On 21-22 February 2024, OECD Watch joined the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in Garment and Footwear, with the aim of highlighting crucial aspects of the OECD Guidelines for the sector.

Stakeholder engagement

Throughout the forum, civil society consistently called for mandatory due diligence, emphasising the importance of including workers and civil society in discussions on improving due diligence in supply chains. Enhancing stakeholder engagement was a key element, as set out in the OECD Guidelines and due diligence guidance.

Access to remedy

A crucial focus was on access to remedy through effective grievance mechanisms, which are often overlooked in due diligence practices. Discussions underscored the need for accessible and effective mechanisms to address concerns of reprisals against workers who file complaints. Some of the strategies included anonymity for complainants, zero-tolerance policies on reprisals, and guidance for companies identifying reprisals in their value chains.

Paul Roeland from Clean Clothes Campaign challenged retailers’ reliance on certifications and social audits, urging for fair and effective remedy mechanisms. OECD Watch emphasised the need for consequences in voluntary mechanisms for non-compliant companies.

Climate change and animal welfare

Climate change’s impact on the garment sector received due attention, with discussions on climate adaptation measures and ensuring a Just Transition for all stakeholders. As with other issues, civil society reiterated the importance of including workers’ voices in discussions on climate adaptation.

Additionally, OECD Watch co-organised a session with FOUR PAWS on good animal welfare standards in the updated OECD Guidelines. Insights were shared on how companies can meet new expectations and integrate animal welfare considerations into their policies and practices.

The forum provided a good opportunity for collaboration among OECD Watch members and civil society allies, fostering learning and synergy in advancing responsible practices in the garment and footwear industry.