Commitment to the seamstresses of Tamil Nadu

India’s textile industry has a long tradition. Even today, it remains one of the country’s most important export sectors. In recent years, worldwide public awareness for the social needs of textile workers has increased constantly. Nonetheless, several areas and regions still face many challenges to creating safe, fair conditions. That’s why HUGO BOSS, together with other members of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, works to improve the labor conditions of the textile workers in the southern India region of Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu is one of India’s southern-most states. Of the country’s 28 states, Tamil Nadu has the fifth-largest economy. The textile industry plays a very large role here. Its spinning mills, tanneries, and textile factories produce products for HUGO BOSS and many other companies.

As a result, the company’s responsibility to the textile workers is clear. To live up to this responsibility, HUGO BOSS is involved in the Tamil Nadu Partnership initiative (systematic improvements to labor conditions in the textile and apparel industry) of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. A number of measures seek to improve labor conditions, particularly in spinning mills. Women comprise 80% of the workforce there and in many cases lack knowledge about their rights. 

This initiative was launched in July 2018. Other supporters include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, FEMNET, KiK, Otto Group, and Tchibo.

Success through dialog and information

The initiative aims to initiate an open political dialog with all relevant stakeholders in Tamil Nadu’s textile sector: together with government representatives, the companies that produce here, and civil society, the challenges facing Tamil Nadu’s textile sector are discussed openly, to develop potential solutions . This transparency is essential to building trust between the individual stakeholders.

At the same time, in cooperation with local NGOs, training programs on employee rights and complaint mechanisms are being held for management and employees at some 300 spinning mills and factories. The inspectors who carry out official inspections also receive training – to improve the quality of future inspections. In addition, the initiative also supports the establishment and operation of legally binding mediation and complaint management committees.

In addition to financial and/or in-kind contributions, the members – including HUGO BOSS – contribute organization-specific expertise and networks to the implementation of the program. Selected HUGO BOSS suppliers also help implement the initiatives locally. 

The Tamil Nadu initiative isn’t HUGO BOSS’ only effort toward improving social conditions along the supply chain. We work together with our partners and suppliers worldwide to achieve high standards here – for example, through audits, training courses, and involvement in multi-stakeholder initiatives.