Is a relocation of textile production desirable?

► “The priority must be to produce better everywhere”

Nayla Ajaltouni, spokesperson for the Ethics collective on the label

For forty years, a new international division of labor has been set up with fully globalized subcontracting chains. Europe has also helped to specialize in textiles certain countries such as Bangladesh, and it would undoubtedly be extremely difficult to go back by relocating everything to France. Even if it is desirable for part of the production to return, if only for environmental and social reasons, other problems arise, such as that of skills that have been lost.

We have been mobilizing for five years for the implementation of a law on the duty of vigilance of multinationals to answer these questions. It aims to streamline business models and investment decisions so that they are no longer based solely on financial performance and short-term profits. The objective is that corporate responsibility can be engaged, in the event of a social or environmental disaster, with the key to damages to be paid. The duty of vigilance must also encourage them to put in place policies to avoid these tragedies.

Because, whatever the place of production, the priority must be to produce better everywhere. So let’s start by sanctioning the social lowest bidder. The consequences of this unbridled globalization force us to reflect on our manufacturing methods, ensuring that there are no longer a multitude of suppliers and subcontractors spread all over the world. “

► “Competition must first be fair”

Mourad Rabhi, secretary general of the Textile and Leather Clothing Federation at the CGT.

“For the moment, there is a lot of talk around the relocation of activities but they are mainly communication to please the public. Is there a political will to do it? I do not know. The state would have the means to push for the return of certain activities. It would suffice to introduce new criteria to promote public production in France or Europe into public procurement tenders and no longer rely solely on the lowest labor cost. If we were already at 35% of French production for public purchases, that would be a game-changer.

But let’s not dream. Not everything can and should not be relocated to France. You have to think about Europe with the Mediterranean area as your rear base. We have to know how to protect ourselves with a French and European production threshold, but certain countries will of course continue to produce clothes at low prices, because there is a demand.

We are simply asking for fair competition based on the quality of the product and no longer the cost of labor. The key is to have better traceability, which Europe has never really wanted. Consumers should know what they are buying and also be sure that products sold for several tens of euros were not produced for a few euros. It is not obvious, because many manufacturers who praise the made in France, have kept factories elsewhere and it is sometimes difficult to find their way around. “

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