:

http://www.copenhagenfashionsummit.com/ 

http://youthfashionsummit.com/

http://www.kea.dk/en/current-affairs/news/read-article/news/detail/News/we-demand-here-is-the-youth-fashion-summit-manifesto-2016/

http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=68400

http://about.nike.com/pages/sustainable-innovation

Twitter: @CphFashSummit 

Instagram: copenhagenfashionsummit

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/copenhagenfashionsummit/?fref=ts

 

 

 

The Youth Fashion Summit presents their Manifesto to industry leaders.

Thursday
Apr212016

Conflict Minerals Leaders are Problem Solvers

Over 1,200 publicly traded companies are reporting their conflict minerals due diligence to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Yet, according to evaluations done by Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), very few companies are doing what it takes to support responsible minerals sourcing and promote peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This video first appeared on the Ethical Alliance Resource Centre.

Intel and Global Advanced Metals (GAM) are exemplary companies that prove that sourcing conflict-free minerals from the DRC can go hand in hand with profitability. These companies engage key stakeholders, promote wider adoption of due diligence tools, and take a proactive approach to risk mitigation. 

RSN partici[ated in a recent webinar hosted by ethiXbase; RSN, Intel, and GAM discussed some of the obstacles these leading companies have overcome on their path to conflict-free, and how they strengthened relationships with key actors in the supply chain.

Stream the webinar to learn more about how leading companies leverage conflict minerals compliance to improve the way they do business. Outcomes can be win-win-win when companies take a problem-solving approach to human rights risk.

Tuesday
Apr052016

Spring Blossoms of Human Rights Awareness

With spring comes new life, and this spring brings awareness of the many lives affected every day by the materials we use.  Woolworths Holdings is not letting grass grow under its feet when it comes to forced labor in Uzbekistan. Today, we are proud to announce that Woolworths Holdings and its brands Country Road, David Jones, Mimco, Trenery, and Witchery have chosen to stand proudly for human rights by choosing to sign RSN’s Cotton Pledge.

When major companies choose to take a stand for human rights, it’s not only a ray of sunshine for the affected communities, but also hope for the transformation of an entire industry. We are filled with hope that so many companies and brands care so deeply for the communities and people affected by their products. This in turn gives hope to the tens of thousands of nurses, teachers, bus drivers, and university students forced to do back-breaking work of planting seeds and weeding this spring.

We anticipate the continuous increase in pledge signatories as the awareness of the pledge grows throughout Australia, Japan, and mainland Asia. Stay connected, learn more about human rights, and let a just apparel industry give you hope by keeping up with us on Twitter and Facebook

Tuesday
Mar292016

Be American and Support Freedom!

Today Generation Freedom launches. It is a campaign RSN joined to collect signatures and send a message to our presidential candidates that freedom is a priority and it is time to end human trafficking. The next President of the United States has an historic opportunity to use the power of the Oval Office to help eradicate modern slavery here at home and around the world. 

Human trafficking is one of most compelling, destructive, and under-addressed human rights issues of our time. Human trafficking is defined as the exploitation of a person through force, fraud, or coercion for labor or commercial sex. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are roughly 21 million victims of human trafficking around the world. Trafficking can happen anywhere: in suburban homes and agricultural fields, at hotels and truck stops, in gold mines and cotton fields, on fishing boats and factory floors. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world with traffickers making an estimated $150 billion dollars in profits every year.

This is a global and national crisis that has gone on for too long, operating in the shadows and out of the public discourse. It’s time for America to be a leader in eradicating modern slavery. Each year the federal government dedicates less than $150 million to combatting human trafficking, compared to $30.5 billion for the war on drugs. That is why we are asking the presidential candidates to commit to spending $3 billion to address and eliminate human trafficking.

The richest and most powerful country in the world can and should do more to take on human trafficking. If we commit to invest in a solution, we can lead the way to a more just and compassionate world overall. The land of the brave and the home of the free simply cannot afford to allow human trafficking to occur in our country or any country.

Please join Generation Freedom to let the candidates – and the next American President – know that fighting slavery is important to you and to hold him or her accountable to solving the problem.

Friday
Feb122016

OECD’s Draft Garment Due Diligence Just Released

Report open for comment through March 7, 2016

 

OECD’s Due Diligence (DD) Guidelines  have started to become the norm for how companies should identify, prevent, and account for the human rights risks in their business practices and supply chains. They are aligned with and support the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and are starting to be written into laws. Two examples of legislation that are now referring to the OECD DD Guidelines are Dodd-Frank 1502 on Conflict Minerals and the UK Modern Slavery Act.

Over the past few years, the OECD has started to gather input from diverse stakeholders and issue sector-specific guidance for various industries. Just released is a draft of the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector. It is open for public consultation through March 7, 2016.

OECD’s Draft Garment Due Diligence Guidance lays out the expectations and specific actions companies can – and should – take to identify, prevent, and account for adverse, or negative, impacts in their supply chains and with their business practices.

Due diligence starts with “Identify” - a basic mapping and understanding of the greatest risks to the most egregious adverse impacts for a company. An easy place to start is to look into your supply chain and observe what products you are sourcing from which countries. Are any countries you are sourcing from include products for those countries listed on the DOL List of Goods Produced with Child and Forced Labor?  If so, you are likely exposed to risk and need to investigate more thoroughly. You shouldn’t stop at just first tier suppliers, you need to understand where the raw materials in your products originate and see if those products/countries are on the DOL List. You need to do this investigation and assessment with your suppliers’ suppliers, their suppliers, and their suppliers until you reach the harvesting, mining, and collection level. For example, “cotton” and “cotton seed” is listed on the DOL list for “forced labor” in nine countries, including China, India, and Pakistan.

Step two is “Prevent and Mitigate.” If you have identified actual or risk of adverse impacts in your supply chain, you need to make sure your own company and your suppliers have policies and procedures to address, prevent, and mitigate adverse impacts. The company may have to implement specific procedures to mitigate adverse impacts, or it may have to train and build the capacity of its suppliers to address the adverse impacts. The company should analyze its own business practices, such as its procurement or approval procedures, to determine if it is causing or contributing to the adverse impacts.

Step three is “Account.” Companies must document the risks and impacts that exist and how they are addressed. Accounting for due diligence practices can include: establishing baselines, determining key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals, tracking improvement over time, and reporting out to its stakeholders on incidences, challenges, and improvements.

Information on “Management Systems” and “Remediation,” along with greater detail on the above three steps specifically for the garment and footwear industries can be found in the OECD draft due diligence guidance.

If as a clothing or footwear company you haven’t starting taking a due diligence approach to managing your supply chains, this is a great time to start! Review the OECD’s draft guidance and use it to determine how to implement the guidance into your daily business practices- you’ll be one step ahead of any future legislation that will require it.