Dear readers, lot’s of news! Here are our highlights from our newsletter No. 10 (PDF):

  • A big press-echo was caused by Dan Mozena. The US Ambassadors warns that Bangladesh’s restive developments in the garment sector could undercut the countrys apparel exports to the US market – and this has been a big talking point in international CSR-News since. What we see here might be nothing less than a break – multinational companies and their buyers show themselves worried about the fact that the image of anti-labour states could ruin their brands instead of flocking to this countries. Hopefully this trend will improve the workers’ situation.
  • Maybe the concerned global players get as well another push to switch their sourcing strategies as the new UN-guideline for economy and human rights forces corporations to show a fair supply chain.
  • For almost all managers of the companies mentioned above it might have been a big gain if they would have been attended the Karma Konsum Konferenz in Frankfurt. „Common good economy“ has been the working title of the two-day conference and a vast number of inspiring presentations were held. May a lot business leaders be influenced by the idea and positive energy of the common good economy.
  • On the eco-fashion front some black clouds darken the sky. Does organic cotton undergo a crisis? Jana Kern illuminates the situation in her Texpertise-article.
  • John Eklington and Mark Kramer discuss Porter’s & Kramer’s „Shared Value“ idea in the Guardian.
  • There is a lot of talk about living wages in Asia – see the regions section.



Ethik und Nachhaltigkeit Anständig geplante Geschäfte

FTD, 7.6.2012

Human von der Beschaffung bis zum Verkauf: Die neuen Uno-Leitlinien für Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte verlangen von Unternehmen eine faire Lieferkette. von Susanne Bergius

… “Der effektivste Weg, unternehmerische Menschenrechtsverstöße zu zügeln, ist die Durchsetzung einer Due Diligence für Menschenrechte”, sagt Filip Gregor, Anwalt beim Prager Environmental Law Service. Die EU solle Standards entwickeln, Verträglichkeitsprüfungen und eine Rechenschaftspflicht vorschreiben. Denn: “Straffreiheit für Muttergesellschaften ist einer der Treiber für Menschenrechtsverletzungen.” Gregor hat Gemeinschaften vertreten, deren Rechte durch Auslandsdirektinvestitionen verletzt worden waren, sei es durch Umweltzerstörungen, Verdrängung der lokalen Bevölkerung, Landraub oder Korruption.

Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value

Guardian Professional Network, 7.6.2012

If Shared Value is to offer real, long term transformation it must address the flaws of capitalism, look beyond incrementalism and not just align commercial and societal goals, says John Elkington

… If Shared Value is to create real long-term value, it must acknowledge that capitalism is not invariably a benign process, indeed it can play a key role in destroying key resources, reducing the planet’s biodiversity and destabilising the climate. Second, he reduced corporate sustainability to resource efficiency. … Finally, Professor Porter seemed to suggest that Shared Value offers a values-free way for leaders to select their strategic priorities. What he meant, I am told, was that this isn’t so much a shared-values agenda, as an infinitely better way to identify areas where commercial and societal value creation align. Still, declared or not, values are shot through all forms of capitalism, even if masked by market pricing signals. This is something that PUMA Chairman Jochen Zeitz is trying to address with the environmental profit & loss methodology, seeking to place a market value on the environmental impacts of his company and supply chain.

Shared Value: how corporations profit from solving social problems

Mark Kramer for the Guardian Professional Network, 8.6.2012

Shared Value is a corporate strategy, to fulfill it’s systemic mandate sustainability needs more than business on side, argues Mark Kramer … Shared Value, on the other hand, is fundamentally about corporate strategy and the decisions individual companies make in pursuit of profit. And Shared Value’s unapologetic embrace of capitalism is one reason why it has resonated so strongly with corporate leaders who are less willing to embrace the sustainability agenda. Although less visionary, it is perhaps easier to put into practice – a limitation that has its virtues. Ultimately, it will take sound government and an informed, empowered citizenry to fulfill sustainability’s mandate, but along the way, corporations that pursue a Shared Value strategy can create a huge positive impact – for themselves and for the world. …

Transformational change doesn’t have to come from new ideas

Geoff Kendall for the Guardian Professional Network, 6.6.2012

Scratchcards to check for counterfeit prescription drugs show how successful ideas in one industry can be used to solve huge problems in others … Thankfully, the signs are that sustainable convergence’ is starting to gain traction. Last week’s video for The Regeneration Project sees sustainable development pioneers such as John Elkington talk about the power of convergence and collaboration, and the recent VERGE London event brought leaders from business, academia and government together from across the energy, IT, building and transport sectors with a view to accelerating sustainable innovation.

