Promotion of textile supply chains

Project description

Title: Sector Project Promotion of Multi-Stakeholder Projects for Sustainable Textile Supply Chains
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: supraregional
Overall term: 2017 to 2020


The textile and clothing industry has become a key sector of the economy in many developing countries and emerging economies, providing jobs and income for more than 75 million people, primarily women. However, at the same time, precarious working conditions are common in the sector and human rights and social and environmental standards are insufficiently upheld. Wages are low and in most cases do not enable the employees to maintain the minimum subsistence level. Social security systems are rarely in place and labour law provisions are frequently circumvented or only inadequately monitored. Membership in a trade union, or simply the founding of such a union, often results in reprisals or dismissal. There are also environmental impacts, for example as a result of improper disposal of chemicals or the discharge of polluted production water into rivers. All of this has negative effects on the employees’ working and living conditions and those of people who live close to production facilities.

The increasing complexity and lack of transparency in the supply chains mean that none of the stakeholders can master the challenges alone. Accordingly, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) places an emphasis on bundling activities in what are known as multi-stakeholder projects (MSPs), in which stakeholders from politics, business and civil society plan and implement projects together.


The social, ecological and economic working and living conditions along the textile supply chain are improved.


MSPs are being implemented within the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, through its Partnership Initiatives. For this, the project advises BMZ with regard to its organisational and financial contribution to implementation. There are currently three Partnership Initiatives: ‘Improving social standards in Tamil Nadu’, ‘Reduction of hazardous chemicals in wet processes through chemical and environmental management’ and ‘Payment of living wages along the textile supply chain’.

The project also cooperates with German development cooperation and strategic partners to drive forward other projects along the textile supply chain outside the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. Here, projects are implemented by means of institutional support for partners (such as foundations or non-governmental organisations) or in cooperation with partners on the ground.

In addition, the commissioning party (BMZ) and stakeholders from Germany and the partner countries with an interest in MSPs receive access to advisory services for developing and implementing MSPs.


  • Through the Partnership Initiative ‘Improving social standards in Tamil Nadu’, more than 10,000 workers (of whom almost 70 per cent are women) have so far been made aware of their labour rights through training sessions.
  • The Partnership Initiative ‘Reduction of hazardous chemicals in wet processes through chemical and environmental management’ has held basic training courses on chemical management for the employees of supplier companies in China, Pakistan and Turkey.