NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 6Posted: April 16, 2012 | |
Sorry for the long pause, I have been working intensively on developing a “network fair fashion” in the German speaking world (“Netzwerk Faire Mode“). The platform – to be launched later this year – will be a label- & shopfinder for ethical fashion in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which helps consumers find “ethical fashion” more quickly and which makes transparent what is ethical about a company. So far, http://www.netzwerkfairemode.com (in German) has been (1) blogging about companies that produce fashion according to the criteria we defined; (2) issuing shopping guides like the “good jeans guide“; (3) issuing the bi-weekly newsletter “Fashion, Textiles and Sustainability“, which collects interesting newsbits and links for individuals, companies and institutions interested in fashion & sustainability.
We now separate (a) the “knowledge” part – that is rather directed to professionals working in fashion, textiles and sustainability – from (b) the more consumer-oriented part that provides transparency about ethical fashion brands and will result in an ethical labelfinder and more. You will find the knowledge-part here (www.starmanns.de). It will include the newsletter “fashion & sustainability” and will be written in English. The consumer-oriented part (on http://www.netzwerkfairemode.com) will be kept in German. Please note that the whole process is still on the way.
NETZWERK FAIRE MODE newsletter NO. 6
- Last Thursday H&M presented it’s tenth annual Sustainability Report (2011). The publication was followed by a huge press-response. Some articles suggest that the report might only be some kind of green washing activity, some others report more positively. However, Textile Exchange ranks the vertical integrated fast-fashion retailer as the single biggest buyer of organic cotton world wide. And the swedish company itself speaks about some hard figures for the first time – so maybe each should build up his or her own opinion by reading their CSR-Report themselves.
- Two weeks ago Netzwerk Fairemode published its Good Jeans Guide. Now an article about „Killer Jeans“, printed in one of Germanys biggest newspapers, the Frankfurter Rundschau, and a report by the CCC on sandblasting proved yet another time why our guide was crucial. We are on track including more companies into our Good Jeans Guide.
- Ever startet a line of thoughts with Apple (yes we do mean Mac) and ended with fair-fashion? We neither. But in the past months we all had to read about sweatshop-like working conditions found in the electronics production chain. These common hardships make this comparsion essential: And we believe Apple even can learn from some examples given by ethical-fashion producers.
- Heads up! All you (product) managers, pr-creatives and eco-hipsters: WGSN has compiled the Top 10 sustainable textile trends for 2012 – you’d better look out for them.
You can download the newsletter as PDF.
If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com
Please note that most of the text below is directly quoted from the linked articles without directly paraphrasing. However, you will quickly notice this, as soon, as you follow the links and dig into the articles.
1. CSR & SUSTAINABILITY
Guardian Sustainable Business, 3.4.12
Size matters, particularly in business. Growing to be a sizable company has always been regarded as “the” achievement for any business but as Seth Godin points out in his book, Small is the new Big, the era of “big” has come to an end. Small companies have proven to be leaders in innovation, particularly when it comes to re-engineering products or processes, and when trying brand new approaches. The UK trend forecasters, Index B, identify six major UK trends in its The Ones to Watch report 2012.
Guardian Professional Network, 11.4.2012
The first ever United Nations conference on happiness reflects a growing momentum to redefine our notion of growth. But will happiness gain a place at the top of the world agenda?
This was the first major step forward in a process which began last summer, when the resolution Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development was unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly. Taking the lead was Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan kingdom which famously measures its success in terms of “Gross National Happiness” (GNH).
The basic idea is that human progress is about more than just growing the economy. When we measure how well our societies are doing, this should focus on people’s overall quality of life, not just their standard of living. Economic growth can of course be beneficial, for example by lifting people out of poverty; but it can also come with unwanted side-effects, like increases in inequality, mental illness and environmental damage. The economy is a means to an end; the ultimate end is the happiness of the people.
New York Times, Letter by John Ruggie, 4.4.2012
… Imposing stricter conditions on suppliers alone isn’t going to solve this problem. The brands also have to acknowledge their role and change their own practices accordingly. All major brands that source their products overseas, including Apple, have supplier codes of conduct. The time has come for them also to consider codes of responsible ordering practices….