Fast fashion slows down: Less damaging designs on the high street

The Independent, 4.6.2012

Topshop’s use of waste fabric to make highly desirable clothes could pave the way for less damaging designs on the high street, says Rebecca Gonsalves

… However, awareness of ethical and environmental concerns continues to grow, and momentum builds – so what is a retail giant to do? … Topshop, unarguably the biggest brand on the high street, has reached its size on a reputation for being an early adopter. Thus, a cotton shopping bag simply would not do. And so the Reclaim to Wear collection was born, a tightly edited capsule of pieces made from reclaimed textiles. …

KarmaKonsum-Konferenz: Redner fordern radikalen Umbau des Wirtschaftssystems

CSR News, 1.6.2012

„Was kann die Wirtschaft zum Glück der vielen Menschen beitragen?“ Mit dieser Frage eröffnete der Gründer der Beratungsgesellschaft KarmaKonsum, Christoph Harrach (Foto), die 6. KarmaKonsum-Konferenz am 31. Mai in Frankfurt. Den fast 500 Teilnehmern der zweitägigen Veranstaltung riet er, sich als Teil einer international vernetzten Wertegemeinschaft auf der Suche nach einem neuen Wirtschaften zu verstehen. „

… Die heutige Rechtsordnung belohne egoistische und rücksichtslose Verhaltensweisen, sagte Felber. Ziel einer neuen Rechtsordnung müsse es sein, Gewinnstreben durch Gemeinwohlstreben und Wettbewerb durch Kooperation zu ersetzen. Der Wettbewerb sei heute zum höchsten Wert überhaupt aufgestiegen. Felber weiter: „Auch der Wettbewerb stachelt uns zur Leistung an und motiviert uns, aber schwächer als die Kooperation.“ Der Wettbewerb motiviere über die Angst, Kooperationen dagegen über gelingende Beziehungen. Mit einer Wirtschaftsverfassung könne gesetzlich festgelegt werden, dass der Erfolg eines Unternehmens nicht an seinem Finanzergebnis gemessen werde, sondern anhand seiner Gemeinwohlbilanz. Um diese zu erfassen, erarbeitet Felber gemeinsam mit anderen eine Gemeinwohl-Matrix. …


Rising Cost of Shipping Touched Alarm Line of Foreign Trade

CNGA, 1.6.2012

Since the beginning of this year, the shipping leader Maerskline has raised its shipping price, which was followed by COSCO Container lines and China Shipping line. So far, the shipping lines have raised their prices three times and the shipping price of hot lines in Europe and the U.S. has increased by four times. The rising cost of shipping will further narrow the profit margin for many trade businesses which are struggling with low performances in a weak international market. Some may even give up orders.

Firms relocating for cheaper labour costs

The Nation, 8.6.2012

Industrialists have raised concerns that the higher minimum wage is a key factor driving many labour-intensive manufacturers to relocate to less developed neighbouring countries.  … chairman of TK Garment, said the higher minimum wage had a strong impact on the group’s business. … “We have a labour-intensive garment-manufacturing facility in Mae Sot district, Tak province, which previously benefited from lower labour costs,” Thaveekij said. “However, with the government’s policy to increase the minimum [daily] wage to Bt300, which will be applied in outer provinces by next year, investments in Mae Sot will get no benefit from cheap labour any more. … “Investments close to the border in neighbouring countries such as Cambodia will bring an advantage, as minimum wages in those areas are still between US$50 and $60 [Bt1,575-Bt1,890] a month. They have been awarded GSP [Generalised System of Preferences] privileges of between 15 and 17 per cent for exports to Europe,” Thaveekij said.


ILO chief on world  economy: Too much focus on finance, too  little on society

The Island, 7.6., 2012

ILO Director-General outlines what a new era for the world economy should look like, with changing priorities that break with the dogmas of the past and respond to people’s needs. “It is possible to turn the inefficient growth patterns of today’s world economy around but this requires a redefinition of priorities and the political conviction to overcome the dogmas of the past,” said ILO chief Juan Somavia, in his address to the plenary session of the International Labour Conference. … Growth, however indispensable, can no longer be the key criterion for the world economy. Creating quality jobs, especially for youth, reducing poverty and informal work, promoting growth of middle classes, as well as providing fair access to opportunities, should from now on also be criteria to measure macroeconomic success.

Tackling the root causes of child labour, 6.6.2012

Join us for a live discussion on the role of business in tackling the root causes of child labour
World Day Against Child Labour takes place on 12th June and will highlight the steps that need to be taken for the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Roadmap for achieving the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016 to become reality. In this context, what can companies do to tackle the root causes of child labour and how can they ensure that they provide decent and appropriate employment opportunities for young workers, parents and caregivers? … However, approaching child labour in a holistic way involves going beyond the traditional methods of tackling the issue. Principle 3 of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles states that companies should strive to “provide decent work for young workers, parents and caregivers”. In its definition, the ILO emphasises that “not all work done by children should be classified as child labour”. Examples of positive and appropriate work include assisting with a family business and earning pocket money at times that do not interfere with schooling, involves no hazard and it strictly time limited.

Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights

ITUC, 6.6.2012

2011 was a difficult and often dangerous year for workers throughout the world, with those who dared stand up for their trade union rights facing dismissal, arrest, imprisonment and even death. That in essence is the picture that emerges from the annual survey of trade union rights violations published today by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). This year’s survey examines 143 countries.

ILO Conference: ITUC outraged at Employers attack on ILO system

ITUC, 4.6.2012

The employers’ group today blocked discussion of some of the worst cases of worker rights violations at the annual ILO conference in Geneva. Since 1926, the conference has discussed the most serious cases included in the annual report of the ILO’s Committee of Experts, a 17-member committee of eminent and independent international jurists. This, year the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) has refused to discuss any cases. …

No choice but a stitch strictly in time

The Hindu, 30.5.2012

… They are workers at the numerous contracted export garment manufacturing units that the area is known for. The Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) estimates that there are 5 lakh garment workers in Bangalore, of which nearly 3 lakh are in Peenya, working across 15,000 units. “We won’t be able to find, let alone buy, any of the international brands that we tailor for, in the shops around here,” says 35-year-old Anusuya, with a touch of pride and no irony at all. Wouldn’t she love to dress her children up in clothes she made with her own hands? She is struck by the thought for a moment. Then, she asks, “Where is the time for all that?” These women are not exactly empowered because they earn their own living. “How can I ask my husband to cook dinner? He does a strenuous job through the day, lifting heavy things,” says Rathna R., another garment worker. … They earn Rs. 200 a day as wages. “I migrated here at a time when daily wages in my village were Rs. 12 for women, and the wage of Rs. 35 in factories here seemed attractive,” Rathna says. …


Now, textile unit runs on solar power

The Hindu, 7.6.2012

Heavy usage of diesel-run generators owing to prolonged load shedding and inconsistent power supply have been eating out the profits of textile units in Tirupur knitwear cluster forcing them to struggle for existence over the last many months. … Jayamurugan Knitting at Kullaigoundenputhur, belonging to Velumurugan Dyeing group of companies, has successfully started running the entire unit with the power produced from the 40 photovoltaic cell panels and the small power production-cum-conversion unit it set up recently. … The major benefit, according to him, is that leaving the capital, the power produced subsequently from the photovoltaic cell does not incur any additional expenses since primary energy is drawn from sun. From the benefits it derived, the unit is now planning to propagate use of such systems in other LT units in the cluster.

5.   COTTON and other fibres

EU: Shelves plans for organic clothing standard

Just Style, 25.5.2012

A review by the European Commission has decided not to expand the official European Union (EU) certification of organic products to textiles and clothing. The decision comes after a detailed assessment of the EU regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products concluded that expanding the system to such non-food products “could pose a risk for the credibility of the term ‘organic’, as applied to foodstuffs.”

It added that including clothing and textiles in the system would require the “regulation…be fundamentally changed.” …

Bio-Baumwolle in der Krise?

Texpertise, Messe Frankfurt, Newsletter 2/2012

Die Bio-Baumwollproduktion ist drastisch gesunken. Die Verunsicherung am Markt ist groß. Wie konnte das passieren? Und was bedeutet das für die Zukunft des Eco-Fashion-Marktes? Jana Kern beleuchtet die Hintergründe. Minus 37% – die Bio-Baumwollproduktion ist im vergangenen Jahr um über ein Drittel zurückgegangen. In Tonnen gesprochen: Waren es im Anbaujahr 2009/10 noch 241.700 Tonnen, so sind es 2010/11 nur noch 151.100 Tonnen. Das hat die US-amerikanische Organisation Textile Exchange in ihrem aktuellen Farm & Fibre Report bekannt gegeben. Der Anteil von Bio-Baumwolle an der gesamten Baumwollproduktion liegt nun nur noch bei 0,7 %. … Zusammengefasst: Es wird immer schwieriger, Saatgut für den Anbau von Bio-Baumwolle zu finden. Während auf der einen Seite Richtlinien verschärft werden, steigt auf der anderen Seite die Nachfrage nach nachhaltiger Baumwolle, die weniger strengen Anforderungen unterliegt. Die Mengen an Bio-Baumwolle sind rückläufig, gleichzeitig gewinnen alternative Materialien an Bedeutung. Hinzu kommt, dass die unsichere Wirtschaftslage und die starken Preisschwankungen den Bio-Baumwollmarkt zusätzlich geschwächt haben. Heißt dass, dass das Segment von seinem ohnehin schon niedrigen Niveau künftig weiter schrumpft? Kurzfristig gesehen lautet die Antwort: „Wahrscheinlich ja, wenn auch weniger stark.“ Textile Exchange prognostiziert für 2011/12 einen Rückgang der weltweiten Bio-Baumwollproduktion um weitere 5%. …

US must fall in line on cotton subsidy           

The Hindu, 26.5.2012

India’s producers of cotton and manmade fibres take a hit due to artificially depressed global prices.

