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21 Aug

Clean Clothes Campaign

What is the Clean Clothes Campaign?

The Clean Clothes Campaign is a global organisation working towards improving working conditions and empowering workers in the fashion industry. The organisation- the largest alliance of its kind in the industry – believes all people working in the fashion industry should be able to defend and improve their rights.

Based in Amsterdam, the Clean Clothes Campaign brings together hundreds of trade unions and NGOs covering a diverse range of topics, such as women’s rights, consumer advocacy and poverty reduction.

The Clean Clothes Campaign helps identify local problems, sets objectives, develops campaign strategies and cooperates with similar labour rights organisations to support workers.

The Clean Clothes Campaign:

  • Puts pressure on companies and governments to take responsibility to ensure that the rights of workers are respected and implemented.
  • Works with organised workers and takes action on concrete cases of violations of the rights of workers and activists.
  • Raises awareness and mobilises people to take action.
  • Explores judicial mechanisms and lobbies for legislation to protect workers’ rights.

It is founded on the following principles:

  • All workers—regardless of sex, age, country of origin, legal status, employment status or location, or any other basis—have a right to good and safe working conditions, where they can exercise their fundamental rights to associate freely and bargain collectively, and earn a living wage, which allows them to live in dignity.
  • Workers have a right to know about their rights (under national and international law and agreements, as well as under voluntary initiatives and agreements). They are entitled to education and training in relation to these rights.
  • The public has a right to know where and how their garments and sports shoes are produced.
  • Workers themselves can and should take the lead in their own organising and empowerment.
  • Workers can best assess their needs and the risks they take when asserting their rights. Public campaigns and other initiatives to take action in cases of rights violations and the development of strategies to address these issues must be done in consultation with workers or their representatives.
  • The public can and should take action to see that workers’ rights are respected. However, the CCC does not generally endorse or promote boycotts as a tool for action.
  • In order to achieve and maintain workers’ rights, the gender issues underlying or facilitating rights violations must be addressed.
  • National governments and international authorities have an obligation to implement legislation and sanction any failure to do so. Binding legislation should exist that meets the standards set out in ILO conventions; They also should implement ethical procurement policies.
  • The garment and sports shoe industries (including factory owners, agents, manufacturing companies, brand name garment corporations, retailers, and others) have a responsibility to ensure that good labour practices are the norm at all levels of the industry. Given the current structure of the industry, brand name garment companies and retailers must use their position of power to ensure good labour standards are met.
  • Brand name garment companies and retailers should adopt a code of labour practice that follows the standards outlined in the CCC model code, commit to implement these standards throughout the garment production subcontracting chain, and participate in credible, transparent and participatory multi-stakeholder verification initiatives in order to develop, guide and oversee code implementation activities.
  • Brand name garment companies and retailers should actively pursue social dialogue with trade union organizations, and sign international framework agreements to facilitate such dialogue.
  • Companies must be transparent about conditions in, and the structure of, their supply networks and regarding actions undertaken to uphold good labour standards.
  • Trade unions and NGOs should cooperate nationally, regionally and globally to improve conditions in the garment and sports shoe industries and facilitate worker empowerment, without resorting to protectionism. Such cooperation should be based on mutual respect  for each others different roles and methods, open and active communication, participatory consensus building and constructive criticism.

The Clean Clothes Campaign also created a Code of Labour to be adopted and implemented by companies, which sets forth minimum standards for wages, working time, working conditions and provides for observance of all of the core standards of the International Labour Organisation

A brief history of the Clean Clothes Campaign

The organisation was founded in 1998 and has since worked to ensure that the fundamental rights of workers are respected.

It has campaigns in 15 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Some Clean Clothes Campaign members we rated

Useful links

To learn more about the Clean Clothes Campaign, visit:

Editor's note

Feature image via Clean Clothes Campaign.

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