OCA has joined 22 major companies, brands and organisations who have signed an Open Letter to the industry, urging that it aligns to rebuild the fashion and textiles sectors from the COVID-19 crisis with sustainability and environmental wellbeing as key priorities.

Launched during 2020’s virtual World Water Week, the Open Letter’s signatories include multinationals such as H&M, Tchibo, Burberry, PVH, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Primark as well as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, ZDHC, Alliance for Water Stewardship, CDP, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and WWF.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched a call to action “COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry”, which aims to catalyse action across the industry to support manufacturers and protect garment workers’ income, health and employment. The Open Letter is a complement to the ILO’s call, with a focus on the environmental aspects that need to be taken into consideration by the sector.

The signatories to the Open Letter call on other companies, brands and organisations in the fashion, apparel and textile sector to:

  • Support and encourage governments to deploy Green Economic Recovery Plans;

  • Maintain and strengthen corporate sustainability commitments;

  • Recognize the importance of WASH and pledge action;

  • Recognize the importance of nature, particularly freshwater ecosystems, in maintaining human wellbeing;

  • Increase brand-led sustainability efforts and ensure a role for circularity;

  • Enhance and strengthen supplier relationships; and

  • Enhance traceability and transparency

Since its establishment, OCA has been focused on conveying the sector to ensure that brands, retailers and suppliers provide secure, diverse and improved incomes to organic farmers. OCA’s interventions have become even more critical given the uncertainty created by COVID-19 in the market and for farmers worldwide. Despite the challenging conditions prompted by the pandemic, at OCA, we believe the crisis could be an unparalleled opportunity for a global reset; a chance to reimagine how our sector and supply chains operate, which is why we are proud to join WWF’s call for action and keen to highlight farmers within the conversation too.

As a multi- stakeholder initiative that focuses on creating security at the very start of the textile supply chain: with organic cotton farmers and raw material production, we have seen first-hand the devastating impact of the pandemic on farmers. We fully support the intent and ambition behind this letter. We are adding our signature to this movement because we want to make sure no-one forgets about the farm – where the apparel sector truly starts. Now, more than ever, we need to keep supporting farmers and make sure we start any rebuilding efforts at farm -level first. WWF share that perspective, which is why we are signing this letter. We strongly urge other companies, brands and organisations to sign up to the open letter to add their voices to the call for a more sustainable future for the industry.”

– Bart Vollaard, OCA Executive Director.

Read more about the WWF letter here.

Companies, brands and organisations that want to sign up to the Open Letter: Please contact Angela Ortigara (Angela.Ortigara@wwf.de)