Responsible Sourcing Network and Shahi Exports announce their collaboration in promoting due diligence towards ethical cotton sourcing practices in the garment industry. The partnership aims to build a transparent and forced labor-free supply chain for cotton as countries across the world move to strengthen due diligence and sourcing standards.
YESS: Yarn Ethically & Sustainably Sourced is an initiative by Responsible Sourcing Network that dedicated several years to developing rigorous due diligence standards to achieve a forced labor-free cotton supply chain for the garment and textile industry.
The YESS standards were officially presented in India on May 2, 2023 at a workshop in Bengaluru, Karnataka, attended by multiple industry members. The workshop highlighted the significance of due diligence in building an ethical supply chain for cotton sourcing and furthering the goal of preventing forced labor.
“This joint effort represents a significant milestone in the pursuit of responsible and transparent cotton supply chains. As we expand conducting assessments in India later this year, we invite industry members to join this collective advancement and have their mills trained and assessed,” said Patricia Jurewicz, CEO of Responsible Sourcing Network.
Following the workshop, YESS conducted its initial independent assessments in India at Shahi Exports’ knitting and spinning facilities in Shivamogga. The YESS program assesses management systems and inventory controls of mills to identify, assess, and mitigate the risks of forced labor based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) due diligence framework. In 2022, Shahi was one of the seven global suppliers that piloted the YESS Standards and has now become the first mill in India to take the lead in implementing robust due diligence measures.
“As India’s largest apparel manufacturer and exporter, Shahi is committed to producing goods using ethical, fair, and sustainable practices. We are thrilled to embark on this journey and align ourselves with global standards of due diligence. We recognize that efforts towards traceability require industry collaboration, and we are confident that YESS will provide valuable support in achieving this goal.” stated Anant Ahuja, Head of Organizational Development at Shahi Exports.
While already operating with firm checkpoints for cotton sourcing, the YESS assessment provided additional insights that enabled Shahi to further strengthen its management processes in response to evolving legislation and growing consumer demand on traceability against forced labor.
Spinners and textile mills play a critical role in facilitating visibility and due diligence in the complex cotton-sourcing landscape as gatekeepers. YESS recognizes the position they hold and values their partnership in connecting the industry agenda across the global supply chain.