Six countries, including Bangladesh, has urged global brand companies, retailers and traders to carefully consider all potential impacts on workers and small businesses in the supply chain while taking significant purchasing decisions.
Nine textile and garment business associations of STAR Network (Sustainable Textile of Asian Region) from six producing and export countries also called on their global partners to honour the terms of purchasing contracts, fulfill obligations therein, and not re-negotiate price or payment terms.
This joint statement was made by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA), Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA), Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (TMA) and Vietnam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS).
They called for taking delivery or shipment, and proceeding with payment as agreed upon for goods already produced and currently in production with materials ready, and not canceling orders that are already in production.
The joint statement on responsible purchasing practices amid the COVID-19 crisis said during this unprecedented time, responsible business has become more important than ever for the whole world to survive and recover from the crisis.
Especially, responsible purchasing practices of brand companies, retailers and traders of the global textile and apparel supply chains will bring enormous impacts on the fundamental rights of millions of workers and the livelihood of their families in the supplier end, the statement reads.
The organisations said it is time for global businesses to uphold and honour their commitment to labour rights, social responsibility and sustainable supply chains.
They called on for offering fair compensation to suppliers if production or delivery has to be suspended or stopped, or offer salaries directly to workers of suppliers.
They called for putting no responsibility on suppliers for delay of delivery or shipment and claiming no compensation for such delays and no further improper pressure on suppliers by additional costs, rushing orders or unnecessary visits and audits.
The organisations sought all efforts and engage with local stakeholders for a better understanding of the local situation and contexts.
They underscored the need for dialogue and collaborative settlement to ensure mutually acceptable solutions to disputes.
The organisations sought support for business partners on supply chain as much as possible, and aim at long-term strategy of business continuity, supply chain unity and social sustainability.
"We appreciate the understanding, collaboration and support of our business partners and other stakeholders, and we are ready to work and walk with all responsible buyers globally to get through this crisis, towards a shared bright future," said the joint statement.