With WTO’s Doha Round negotiations stalled till the new US President assumes office, all hopes of a reduction in US cotton subsidy rest on the upcoming revision of current farm support legislation that expires on September 30, 2012. … The origin of the dispute can be traced back to September 2002 when Brazil first took the US to the WTO over latter’s trade-distorting subsidies for cotton. Later, Argentina, Australia, Benin, Canada, Chad, China, Chinese Taipei, European Union, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Venezuela, Japan and Thailand joined the dispute as third parties. After losing at WTO, the US made some changes in its cotton programme. For example, it abolished payments to induce purchase of relatively high priced US upland cotton (‘Step 2′), export credit guarantee programme (‘GSM-103′), the fee cap on another export credit guarantee programme (‘GSM-102′) and supplier credit guarantee programme (SCGP). However, the US introduced some new subsidy schemes in its 2008 Farm Bill, such as countercyclical payments and provisions for marketing loans. …



Neuer Nachhaltigkeits-Standard für Textilbranche

Bospace, 10. Juni 2012

Künftig wollen die weltweit größten Bekleidungsunternehmen mit gemeinsamen Standards messen, wie umweltfreundlich und sozial verträglich ihre T-Shirts, Hosen und Schuhe hergestellt werden. Dafür haben sich unter anderem die Otto Group, H&M, Nike, Adidas, Gap, Inditex und Walmart zur “Sustainable Apparel Coalition” zusammengeschlossen, berichtet das Nachrichtenamgazin “Der Spiegel” vorab. Von Juli an soll anhand eines eigens entwickelten Indexes etwa der Wasser- und Energieverbrauch, aber auch der Einsatz von Chemikalien bei der Textilproduktion erfasst werden.

Consumer watchdog slams ‘useless’ carbon footprint labels

EurActiv, 4.6. 2012

European consumers are being flooded with confusing, misleading and corporate-friendly product information about carbon footprints, according to a new report by the European consumer rights watchdog for standardisation. The problem, it says, rests with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology that the European Commission is developing to assess the environmental effects of goods, services and organisations. “Consumer information based on a choice of LCA indicators is useless and a step in the wrong direction,” says the report by the European Association for the Coordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation (ANEC), “even if [it is] linked to rating scales which will often not be possible.” …

… This year the European Commission is reviewing its sustainable consumption and production industrial policy to analyse means of providing consumers with better multi-criteria environmental information about products. … A literature review for an associated study found that consumers preferred a colour/letter-coded system in the spirit of the EU’s energy labelling system. But in the absence of a scientific basis to crunch the numbers, such labels are “highly questionable and misleading” and “highly confusing” in ANEC’s view.


Fair Queen macht Eco-Fashion salonfähig. “Der Markt ist schwieriger zu durchdringen als erwartet”

Gründerszene, 1. Juni 2012

Get some green denim today!

The Times of India, 4.6.2012

As a crusader for organic and natural fibres, Bangalore designer Deepika Govind presents yet another first — ‘Denim Green’, an Organic Denim Collection for men and women. The collection is a step forward in her continuing mission to spread the message of eco fashion by using of eco fibres and hand-woven textiles. It comprises a limited edition hand-woven denim collection in organic cotton, hand-woven using original craftsmanship and looms that date back to centuries ago; as well as a selection of denims created from semi-automised power looms. … Denim Green is priced anywhere between Rs. 4500 to Rs 6000. plant grünen Pop-up-Store

Die Veranstalter der derzeit pausierenden grünen Streetwear-Messe planen zur Berlin Fashion Week vom 4. bis 7. Juli in der Alten Reichsbankfiliale im Bezirk Neukölln einen Pop-up-Store. Auf der Show-, Shop- und Order-Plattform S.COOP sollen künftig regelmäßig im Rahmen der Berliner Messetage ausgewählte, auf nachhaltige Produktion spezialisierte Marken dem Fachpublikum und Endverbrauchern präsentiert werden. Im Juli sind Labels wie Dyn, Mayarosa, Kollateralschaden, Bolsos, Mimètik, Issie, JuliJuli und Fin dabei. Der Scoop-Store soll von 14 Uhr bis Mitternacht geöffnet sein und neben bereits marktfähigen Produkten in einer Ausstellung auch Zukunftsprojekte präsentieren. Partner-Showroom ist der Upcycling-Fashion-Store in der Linienstraße in Mitte mit Labels wie Milch,Kontiki und Steinwidder.