According to WGSN: Compress fibres to produce new eco materials, Luxury unwaste redefines recycling, Changing the functions of food, Reclaiming discarded items into new products, Reinterpreting domestic processes, The versatility of cork, Eco-friendly process in the denim industry, AirDye technology, Tackling air pollution, Glowing silk worms
2. WORKING CONDITIONS
The Independent, 14.2.2012
… Ratna, a worker at PT Panarub, said: “They [the management] get people to hide in bathrooms, so there are fewer people on the production line and it looks more efficient. If Adidas wants to ask questions, the workers are prepared beforehand with questions and answers. We can never tell the truth, otherwise we might lose our jobs.
Adidas suppliers are required to display its workplace standards on the factory wall. In several factories, workers say the code is not displayed or has been taken down. … “
Exposed: The reality behind London’s ‘ethical’ Olympics. Investigation reveals that the Adidas kit worn by Team GB athletes is made in abusive sweatshops
The Independent, 14.2.2012
Olympic-branded gear – to be worn by British athletes and Games volunteers – is being manufactured for Adidas in sweatshop conditions in Indonesia, making a mockery of claims by London 2012 organisers that this summer’s Games will be the most ethical ever.
Mirna, an indonesian adidas worker: “Every month I have to borrow, so I’m getting more and more into debt. And I really miss my son: I only see him once a year, because the travel is so expensive.”
Guardian Professional, Auret van Heerden, 11.4.2012
Apple and Foxconn should bear their share of responsibility for workers’ rights, but consumers are also responsible for ensuring that what they buy reflects their values, says the CEO of the FLA
JakartaGlobe / The Washington Post, 3.4.2012
In the world of global manufacturing, it seems that multinational corporations are destined to take their turn in the sweatshop spotlight. Apple’s turn, merely the latest, has taken an unusual twist.
At a factory in Cambodia that is believed to make Nike apparel, at least 107 garment workers fainted on Wednesday. The cause is likely to be exposure to chemicals and poor ventilation, reports New York magazine.
à Petition at Change.org
Frankfurter Rundschau, 3.4.2012
Manche Jeans-Hersteller arbeiten immer noch mit dem verbotenen Sandstrahlen – trotz Verbots. Für den schicken Look werden viele Jeans mit Sand bearbeitet. Das Verfahren ist extrem gesundheitsschädlich: Immer wieder sterben Textilarbeiter in Entwicklungsländern an den Folgen. Mindestens ein bekannter Hersteller verzichtet trotzdem nicht auf die tödliche Technik.
Urban Times, 3.4.2012
Ethical fashion makes us feel good because we are doing the right thing but at Italian brand Manifattura Donna, fashion is also about empowering women and making them feel beautiful and feminine in the clothes that they wear. They believe that style, success and sustainability are inextricably linked. Manifattura Donna create high quality ethical fashion for women who don’t want to compromise. Their clothes are designed in London and produced in a small village in central Italy working with just one artigianal factory and a handful of the most prominent Italian tailors for a handmade finish.
Working conditions in factories. When the jobs inspector calls. Do campaigns for “ethical supply chains” help workers?
“DEATH to Apple executives,” a protester shouted after a recent performance of “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”, a popular off-Broadway play. Apple executives must have been delighted when Mike Daisey, the playwright and star, recently retracted his nastiest allegations about the mistreatment of workers making Apple’s products in China. Apparently, he did not meet a worker poisoned by exposure to chemicals, or child workers at the factory gate. With its share price soaring as the latest iPad storms the market, Apple might be tempted to forget about the fuss over its labour practices. But that would be a mistake.
Ethical Corporation, 27.3.2012
There are still too many regulatory loopholes that allow labour abuses in big brand supply chains, argues Jon Entine. Are global corporations cleaning up their supply chains? Trying to answer that question is like wrestling an octopus into a shoebox: no matter how hard you try, something dangles out somewhere.
3. CHILDRENS’ RIGHTS
UN Global Compact, March 2012
Developed by UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children – the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (the Principles) are the first comprehensive set of principles to guide companies on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children’s rights. While the business and human rights agenda has evolved significantly in recent years, a child rights perspective has not yet been explicitly addressed. The Principles are built on existing standards, initiatives and best practices related to business and children, and seek to fill gaps to present a coherent vision for business to maximize the positive impacts and minimize negative impacts on children. In doing so, the Principles help to elaborate both expectations of, and opportunities for business, in relation to children; who are often overlooked as stakeholders of business.
