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European textile industry and human rights due diligence: Key developments, human rights allegations & best practices

Solidarity Center via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Briefing  

The 24th of April 2018 marked the five-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza textile factory disaster in Bangladesh. Numerous multinational textile companies sourced goods from the production in this building, among them a range of companies headquartered in the EU. Five years after the Rana Plaza disaster, to what extent have EU textile companies integrated respect for human rights throughout their operations? Are EU companies carrying out robust human rights due diligence throughout their supply chains to prevent the next ‘Rana Plaza’? 

This briefing explores these questions by laying out the main challenges and opportunities in the EU textile sector. Based on data collected by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre over the last seven years on over 170 allegations of negative human rights impacts, this briefing sheds light on the key human rights issues, the scale and geographical dispersion of alleged abuses, and the quality of the responses from EU textile companies to these allegations. It also shares lessons from key legal cases involving EU textile firms where alleged victims sought access to remedy. 

The briefing concludes with recommendations for EU policy-makers and decision-makers, as well as to companies, to overcome the existing challenges to respect and protect human rights in the EU textile industry and its supply chains. A key problem at present is the lack of coordination among member states on how to tackle these issues. By surveying the scale of the abuses, the lack of access to remedy for victims, and identifying the gaps, challenges and opportunities, the briefing emphasizes the need for an EU-wide homogenous set of legislation on human rights responsibilities for EU textile companies. 

This report was commissioned by MEP Lola Sánchez Caldentey.