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With the Support and Partnership of the European Union

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RESPONSIBLE, SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL TRADE

ESG Corporate Reporting Tool

What is ReSET Fashion?

The Ethical Fashion Initiative’s Responsible Sustainable and Ethical Trade (ReSET) system is a set of tools to manage supply chains and report on the Environmental, Social and Governance Criteria. ReSET Fashion is designed to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which themselves draw inspiration from the foundational 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international conventions on social, cultural and environmental rights. The Environmental Component of ReSET Fashion is guided by the United Nations Environmental Programme, the UN’s expert agency for Environment. ReSET Fashion does not attempt to create new standards or legally binding instruments; instead, it focuses on how existing standards can be applied in the value chain.
EFI has been promoting international best practice in social responsibility and labour rights in fashion and lifestyle value chains since its inception. Any business partnering with EFI is asked to sign up to its Code of Conduct, which was developed with international experts like the Fair Labour Association and International Labor Organization. The Code enshrines the 10 core principles for reconciling sound business management with a positive and equitable impact on employees, suppliers and communities. 

What does ReSET Fashion do?

ReSET Fashion enables businesses to create and manage equitable and sustainable value chains. It provides a foundation of business ethics and a set of tools for building and measuring value chains that are socially and environmentally sustainable. ReSET Fashion is unashamedly about a better way of making fashion and lifestyle products. 

Reporting on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria

ReSET Fashion data is designed to contribute towards corporate reporting on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). The toolkit will track and measure data against the following criteria;

ENVIRONMENT

  • Climate Change – Contribution to the Paris agreement
  • Pollution and solid waste management
  • Use of renewable energies
  • Utilization of natural capital

SOCIAL

  • Dignity, equality, safety, health and well-being at work
  • Human capital development: the skills of the future
  • Regeneration of social capital
  • Community relations and social opportunities

GOVERNANCE

  • Ethical behaviour 
  • Purpose and quality of governing body
  • Stakeholder engagement

Contents:
ReSET Fashion Tools
- The ReSET Fashion Charter of Ethical Business
- Environmental Component
- Social Component
Implementing ReSET Fashion
Download the Toolkit

ReSET Fashion Tools

The ReSET Fashion system consists of a set of tools that enable all value chain actors to manage their production activities in an ethical and sustainable manner. There are tools for each component of ethical trade. ReSET Fashion stresses partnership, shared responsibility and co-creation in defining the steps that each value chain actor must take to deliver an ethical fashion or lifestyle product.

A journey, not a checklist

The starting point for implementing ReSET Fashion  is the Ethical Sourcing Matrix, used to assess business partners and suppliers and their readiness to engage in ethical and sustainable trade. The matrix collects data on 16 elements of sustainable sourcing, automatically allocating a score to each through an algorithm embedded in the file provided. The scoring does not yield a pass/fail grade but rather, a starting point for continuous improvement. The lowest scores indicate areas that should be prioritised for capacity building to ensure a balanced system of sustainable production.
The next step is to use a shared responsibility approach to co-create sustainability expectations with business partners and suppliers at each level of the value chain. ReSET Fashion tools measure baselines at the beginning of the journey, helping the partners to set realistic goals for the end-point and milestones along the way. The tools monitor progress along the path to social and environmental sustainability. 

The ReSET Fashion Charter of Ethical Business

The Charter sets out the principles and values that underpin our approach to ethical and sustainable business and is based on established international human rights instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions. It does not attempt to create new standards or legally binding instruments. Instead it focuses on how those standards can be applied in the value chain.
The Charter comprises both Social/Labour and Environmental commitments:
  • The foundation of our commitment to ethical trade is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), starting with Article 1: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ (SDG 1, 10, 16)
  • Our purpose is to enable, through work, the freedom, equality, dignity and rights of all those who contribute to the production of fashion and lifestyle products (SDG 5, 8, 10)
  • We believe that Ethical Fashion and Lifestyle products flow from a process of creation and self-realisation that is ethics-based, from the choice of materials and tools, to the skills and savoir-faire used in the creative process, to respect for all stakeholders in the value chain, including producers, workers and their communities and consumers (SDGs 8, 11, 12)
  • As value chain actors, we commit to building chains based on values that we declare with full transparency, traceability and accountability for our social and environmental impacts (SDGs 6, 7, 13, 14, 15)
  • We strive to deploy regenerative business practices where production, consumption and redistribution promote social and environmental sustainability (SDG 12)
  • We promote a vision of shared responsibility between all stakeholders for the human rights and environmental performance of the value chain (SDG 17)
  • We acknowledge the value provided by nature, people and society and the need for social, human and natural capital accounting (SDG 12)
  • We endeavour to provide work that is meaningful, purposeful and confers dignity (SDG 8)
  • We commit to paying taxes, negotiating fair contracts and paying fair wages that reduce poverty, inequality and exclusion (SDG 1, 10)
  • We believe that work must enable people to lead better lives in the communities where production processes take place. We enable this by creating conditions for greater equality of opportunity and treatment, fairness and equity in the employer-employee relationship, access to education and training, livelihoods and respect (SDGs 4, 5, 10, and 16).

