Dutch clothing company wins the internationally recognised award for their living wage project in Turkey
The family business Schijvens Corporate Fashion won the 2017 Best Practice Award on 10th November 2017, an annual award bestowed by the Fair Wear Foundation. Fair Wear Foundation is committed to realising good working conditions in the clothing industry, in countries where clothing is produced for the Dutch and European market. Schijvens has proven it’s possible to pay a living wage in Turkey and this has been rewarded with the award.
Schijvens largely took over the factory a year ago and realised it was common practice in Turkey for wages or bonuses to sometimes be paid under-the-counter, without an adequate registration system. Additionally, many factory workers received a minimum wage, which often isn’t equal to a living wage. A fair wage was established after research was conducted and in close consultation with the employees in Schijvens’ own factory in Turkey. This new fixed wage allows for a sufficient amount of food, rent, healthcare, education, clothing, transport and savings. Exactly what an item of clothing should cost has also been carefully looked into, in order to be sure a living wage is incorporated in this.
Schijvens, which has been producing work clothing since 1863, doesn’t just work in Turkey, but also in other low-wage countries, mainly in Asia. The factories which produce these clothes are 100% controlled by Fair Wear, which means Fair Wear independently inspects and monitors the working conditions. The many investments and enormous amount of attention Schijvens has devoted to improving the working conditions has now made Schijvens Corporate Fashion a “LEADER” within the Fair Wear Foundation.
Now the Living Wage project is up and running in Turkey, Schijvens is also rolling the project out in all other factories where it produces clothing. This is being done in the exact same way as in Turkey, together with the factory workers. The company organises its own annual supplier meeting, which all of the clothing manufacturers which supply this family business form part of. Explanations regarding how partners can get started on these projects will be provided during these days, but other subjects in relation to CSR will also be addressed. This close collaboration will also result in a bond of trust and Schijvens does everything within its power, where necessary, to personally help all of its suppliers to solve any possible issues. CSR must be implemented throughout the entire chain, allowing for complete transparency towards the consumer regarding where their clothes are produced and exactly what they are paying for.
Legislation in the Netherlands
Schijvens has joined the Covenant of Sustainable Clothing and Textile, which was endorsed by the then Minister Ploumen in July 2016, for as long as there aren’t any official laws for the clothing industry in the Netherlands. The spotlight was put on all of the supply chain participants for this purpose and all possible risks were identified, or rather due diligence. Schijvens subsequently produced an approach plan from its due diligence, which has been inspected and agreed by the SER.