Your Company Has Signed The Cotton Pledge. What’s Next?
These Next Steps are applicable to both the Uzbek Cotton Pledge and the Turkmen Cotton Pledge. We encourage companies and brands to sign both Cotton Pledges to further collaboration, transparency, traceability, and accountability.
1. Align Business Practices with the Commitment
Once the public declaration is made, it should be communicated clearly to all employees and suppliers, and implemented into daily business practices via contracts, supplier meetings, trainings, or educational materials. Brands need to report publicly the steps being taken to ensure that company policies on Uzbek cotton are communicated, monitored, and adhered to by garment manufacturers, fabric mills, and yarn spinners throughout the company’s entire value chain.
2. Support YESS - Yarn Ethically & Sustainably Sourced
YESS utilizes the OECD risk-based due diligence approach to identify and eliminate slavery from cotton production and apparel value chains. The company can add its name to the YESS Statement of Support to promote this initiative. Companies can financially sponsor YESS to support the implementation of this industry-wide due diligence system.
3. Involve Yarn Spinners and Textile Mills
The company can assess risks by identifying the location of strategic textile mills, then comparing locations to the country information contained in RSN’s From the Field and To the Spinner reports. Brands should send a strong message on this issue to their sourcing agents, first-tier manufacturers, and textile suppliers, and then work with them to identify and engage spinning mills deeper in the chain. Brands should communicate to the mills that it is unacceptable to have any Uzbek or Turkmen cotton inside the same facilities where yarn or textiles are being manufactured for the brand.
4. Join RSN’s Responsible Cotton Multi-Stakeholder Network
This multi-stakeholder group meets a few times a year via video conference call to share updates on traceability initiatives, new research, mill engagement, related media, and diplomatic engagement with the Uzbek government and other international institutions. These conference calls are an excellent way to gain insight into peer experiences in implementing cotton due diligence. To receive information about this group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Engage the Uzbek or Turkmen Government
Since 2008, RSN along with a number of corporations, NGOs, and investors, have met with numerous representatives from the U.S. State Department and the Uzbek or Turkmen governments. Since it is extremely impactful to have corporate representation at these meetings, companies should actively communicate their concerns by signing letters or having representatives at diplomatic meetings when requested to do so by the Cotton Campaign.
Being at the forefront of changing how an entire industry sources its raw materials is not an easy feat. Only through shared expertise and active collaboration where each company and stakeholder lends its name and its voice can we bring about much needed reforms in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Fortunately for the cotton pickers, there is a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to implementing solutions. Thank you for joining this effort.
Click here for a pdf of the Introduction Packet, which contains Next Steps.