Cascale Joins Stakeholders at the OECD Forum

Mar 13, 2024 11:05 AM ET
Campaign: Cascale Events
Andrew Martin_OECD Forum_Paris

Andrew Martin, executive vice president at Cascale (formerly the Sustainable Apparel Coalition), recently joined a panel at the OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector in Paris. The objective of the discussion was to understand how retailers are conducting due diligence on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) risks and reflect on where retailers stand at effectively leveraging their influence and meeting their responsibilities under the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector (OECD Garment Guidance). The session also sought to provide an opportunity to learn from strategies applied in the finance sector, given significant parallels between the management of brands and sustainable investment portfolios.

The panel session titled, “​​The role of retailers in building responsible supply chains” was moderated by Barbara Bijelic, deputy head of supply chain due diligence, OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct. In addition to Martin, the panel included, Christian Smith, head of sustainability stakeholder engagement, Zalando; Jodie Leek, head of branded engagement, ASOS Plc; Irina van der Sluijs, senior engagement specialist, Robeco, and Paul Roeland, transparency lead, Clean Clothes Campaign.

After Bijelic shared an overview of the retailer landscape and how the OECD engages with retailers, Martin outlined retailers' unique opportunity and responsibility to foster positive change by creating effective incentives that encourage their business partners to adopt and maintain the best Responsible Business Conduct practices. He shared insight into the relationship between retailers and brands among Cascale members, highlighting some of the challenges brands face and the need for a consistent, standardised, and timely approach to addressing them.

Martin discussed incentives that third-party retailers could offer, such as collaborative capacity building, and how the Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM), which is designed to provide a consistent framework for brands and retailers to evaluate, assess, and improve their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance provides a consistent framework for brands and retailers. He highlighted Cascale’s work with The Industry We Want (TIWW) as an example of our efforts to support collaborative initiatives and how such collaborations can facilitate industry alignment, with the aim of making it easier to scale sustainability initiatives quickly and efficiently.

He gave a brief overview of how TIWW was formed, how Cascale works with the initiative to better understand challenges, and plans to expand and bring more stakeholders to the table. Earlier in the week, TIWW published its 2024 Industry Dashboard Scores, further emphasizing the crucial need for collaboration to solve complex industry challenges.

Martin also noted that there is great opportunity for current and upcoming regulation not to be seen just as a minimum standard to achieve and comply with, but as a platform, and springboard on which to advance the most sustainable practices towards systemic change in the industry

The discussion concluded with consensus from all panelists on the importance of transparency, and the role of regulation to the playing field across the industry. You can rewatch the full session here.