The globalization of textile and garment production is giving rise to numerous ecological and social challenges. Textile and garment workers in particular face precarious working conditions, which often amount to human rights violations. In addition, cotton production and textile manufacturing have significant negative impacts on the environment. Moreover, much environmental damage goes hand in hand with human rights violations for the local population in production countries. For example, inadequate wastewater management may lead to health problems.
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights define the accountability for human rights violations in global supply chains by states and companies. Under the leadership of the Federal Foreign Office, the German Federal Government has developed the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP), which came into force in 2016. It lays down the guiding principles with regard to the human rights due diligence obligations of the Federal Government and German companies and contains instructions for their implementation. To establish fair and sustainable textile and garment supply chains, German development cooperation works with various stakeholders such as consumers, retailers, brands and manufacturing companies. It also addresses the political framework conditions, for example through its activities promoting a national law on due diligence obligations.