The voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative is a collaborative effort between the Vietnamese government, the Vietnamese apparel and footwear industry, global consumer brands, international organizations, and civil society organizations. Working toward long-lasting sustainable performance throughout the sector, its added value resides in broad stakeholder commitment and collaboration.
A number of strategizing meetings were held in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Amsterdam, and San Francisco throughout 2015. Soon, a clear focus emerged: which proven solutions contributing to a long-term impact on the Vietnamese apparel and footwear sector can be scaled?
The first step toward an answer to this question revolves around a shared understanding of the challenges faced by the industry. Brainstorming sessions and mapping studies paved the way for agreement about top challenges and gaps. Building on this collective understanding, Race to the Top identified innovations and new approaches that can help mitigate risk, and address the sector’s most pressing challenges.
Empowering every participating partner, Race to the Top creates a multi-stakeholder platform that brings out the best in, and will empower, every participating partner. Vietnamese government officials can help embed the Race to the Top program, mobilize funding, and catalyze senior-level engagement needed to achieve pervasive impact. NGOs can provide insights in the sector’s challenges, and suggest pathways for change. Manufacturers, in turn, can bring insights to the table about the setbacks they face on the ground and need support for. Buyers, finally, can push for uptake of better manufacturing practices, and reward those suppliers that invest in sustainable production.