In Vietnam, assessment standards and protocols vary enormously. Brands, factories, and government bodies adhere to a variety of assessment tools, leading to unnecessary complexity and complacency. Rather than enabling factories to focus on corrective action plans and capacity building, the myriad of assessments imposes a cumbersome, administrative burden on manufacturers.
Task Force 1 aims to streamline assessments throughout the sector, and free up factories’ resources to invest in beyond-compliance capacity building. The Task Force will support the creation of a common language between manufacturers, their buyers, the Vietnamese government, and civil society organizations. By means of Task Force 1, furthermore, Race to the Top will push for data sharing across buyer and supplier organizations.
Task Force 1 will create clarity about accountability criteria, enabling factories to focus on implementing lasting and meaningful solutions for the problems they face.
Race to the Top will promote sector-wide use of the Higg index, which was designed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to boost environmental performance in apparel and footwear factories. The Higg index is the standard of choice because it provides an alternative to contemporary comply-or-die audit types. It is a continuous improvement tool that builds on the awareness that audits have failed to transform the industry. The Higg index applies a scale that helps factories determine their most pressing improvement needs, and provides the support needed to achieve improvement in identified areas. Thanks to data sharing, the Higg index gives factories insights in the types of solutions that other factories have implemented and rallied with. In the area of working conditions, Race to the Top’s stakeholders will support Better Work to bring the industry together around a common language, and mobilize action toward sustainable improvements.