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The European Parliament has recently adopted a new resolution that officially supports efforts to improve the European Commission’s garment flagship initiative, as well as announcing its support for a number of national sustainable textile initiatives across the likes of Germany, Netherlands, France and Denmark.

In a wide-ranging response to problems with supply chain transparency in the global textile sector – which manifested itself just two years ago with the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh – the EU Parliament has passed a new resolution, which it hopes will address this complex, persistent issue.

Primarily aimed at sourcing practices in Bangladesh, the new resolution from the EU parliament calls for mandatory and enforceable CSR clauses in all EU bilateral trade and investment agreements, and for a new mandatory reporting system to provide greater transparency within the value chain of a single textile product from early-stage production to garment retail.

Although the recently approved resolution [2015/2589(RSP)], primarily relates to Bangladesh, it also calls for new EU legislation to create a legal obligation of due diligence for EU companies outsourcing production to third-world countries, including measures to secure traceability and transparency, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Specifically, the resolution notes that the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative has played an important role in Bangladesh’s economic development, and in improving conditions for millions. However it adds that without sound human and labour conditions, the EBA and Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) trade agreements risk exacerbating poor working standards and undermining decent work.

In turn, the resolution calls on the Commission to establish whether Bangladesh is adhering to human rights, labour, and environmental conventions under the GSP, and to report back to Parliament, stressing, “countries that make good progress in social and labour standards should be rewarded by preserving full market access for their products.”

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