Tax hike to hurt garment industry: BGMEA

The Daily Star, 8.6.2012

Garment makers said on Friday the proposed 1.2 percent tax at source on exports will act as a major obstacle to expansion of the industry. The current rate of the tax is 0.60 percent. … Fixing 1.2 percent tax at source on export will discourage the exporters and such a move also contradicts with the target of achieving 7.2 percent GDP growth and government’s labour intensive industrialisation.

‘No TIFCA, no duty-free RMG access’, 7.6.2012

… Ambassador Dan W Mozena made it apparently clear at a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association on Wednesday when he sounded an alarm about the industry’s future exports amid labour unrest and volatile politics in Bangladesh. He blamed Bangladesh for what he said ‘continued failure’ to sign the agreement and that the failure was being interpreted by Washington ‘as the result of Bangladesh’s try to walk back from its international labour obligations.’ … He, however, said it (signing TICFA for duty-free access) was not a precondition, but a reality. The demand for duty-free access of Bangladesh’s apparels to the US market is a long pending issue as despite being a least developed country, Bangladesh has to pay high tariffs for the access.

Labour unrest may drive away US buyers: Mozena

Financial Express, 7.6.2012

Bangladesh garment sector may face a major setback as the American buyers are worried over the prevailing labour situation here, US ambassador to Dhaka Dan Mozena said Wednesday. He warned that Bangladesh has every chance to be identified as anti-labour state among the US apparel buyers if labour rights are not upheld and murderers of prominent union leader Aminul Islam brought to book.
… He said the murder issue has elicited little attention or interest in Bangladesh, that is not the case in the US where labour rights activists have seized on the issue, highlighting it as a major escalation in the erosion of labour rights in Bangladesh. … About the pending AFL-CIO petition to suspend Bangladesh’s GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) facilities, though he said RMG products don’t benefit from GSP. “The suspension of these rights would send a negative message across America that Bangladesh is anti-labour, that message would not be lost on RMG buyers nor consumers,” he said. … The US Ambassador said a CEO (chief executive officer) of one of the Bangladesh’s biggest buyers called him at midnight to share his increasing concern that tarnishing the image of Bangladesh brand may be putting his company’s reputation at risk. He said the CEO was especially worried about a spate of critical reporting on Bangladesh in America’s major media. “I have never had a call like this during my career,” he said, adding that his company’s reputation is worth more than saving few cents per shirt by sourcing from Bangladesh.
“All labour related issues should be immediately addressed for the wellbeing of the emerging economy,” the envoy added. … Talking to the FE, several BGMEA leaders also said that buyers have started raising concerns over the issue of labour rights. “They even threatened us to cancel export orders,” a BGMEA director said. The issue has emerged as the major challenge for the industry in recent years, they said, adding that the nation could face serious setback in RMG export in the coming months unless the matter was settled.

Mozena fears ‘perfect storm’ in garment sector

The Daily Star, 7.6.2012

Bangladesh’s changing perception among US RMG buyers worrying: Mozena. He says duty-free access to US market a political decision

UNBconnect, 6.6.2012

Textile, garment workers demand allocation in budget

FE Report, 2.6.2012

Leaders of the Bangladesh Textile Garments Workers Federation (BTGWF) at a roundtable Friday demanded especial allocation in the ensuring budget for five fields including rationing, housing and healthcare for the welfare of the workers. Other discussants, however, called for a greater coordination between the government and all other stakeholders of the country’s textile and garment industry in fixation of a suitable wage structure for the workers.

RMG exporters demand end to illegal delivery of goods

New Age Bangladesh, 29.5.2012

A file photo shows employees working in a garment factory in Dhaka. Bangladeshi garments industries are losing huge amount of foreign exchange from export earnings every year because of illegal delivery of exported goods by the freight forwarders and shipping agents.