Environmental Component

Not just growth, green growth

Compared to decent incomes, the right to a clean and healthy environment was considered by many an optional extra. Today, climate change has brought environmental sustainability centre-stage, and with it come immense challenges, but also interesting opportunities.

ReSET Fashion’s environmental component follows the guidance of the UN’s expert agency for Environment, the United Nations Environmental Programme. It focuses on two main areas:

  1. Decarbonization and reducing the carbon footprint

  2. Increasing circularity and a lifecycle approach to natural resource management.

Fashion and lifestyle value chains offer great scope for decarbonization, especially a more rational use of energy and materials, which alone account for over half of CO2 emissions. Interventions to curb emissions range from a greater focus on the so-called 3Rs (reduce, recycle and re-use), through targeted energy efficiency measures, to energy production from renewable sources. The concept of circularity, which challenges the current economic model towards a sustainable future, is explained in detail on UNEP’S website.

The first step in managing any resource is to measure it. Just as ReSET Fashion measures compliance with labour standards and the social impact of increased sales, so its environmental component measures carbon intensity and circularity, establishing baselines and developing action plans and interventions to rationalize the use of energy and materials.

Minimising risk, maximising opportunities

Decarbonized value chains offer a series of advantages: reduced energy costs for producers, enhanced environmental credentials and reduced reputational risk for brands, and more viable future for the planet. But ReSET Fashion opportunities do not end there: EFI has teamed up with Gold Standard and SustainCERT to measure and certify emissions reductions and contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.
ReSET Fashion partners can earn certificates for emissions reductions, renewable energy savings, water benefits and improved gender equality and health outcomes, and can use these certificates to secure carbon credits and investor or donor funding.

Social/Labour Component

Not just jobs, but dignified work

Over the last decade EFI has developed and honed a Code of Conduct that forms the basis of its contracts and subsequent interactions with social enterprises in emerging economies. The Code of Conduct provides an endpoint – full compliance – and a planning framework for achieving it, with quantitative and qualitative data collection to monitor progress. This data is then shared with institutional and brand partners to demonstrate the impact achieved. While the Code’s ten principles are universal, implementing it must necessarily take account of the individual social enterprise, its operating context and prevailing social and cultural norms.
Developing a business’s capacity to make a positive social and environmental impact goes hand in hand with financial success, increased productivity and international competitiveness.
ReSET Fashion’s social and labour tools have been designed to take the good intentions set out in the EFI Code of Conduct and turn them into ethical business practice.
All too often, outsourcing production to emerging economies has led to low-quality jobs and appalling working conditions. Trade that fails to take into account the fundamental human rights of the people involved in producing the goods is little more than modern-day slavery. 
ReSET Fashion tools help plot a course for improving the quality of jobs, as well as the quantity. A fair wage that covers the basic needs of a worker and his or her family. Opportunities for skills and career development, and better training to improve workplace safety. Tools also redress power imbalances between international buyers and suppliers and producers in the global South. Contracts can be tools for respect, partnership and sustainable, long-term relationships that benefit all parties. 
ReSET Fashion is a journey, not a check-list. It’s an act of co-creation, not an outside imposition. Partners start where they are and plan actions and set milestones to get where they want to be. 
ReSET Fashion tools help them keep track of impact over time and with each new order. Industry partners, global brands and social enterprises do not expect miracles overnight. ReSET Fashion enables them to measure the incremental steps, as skills and product quality increase and businesses become more competitive and able to create more and better jobs.

A toolbox to track social and environmental responsibility and support green growth

Closing the circle: the ReSET Fashion seal of approval

ReSET Fashion tools track the entire production cycle, recording economic, social and environmental impacts and using these data to build a credible product story for consumers. This product story is stored on a RFID chip embedded in the label or hangtag of a product, which the consumer can scan with a cell phone to enjoy a totally new and distinctive experience of sustainable and ethical consumption. 

Creating value through transparency

Brands offering ReSET Fashion-compliant products gain a competitive advantage; it’s a seal of approval that guarantees value chains that reflect values. Brands engage with their clients in a transparent dialogue based on data-driven stories and shared responsibility for our future. 

With ReSET Fashion, EFI has produced a comprehensive set of tools to enable the fashion and lifestyle industries to build climate-positive and socially-responsible value chains.

In the ReSET Fashion Charter of Ethical Business, environmental stewardship takes its place alongside social responsibility as a fundamental requirement of ethical business practice.

Implementing ReSET Fashion with EFI

For Partners

If you are an existing partner, please follow this link using your password to access the toolbox and get started on the ReSET Fashion journey.

Do you want to apply ReSET Fashion in your company?

Fill out the form below, and a member of the ReSET Fashion team will be in touch. 

The Ethical Fashion Initiative is a programme of the International Trade Centre,
a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

This website was created and is maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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