Photo courtesy of Kingpins.

Organizers for The Kingpins Show have begun the process of requiring exhibitors to “meet or exceed” mandatory standards across categories such as corporate social responsibility, environmental and chemical usage. The changes will begin with its Kingpins Amsterdam Show on April 10 and 11 and will initially be limited to that show, exclusively.

Described as “a big step” for Kingpins and the denim supply chain, its standards program aims to “improve excellence in the industry,” the organization said. Its first standard will “address CSR and Kingpins organizers will offer clear guidance and support to its exhibiting mills. As part of the process, Kingpins exhibitors will be engaged in open discussions about standards and expectations related to certifications across all designated categories,” the organization said.

And Kingpins isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel: Its standards program is built on the idea that Kingpins will review existing industry standards and certifications — think of SA8000, WRAP, BSCI, ETI, FLA, SEDEX-SMETA, etc. — and require that exhibitors apply at least one standard to their existing business. The firm said once its standards program is deemed as protocol, it will “share all its information with other trade shows in the hopes that they use the standards criteria for their exhibitors as well.”

The Kingpins Show hosts denim supply chain shows in New York, Hong Kong, China and Amsterdam and is determined to push for the establishment of CSR standards globally throughout the industry. The organization said it “believes that industry trade shows are in a position to simultaneously help the denim industry be more responsible and support brands and retailers choose best-in-class suppliers by requiring exhibitors to comply to the highest industry standards.”

Andrew Olah, founder of Kingpins Show and Kingpins Transformers, said, “For example, in social compliance we have found that virtually none of our denim mills have an SA8000 certification or a WRAP certification, which is disappointing. We are unaware of any trade show where exhibitors are required to have any standards so Kingpins has decided to implement a new approach to make shows more than a window display.” He added, “There will be much more to say in the future as we add new requirements for our exhibitors to meet.”

Kingpins will host a seminar at the Kingpins Amsterdam show titled, “Does Your Denim Mill Have Any Social Standards?” focused on how denim mills can meet standards by 2020 and how the changes will impact brands and retailers. The seminar will be presented by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, or WRAP, and Social Accountability International.

Alberto Candiani, owner of Candiani Denim in Italy, said, “Kingpins is a very responsible organization and this a true responsible action. Such a strong commitment will guarantee all exhibitors and visitors much higher quality standards.”

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