Apparel industry violence concerns H&M

The Independent, 28.5.2012

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB, the world’s second-largest clothing retailer, wants to source more products from Bangladesh to take advantage of cheap labor, but unrest and violent strikes present a big hurdle to expansion in the troubled country, said a report carried by the Wall Street Journal. “The often-recurring strikes and demonstrations disrupt production and cause delays. We want to grow in Bangladesh … a stable market will benefit us buyers, the suppliers and the workers,” H&M’s head of sustainability, Helena Helmersson, told Dow Jones Newswires. About 25 per cent of H&M’s products are made in Bangladesh and the company aims to increase this figure, but it is not the only big retailer looking to expand there.  …


Better worker food needed: Survey

Phnom Phen Times, 6.6.2012

A new study has determined that cost and space are the biggest constraints to setting up canteens in Cambodia’s garment factories. The findings were presented on Monday night at a cocktail party attended by Cambodia’s former ambassador to the US, Roland Eng, the Swedish Ambassador Anne Höglund, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia Chairman Van Sou Ieng, Rami Sharaf of RMA Asia and many others. … The study was undertaken on behalf of Hagar and financed by Better Work Cambodia, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and D’Amico’s company, HR Inc. The study covered 35,000 garment factory workers during a three month period this year. …


Officials to hold talks on minimum wage

Vientiane Times, 5.6.2012

… Although the Lao government’s announcement of an increase to the minimum wage from 348,000 kip to 626,000 kip per month came into force on January 1, many businesses have failed to comply with it, causing employees to petition the Lao Federation of Trade Unions. Officials believe that most of the businesses that have infringed the regulation are garment factories. Disputes have also arisen even when a business has increased the minimum wage because they have cancelled the extra allowances they had been paying, such as meal allowances and bonuses for good performance, Director General of the Union’s Labour Protection Department, Mr Ounkham Bounyaseng said.


Buyer beware

Global Times, 6.6.2012

… A quality test by the Beijing Consumer Association last week found that 33 percent of 63 groups of children’s garment samples produced or distributed by 47 companies nationwide did not meet quality and safety standards. The association said that problems included excessive levels of formaldehyde and other carcinogenic chemicals, color fastness, and high pH indexes. Well-known children’s garment brands including domestic firm Paclantic, French-owned Jacadi and UK-based Mothercare are on the blacklist. … Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision also tested 93 batches of children’s clothes manufactured or sold in the city last week. A total of 17 batches, or 18 percent, were reported to have problems. Popular brands like Zara and Disney were among those that failed the test. … “So with the high costs involved, many companies, especially small ones, have the motive to seek loopholes and evade quality rules and tests,” he said.

Material costs weigh on textile makers

Global Times, 4.6.2012

The biggest challenge to China’s textile industry is not increased labor costs, but raw material expenses, which are much higher in the domestic market than in the international market, according to the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC).
Cotton prices in the international market have been sinking since September, expanding the price difference between the domestic and overseas markets from the previous spread of 1,000 yuan ($157.01) per ton to the current gap of 5,000 yuan. The widening price difference has undermined the international competitiveness of China’s textile industry.

Higher prices weaken China’s exports of textiles and garments

Shanghai Daily, 1.6.2012

NEW figures have showed that China’s textile and garment exports slowed drastically in the first four months of this year due to rising domestic cotton prices, falls in market share overseas and inadequate support from consumption at home.

… The growth rate witnessed a sharp decline from the 27.05 percent rise registered in the first four months in 2011, judging by customs data. … “The slowing exports were directly caused by higher domestic cotton prices,” said CNTAC spokesman Sun Huaibin. The domestic price of 328-type cotton was 18,853 yuan (US$2,974) per ton as of May 25, up 5,460 yuan than its price in international markets.

Rise seen in urban wages

Global Times, 31.5.2012

Increases in the annual wages of urban employees in China are likely to boost domestic consumption, experts told the Global Times yesterday. The average annual wage of employees in State-owned companies was 42,452 yuan ($6,717) in 2011, 5,305 yuan more than the year before. For urban employees in private companies, the average wage amounted to 24,556 yuan, up 3,797 yuan year-on-year, according to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Tuesday. …

Chinese wages see double-digit growth

China Daily, 29.5.2012

The average annual salaries of urban Chinese workers at non-private companies hit 42,452 yuan ($6,717) in 2011, up 14.3 percent year-on-year, statistical authorities announced Tuesday. After taking inflation into account, wages actually grew by about 8.5 percent, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Meanwhile, the annual salaries of workers at privately-owned businesses in urban regions grew 12.3 percent (after deducting factor of inflation) to 24,556 yuan in 2011, NBS data showed. The data was based on a survey of 1.48 million non-privately owned organizations and 620,000 private companies, the NBS said. …

Rising China costs see manufacturers heading back to the West

channelnewsasia, 28.5.2012

Manufacturers are moving selected activities such as consumer electronics and garment manufacturing from China back to Europe, and even to the US. With China losing its comparative advantage, the World Bank said some countries, including advanced economies, are absorbing manufacturing activities traditionally dominated by China. … “What we see is a gradual transformation where a number of these developing economies will begin to absorb what China no longer has the comparative advantage in doing. We’re seeing that take place in Africa, Vietnam, where manufacturing from China has been moving into these countries as well.”