Children’s rights are finally getting the attention they deserve
Guardian Professional Network, Margaret Wachenfeld, 30.3.2012
Children’s rights are finally getting the attention they deserve on the corporate responsibility agenda. An annual survey of key emerging business and human rights issues in 2012 included child rights for the first time. This recognition of children as an important contingent in the broader human rights and business discussion has been a long time coming.
In creating the mandate of UN special representative to the secretary general (SRSG) on business and human rights in 2005, governments called on the SRSG to “pay particular attention to children”.
Guardian Professional Network, 12.4.2012
Companies and consumers must both play their part if we are to beat climate change, says Jason Clay
Consumers, through their purchasing decisions, can help drive sustainability. And companies, through pre-competitive engagement, can offer more sustainable products to consumers. In the end, we all share the same burden of protecting the planet. How we manage our lives impacts the planet on which we all depend for life. By taking a deeper look at how your T-shirt was produced, and how you care for it, makes this clearer.
Ecotextiles News, 11.4.2012
There’s more bad news for some of the world’s largest clothing brands after a new report released by five environmental organisations in China accused retailers such as Zara, Marks & Spencer, Esprit, Calvin Klein, Armani and Carrefour of not only buying textiles from Chinese suppliers that illegally discharged polluted wastewater – but also of failing to engage adequately with the not-for-profit authors of the new report.
Just Style, MJ Deschamps, 3.4.2012
Re-using and reprocessing clothing, fibres and scraps is an effective way to create sustainability in the apparel industry – although textile recycling is currently facing barriers associated with cost, time, and technology. But as sustainability gains in importance, many services are being offered by both apparel manufacturers and other clothing and sector organisations to help improve recycling outputs.
5. COTTON and other fibres
TextileExchange, April 2012
This month Textile Exchange, with help from our friends, has plenty to share. We will be releasing new data, new analysis, and new debate. But what we like to do best is tell new stories; or better still ask our members to do the telling! This month we invite you to read our Farm & Fiber Report, join our Webinar (register now for April 24th or 26th) to find out “What is going on with organic cotton”, and sit back and read a good story or two. We launch our ‘Organic In Action’ this month; a new series of short commentaries where you will hear words of inspiration in the many voices of Textile Exchange members and friends. Future Shapers also kicks off mid-month: with our first of 10 companies that have been carefully selected to share their unique and ‘future shaping’ journey with us, many starting in organic cotton, and are applying their values and expertise beyond organic cotton to other aspects of their business as well. We hope you enjoy going organic with us in April.
Business for Social Responsibility, April 2012
Cross-sector collaboration is needed to create effective, industry-specific ESG disclosure guidelines for Chinese listed companies. That was the key takeaway from a recent focus group co-hosted by BSR and the Shanghai Stock Exchange to gather investor perspectives on CSR disclosure by Chinese companies…Chinese companies are generally skeptical of ESG disclosure, which many believe is something capital markets disregard and is therefore an unnecessary expense…All investors…[at the event] pointed out that the low quality of ESG reporting in China is a common problem.
7. STANDARDS & CERTIFICATES
Credibility Principles: Global Consultation Set to Launch
Iseal Alliance, 4.4. 2012
Sustainability standards are increasing in use and scope, and a wide variety of claims are being made about the environmental and social attributes of products. Stakeholders need to understand what makes standards systems credible, whether they are effective and how to evaluate and support them. It is also essential to develop a tool that provides a common way of organising the language used to claim sustainability in the marketplace.
Building from its Draft Credibility Principles, ISEAL is leading a global consultation to generate consensus on a set of Credibility Principles that represent the core values upon which effective standards are built. A complementary tool for understanding market claims will also be developed.
Textile Exchange, Liesl Truscott, 4.4.2012
This year is International Year of Co-operatives. In 2009 the United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 the UN International Year of Co-operatives. The UN recognises the diversity of co-operatives around the world and encourages governments to create a supportive environment for their development.
How can civil society organizations improve their positions in negotiations with the business world, be it in alliances, dialogues or round tables? In a guidebook titled ‘Multi-stakeholder initiatives. A strategic guide for civil society organizations’ that is published today, SOMO researcher Mariëtte van Huijstee describes a strategic action perspective for civil society organizations (CSOs) who are involved in multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs).
