Garment Industries Transparency Initiative
Garment industries are critical for the economic and social development of many countries. These industries provide jobs for millions of people. However, recent tragic accidents in garment factories have contributed to the realization that workers’ working conditions in garment exporting countries need to be improved. They have also refueled an on-going debate about the responsibilities of all participating actors in these industries, which are characterized by strong competition and complex supply chains. Given the lack of implementation of existing labour standards at the national level, limited legal enforcement at the international level and visible limits of voluntary business sector codes of conducts, the need for workers’ empowerment and for better buyer-supplier relationships have not been adequately addressed to date.
In meeting this challenge, governance deficits at the national and international level must be addressed. This includes significant transparency gaps in the garment industries. In many countries information about suppliers’ base, buyer-supplier relationships, economic sectoral data and implementation of labour standards is not publicly available – or is not perceived as credible.
At the same time, there is increasing agreement on the need for closer cooperation among all participating actors. This includes not only governments and business owners in the producing countries, but also international buyers, trade unions and civil society. An inclusive, participatory process for enhancing the credibility of information is needed.
The Garment Industries Transparency Initiative (GITI) aims to advance the implementation of labour standards in the garment sector through increased transparency and participation.
GITI aims to foster systemic changes in the textile producing countries by establishing, in each participating country, a National Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) as a forum for national dialogue. This group includes, based on the principle of equality among actors, representatives of all relevant actors in the garment industries:
- Private Sector: local suppliers, brands/buyers and industry/ employers’ associations
- Civil society: trade unions, NGOs and think tanks
These groups of actors will actively contribute to the provision as well as the verification of information. Through this deliberation (“antagonist cooperation”) of different interests, a credible information basis as well as mutual trust will develop over time.
It is expected that the global governing body of GITI, the International GITI Board, will emerge from the membership of the existing International Advisory Group, as it has in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The International GITI Board will oversee the operation of the national MSGs, and establish the membership organization that will in the future elect members of this Board. The Board will be supported by a small GITI secretariat.