Garment exporters hail continuation of interest subvention

Business Line, 5.6.2012

The Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA) has welcomed the continuation of interest subvention to garment sector as it would provide some relief when the bank rates are ruling high. … He said the extension of 2 per cent interest subvention to readymade garments up to March 31, 2013, was a relief to the Tirupur knitwear exporters at a time when the interest rates were ruling at 11.5 – 1 3.5 per cent. The extension of Market Linked Focus Product Scheme for export to the US and the EU would help increase the competitiveness of exporters.


Fewer jobs, higher prices likely with wage floor, survey shows

The Malaysian Insider, 6.6.2012

With minimum wage enforced, employers may hire less or increase the prices of goods and services, according to a recent survey conducted by major local recruitment agency Jobstreet. The federal government announced the first ever minimum wage policy for the country last month, setting a floor of RM900 for peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak, which it said will be enforced within the next six months to a year. … Concerns about the effects of the minimum wage also come at a time when the country is poised to be hit by the ripples from its main trading partners and the global economy at large. …


Industry minister calls for trade union support

Mizzima, 05.6. 2012

As labour strikes increase in Rangoon, the Minister for Industry and Myanmar Investment Commission Chairman Soe Thein called for more support of trade unions and the protection of workers’ rights. Speaking about the garment industry at a workshop on Sunday at the Chatrium Hotel in Rangoon, he said, “Form the trade unions, the sooner the better. I’d like to ask civil society and political parties to offer their help in forming these trade unions.” … “What should be the working hours per day: 8 or 9? Why should workers take off their footwear in a factory? I’ve never heard of a country where the workers need to take off their shoes. … “In the demand made by the workers from one factory,” he said, “they asked for a 12-hour working day from 7 to 7. They didn’t know about their rights to an eight-hour working day. They just asked for reducing their working hours from the current 14 to 12. They are content even with this 12-hour working day. I felt extremely sorry for them.”
… During the conference, a labour organization chairman asked a question: “Is it possible to draft a law with a wage at a meager rate of 65 kyat per hour (US$ 8 cents)?” In May 2012, 36,810 workers from 57 factories staged strikes asking for better wages and working conditions. Thirty-eight factories with more than 20,000 worker reached settlements, officials said.


Cut in turnover tax to benefit textile sector: PRGMEA

Fibre2fashion, 6.6.2012

The reduction in turnover tax, announced by the Government of Pakistan through Federal Budget for the financial year beginning July 1, 2013, would benefit the country’s textile and garment sector.
Commenting on the Budget, Mr. Shehzad Salim, Chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) told exclusively to fibre2fashion, “For the textile industry, the turnover tax has been reduced from the current 1 percent flat to 0.5 percent, which is bound to benefit the sector.”


Wage hike drives industries away. Firms venturing out into border provinces

Bankok Post, 29.5.2012

Last month’s increase in the daily minimum wage is prompting the more labour-intensive industries such as food and textiles to relocate to border provinces and neighboring countries in a bid to cut costs. … The NESDB anticipates more relocations when the new wages are applied nationwide next January 2013. … The agency found the cost of human resources among Thai industries rose by 15.1% year-on-year in the first quarter due to rising labour costs in large and medium-sized industries.

But given the 3.4% inflation rate, the rise in real wages was 11.4%. Businesses have yet to start laying off staff, but they have reduced costs by employing trainees, cutting overtime and changing employment terms to a daily basis – measures resulting in lower income for employees.

Arguing the B300 minimum wage case

Bankok Post, 29.5.2012

‘The minimum wage will destroy the industrial sector of Thailand”… Employers worry that introducing the 300 baht minimum wage will hurt Thailand’s competitiveness. Yet cheaper wages are not the only way to achieve comparative advantage, and this argument should not be used as a justification for keeping the minimum wage as low as possible.

… However, the fact is that in a capitalist free-market economy, undercutting the international price of labour is not the only way to achieve comparative advantage. Such arguments should not be used as a justification for keeping the minimum wage as low as possible. Indeed, in the transition towards becoming a developed nation, countries must accept that this strategy is unsustainable in the long term, as no developed economy has ever been able to maintain this comparative advantage over developing nations. … Moreover, what is often referred to as the “free market” is far from being free of market manipulation. Notably, when we look at the examples of the most advanced capitalist countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, we find many forms of government intervention. Indeed, as far as we can recall, there has always been evidence of market failure. And it has been quite common for there to be some degree of government intervention within the market which distort both prices and costs, including labour costs.

