The International Trade Centre (ITC) raises the attention of the Tajik textile industry stakeholders to the corporate social responsibility according to the International Standard Organization (ISO) standards.

ITC Office in Tajikistan says a series of trainings on ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility (GSR) for the representatives of the textile and clothing companies were completed in Khujand on March 14.  Bokhtar (February 28) and Dushanbe (March 4) have previously hosted other trainings.

The initiative is reportedly organized by the ITC and funded by the Government of Switzerland within ITC’s Global Textile and Clothing Program.

ISO 26000 considers societal, environmental, legal, cultural, political and organizational diversity, as well as differences in economic conditions, while being consistent with international norms of behavior.

ITC Office in Tajikistan notes that the purpose of the trainings is to increase the level of knowledge of Tajik textile and clothing enterprises on social responsibility standards according to ISO and improve their practical skills in this field.  The trainings contain a theoretical part demonstrating the connection between implementation of the social responsibility standards and sustainable business growth, profitability and access to international markets.  Main approaches in social responsibility in the textile and clothing sector and its elements, economic benefits of good working conditions, stakeholder engagement were in the focus of the training and were accompanied with practical exercises.  The practical tasks took significant part of the training, during which participants developed a strategy and plan for their enterprises.

ITC national consultant, Ms. Farzona Tilavova, who led the trainings, says: “The business is responsible for its impact on the society.  The modern day business is not only to profit, but also to ensure product safety, to respect human rights, to improve working conditions, not to pollute the nature and not to destroy the biodiversity, and to ensure transparency and accountability.  We have talked about all this with the Tajik textile and clothing producers.”

According to her, the topic is very important for the Tajik enterprises working in the new market economy conditions.  Nowadays employers should understand that investments in good working conditions and employee engagement are beneficial for the company and improve its sustainability and productivity.  Behavioral change of new generation consumers and raised level of expectations from investors and civil society on the transparency of value chains incentivize companies to imbed sustainability in their business models.  Implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices becomes an imperative for enterprises to enter international markets and, at the same time, results in increased productivity and competitiveness.

The ITC says it will continue assisting the Tajikistan textile and clothing sector in improving social responsibility.  At least three most interested and motivated companies will be selected and technically supported to further implement the elements of ISO 26000.

The GTEX MENATEX program is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Swiss Confederation focusing on five priority countries (Egypt, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan and Tunisia). The program aims to encourage exports of textiles and clothing from developing countries to promote employment and income generation throughout the value chain.