Transfair USA, 18.1.2012
Transfair USA’s press release regarding ist separation from FLO: Transparency, Clarity and Impact at the Core of U.S. Certifier’s Policy and Label Evolution
8. CONSUMERS & MARKETING
The Ecologist, 3.4.2012
Leather is no longer the only option out there for footwear but do the eco credentials of leather-free alternatives stand up to scrutiny?
In Berlin haben sich auch ökologische Labels eine Nische geschaffen. Zwischen handgestrickten Bikinis aus Biobaumwolle und wiederverwerteten Stoffresten ist dabei viel Raum für Ästhetik.
BANGLADESH: Investigate Killing of Labor Activist. Union Organizer Aminul Islam’s Body Bore Signs of Torture
Human Rights Watch, 11.4.2012
The Bangladesh authorities should immediately and impartially investigate the killing of the labor rights activist Aminul Islam, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed. Islam, 39, was a trade union organizer with the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity (BCWS).
New York Times, 10.4.2012
A labor activist who was arrested two years ago for his role in protests against low wages in Bangladesh’s garment industry was found murdered outside this city last week, labor rights advocates and the police said on Monday. … “We found several marks of wounds from his waist to his foot,” Rafiqul Islam said in a telephone interview. “His big toes and his ankles were smashed.”
China Labour Bulletin, 28.3.2012
The 24-page report looks at 553 worker protests that took place over the eleven years from 2000 to 2010. It plots the changes in the distribution of these protests across different industries, the changes in workers’ demands and tactics used to further those demands, and the changes in the composition of the workforce that fed into the wave of strikes in China’s manufacturing sector in the summer of 2010.
The report shows how demographic shifts combined with economic growth and social change over the decade have given China’s workers more bargaining power, and how a younger, better educated, more aspirational workforce that is more aware of its legal rights has learnt to use that bargaining power to its advantage. Workers are not only more confident in their ability to organize strikes and protests, they are increasingly willing to sit down with their employer and negotiate a settlement on behalf of their co-workers. Indeed, in some factories, workers have already established an embryonic system of collective bargaining.
The Guardian, Simon Zadek, 23.3.2012
New report looks at how China’s policies on sustainability and corporate social responsibility are evolving.
10. BRANDS / COMPANIES
Berliner Zeitung, 13.4.2012
H&M bietet jetzt auch Bio-Kleidung an. Doch nicht alles an der neuen Kollektion des schwedischen Modekonzerns ist nachhaltig.
Ecotextiles News 12.4.2012
H&M has today published its latest sustainability report, which reveals it is now the world’s largest user of organic cotton, that it saved 300 million litres of water during denim production in 2011 and also donated 2.3 million garments to charity. But is fast fashion really sustainable?
The Guardian, Lucy Siegle, 7.4.2012
H&M is not just a big player in “fast fashion“, it’s a giant. Estimates (fast fashion behemoths do not give out many production figures as the sector is intensely competitive) suggest it sells more than 550 million garments every year. It recently announced net quarterly profits of $412m. It is second only to Inditex, owner of Zara, as the world’s largest clothing retailer. The great fast fashion war pits Sweden‘s richest man, Stefan Persson, chair of H&M, against Spain’s richest man, Amancio Ortega, co-founder of Zara.
WRD Markt, 2.4.2012
11. CSR REPORTS
12. BOOKS, REPORTS, REVIEWS, SCIENCE
Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government — And the Reckoning That Lies Ahead”
David Rothkopf argues many companies have more impact, leverage & global reach than many countries. The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government — And the Reckoning That Lies Ahead” that there “are probably 2,000” private-sector companies who have “more impact, more leverage and more global reach than 50 to 80 countries.” These corporations are increasingly exerting their power and clout in the legislative and regulatory spheres, resulting in a new and alarming world power structure…[Transcript:] too much corporate power promotes income inequality…there is a huge gap where global corporations operate without oversight…on climate…on labour… [refers to ExxonMobil, Walmart, Apple, BlackRock, International Paper]
Corporate Social Responsibility: Verantwortungsvolle Unternehmensführung in Theorie und Praxis
Andreas Schneider, René Schmidpeter (Hrsg.) 812 Seiten, Springer Verlag 2012 Preis: 79,95 €
13. JOBS & INTERNSHIPS
We received no job offerings.