Pakistan Buyers’ Forum

The Pakistan Buyers’ Forum brings together sector stakeholders, in order to create a platform for dialogue to improve their cooperation towards a sustainable growth of the sector, improving competitiveness, and compliance with international standards.

The mission of the Buyers’ Forum is to create a platform to facilitate and promote discussion on Buyers’ codes of conducts including national and international law as well as international best practices, and their implementation in Pakistan. The Pakistan Buyers’ Forum will also seek partnerships with other stakeholders to leverage and scale improvement initiatives and create more sustainable production in the textile and garment sector.

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The Buyers’ Forum in Pakistan is composed of private and public members representing 23 international brands that source Pakistani Textile products. They expressed their commitment to sustainable practices, improving compliance, and reporting on environmental, labour and health and safety standards and their implementation in the textile and garment sector in Pakistan. Cumulatively these brands & retailers make up for about 50% of Pakistan's apparel and home-textiles exports.

The engagement of buyers, brands and all relevant stakeholders is paramount to build the path towards improved workers safety and better compliance with labour and environmental standards in Pakistan's textile and garment industry, ensuring the sector remains attractive to international buyers.

To drive the work of the Buyers’ Forum, the coalition is currently shaping three working groups; on Advocacy, Enterprise improvement, and Communication, to support the goals of the platform.

The Forum is an initiative from the ILO, IFC, and the government of the Netherlands, created in alignment with the government of Pakistan, with the objective of improving productivity and compliance to all the requirements under the GSP Plus status.

History

In December 2014, a Buyers’ Forum was established to facilitate and promote a dialogue platform between buyers and manufacturers to discuss sustainable practices, improved compliance and reporting on environmental, labour and health & safety standards and their implementation in the garment and textile sector in Pakistan.

The creation of the forum stems from series of efforts; dialogues and engagement at the national and international levels led by the government of Pakistan and other actors to promote awareness on the benefits of GSP Plus and its impact on the improvement of labour practices in Pakistan. GSP Plus, a trade preferential status granted to Pakistan by the European Union in January 2014 has helped Pakistani products not only to enter the EU market but also to sustain their share in it.

In May 2014, a business roundtable for textile and apparel sector was arranged on the side line of Pak-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting held in Washington DC in collaboration with USTR office.

Later in September 2014, IFC-ILO organized a meeting on Building a Sustainable Garment and Textile Sector in Pakistan including strengthening compliance with International Labour Standards (ILS) in Washington DC.

The focus of both these meetings was to get inputs for a new vision and plan for a sustainable textile sector in Pakistan and to discuss the roadmap for engagement of national and international stakeholders to secure greater compliance with ILS and to build an enabling environment for investments in the garments and textile sector in Pakistan.

The Buyers’ Forum in Pakistan is being jointly facilitated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Netherlands embassy, in collaboration with the Government of Pakistan.

Objectives

The Pakistan Buyers’ Forum works towards a larger sustainable supplier pool to draw from (improving the competitiveness of Pakistan production) and cleaner and more equitable production in Pakistan. The coalition focusses on risk remediation, retention of GSP+, positive exposure, and functions as a means for raising policy and regulatory concerns.

If you would like to be a part of this initiative, please contact us here.

Working groups

The coalition is currently shaping three working groups to support the goals of the platform.

  • Advocacy: a government outreach / public policy working group
    • Building capacity for labour inspections
    • Halting the ongoing extension of temporary contracts that deny workers fringe benefits
    • Exploring opportunities for supporting productivity increases
  • Enterprise Improvement: linking progressive suppliers to a joint improvement program
    • Identifying suppliers that show potential for achieving the compliance & sustainability level for exports
    • Creating a roadmap/curriculum to engage with suppliers
    • Start implementing continuous improvement projects with suppliers
  • Strengthening Communications:
    • Strengthens the position of the Buyers’ Forum and fosters (new) participation
    • Acknowledges participating companies and stimulates good performance
    • Grows exports from Pakistan which enables suppliers to perform better

Participants (include secretariat, government parties)

Structure

Pakistan Buyers’ Forum

Working towards a more sustainable textile sector in Pakistan