Home / Knowledge / News / Apparel/Garments / Cheap fashion is exploitation - Ethical Clothing Australia
Cheap fashion is exploitation - Ethical Clothing Australia
11
Jun '13
The recent collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh killing over 1000 workers, many of them young women, is a tragedy that didn't need to happen.

So what role did retailers who source from overseas play in this tragedy? Is there a price to pay for cheap fashion? How can anyone sell a pair of jeans for less than what it cost 10 or even 20 years ago?

Well the answer is it’s not efficiency,its exploitation. That is the exploitation of vulnerable garment workers in developing countries. This is not just in Bangladesh but the use of sweatshop labour is systemic throughout Asia and in most developing countries where clothes are made.

The question responsible clothing retailers should be asking is how we prevent another tragedy, such as that in Bangladesh, happening again. For Australian retailers and designers the answer is ethical supply chain management or ethical sourcing. The question then is doing it locally or do you source from overseas.

Key elements to ethical sourcing

While ECA doesn't accredit businesses who manufacture outside Australia there are still important lessons that can be learnt for those businesses sourcing globally. For any business it is important to build and maintain a good relationship with any supplier,based on an understanding that they will need operate to an agreed ethical standard as a minimum.

In return you need make sure that the way you run your business reinforces the values you expect from your suppliers. That includes ensuring suppliers are paid well and given sufficient time to do the job properly. No one can plan for every eventuality but treating your supplier badly isn't going to help.

Supply chain management is an important part of any business including those in the TCF industry. Ethical Clothing Australia works with a wide range of brands and manufacturers, including many small businesses, to ensure they understand and comply with current legislation and assisting designers and retailers in managing the risks to their business. By helping business understand and comply with the law ECA can help reduce risks and enhance their reputation as a socially responsible business.

Risk management becomes even more critical when operating in overseas and particularly in a developing country where labour standards and health & safety are far below what is expected in countries like Australia.

For example in Bangladesh trade unions are unable to operate freely, regulatory agencies are under resourced (e.g. less than 20 inspectors to cover more than 10,000 factories or places of work) and governments are often unwilling to enforce decent wages and conditions for fear of driving away foreign investment. But ultimately no one wins in a ‘race to the bottom’ in wages and labour standards.

In terms of ethical standards and codes of practice there are at least 4 key elements that ECA rely on. Firstly ECA takes a multi-stakeholder approach that includes individual business, employer representatives and trade unions. Secondly there is a focus on making sure the supply chain is transparent. Thirdly there is independent monitoring of the supply chain by trade union representatives rather than company appointed auditors.Finally, in Australia there are strong and enforceable laws that protect workers healthy and safety and pay and conditions


Must ReadView All

Textiles | On 28th Jun 2017

GST and textiles industry: Analysis and opinion

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is at long last all set to be rolled ...

Textiles | On 28th Jun 2017

India probing dumping of polyester yarn by China

Indian government is probing anti-dumping allegations against a...

(left to right) Rohit Munjal, Ashok  Shah, Rahul Mehta, Premal Udani, Rajesh Masand and Jayesh  Shah

Textiles | On 28th Jun 2017

CMAI to host 822 exhibitors at 65th National Garment Fair

The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) will host over ...

Interviews View All

Sunil Kumar Sharma
Loknayak JPNSSSG Ltd

'The blend of cotton–linen yarn has high demand in the domestic and...

Pinkesh Jain
Everflow Petrofils Ltd

‘An innovative technology which India needs desperately is the...

Neel Sawhney
One Friday

‘The share of kidswear segment in the online sector is still small in...

Eric Scholler
Groz-Beckert

The Indian market has huge potential in technical textiles, and by far,...

Giorgio Mantovani
Corman S.p.A

Giorgio Mantovani, MD of Corman, with a presence in both Milano and New...

Suresh Patel
Sidwin Fabric

Sidwin Fabric is a manufacturer and exporter of polypropylene textiles and ...

Bani Batra

Bani Batra’s couture wedding collection is inspired by traditional Indian...

Tony Ward
Tony Ward

"You have to truly understand what your client wants, know her needs, what ...

Sanjukta Dutta
Sanjukta's Studio

<b>Sanjukta Dutta</b> creates unique garments by clubbing prints of...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

news category


Related Categories:
July 2017

July 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search