Labour law update: Daily minimum wage

Bankok Post, 29.5.2012

On April 1, in accordance with an announcement by the Central Wage Committee, the daily minimum wage was increased to 300 baht in seven provinces – Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phuket, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon. Elsewhere, the rate varies from province to province. This article examines the minimum wage, discusses the effects of the change and finally analyses what can be done to moderate this new burden on employers. … The announcement established a rise in the daily minimum wage nationwide by an average of 30-40%, with the minimum in Bangkok and Phuket increasing from 215 baht and 221 baht, respectively, to 300 baht.

As for the rest of the country, the rate increased by 8-17 baht.

Employers are legally obligated to abide by the new rates. They cannot pay employees less than the rates. If they do, then they will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, a fine not exceeding 100,000 baht or both. … To sum up, employers cannot escape this new burden, but what possibilities might there be for them to get around it? This is the burning question whose answer they all await.


Textile producers struggle as orders get scarce

VietnamNet, 5.6.2012

The domestic textile and garment industry has entered the peak export season but producers have secured fewer export orders than in previous years, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

… Moreover, local textile and garment firms are facing other problems, such as difficult access to bank loans, material shortage, rising input costs, and environmental tax on plastic bags used for export products.

10.       BRANDS: Good & bad practices

C&A will bis 2020 vollständig auf nachhaltig angebaute Baumwolle umstellen

Oneco, 23.4.2012

Biobaumwollantel bereits heute bei rund 13 Prozent 2011 erstmals über 32 Millionen Biobaumwoll-Textilien verkauft Absatzverdoppelung von Biobaumwoll-Textilien für 2012 geplant

Bereits im Geschäftsjahr 2011 konnte C&A den Absatz von Biobaumwolltextilien unter dem Label ‚Organic Cotton‘ europaweit von 26 Millionen auf über 32 Millionen Textilien erneut deutlich steigern. Dies entspricht gegenüber dem Vorjahr einer Steigerung um über 20 Prozent. Insgesamt lag der Anteil von Biobaumwollprodukten an der Gesamtkollektion damit bereits bei rund 13 Prozent. …

„Wir sind mit der Nachfrageentwicklung nach unseren Biobaumwollprodukten sehr zufrieden, zeigt sie doch, dass nachhaltig produzierte Ware bei unseren Kunden sehr gutankommt. Unser Anspruch, qualitativ hochwertige, modische Textilien zu einem günstigen Preis anzubieten, wird zunehmend um den Aspekt der Nachhaltigkeit von Ressourcen ergänzt. Dies honorieren unsere Kunden“, so Seitz weiter. …

Brandix factory in Bangladesh achieves eco milestone. Becomes first apparel factory in that country to receive Marks & Spencer’s ‘Plan A’ Eco Attribute

Sunday Island, 9.6.2012

Fourteen months after it commenced commercial production, the Brandix Group’s maiden venture in Bangladesh has received an ‘Eco Factory Attribute’ from Marks & Spencer (M&S), becoming the first apparel factory in that country to achieve this status. … To secure the M&S ‘Plan A’ Attribute, the factory reduced energy consumption by 27 per cent and its carbon footprint by an estimated 60 per cent, achieved a 45 per cent saving in potable water, recycles or re-uses 95 per cent of its solid waste and complies with Global Sourcing Principles (GSP) ethical standards. … The Brandix Casualwear factory in Bangladesh is designed for maximum use of natural light, and uses energy efficient lights and motors. Clever use of natural ventilation enables reduced use of air-conditioning and the building and heating elements have been insulated for energy efficiency.

Hong Kong company Li & Fung refuses to pay workers

Clean Clothes Campaign, 7.6.2012

We urge you to support 420 struggling workers in Turkey who have been staging a picket line in front of Li & Fung for three months. These workers were employed by a company called Hey Tekstil. From November 2011 to February 2012, the company did not pay them for their last three months of work, fired them without notice, and subsequently failed to pay them their legally-mandated severance and notification payments.

Please click here for more background on the situation of Hey Tekstil workers in Turkey

Esprit, which debuted a line of recycled casual-wear in May, is the first retailer to use the R Certificate.

Ecouterre, 1.6.2012

“Although there is much to love about fashion, clothing manufacturing can be wasteful, from water to energy and textile waste,” says Christina Dean, founder and CEO of Redress. “Via the R Certificate, our goal is to recycle quality factory fabric waste and unused clothing waste so as ultimately to save our Earth’s diminishing natural resources.” … Esprit, which debuted a line of recycled casual-wear in May, is the first retailer to use the R Certificate. “This third party certification verifies that we recycled our own factory fabric waste into our new sustainable fashion line,” says Michel Bourlon, the company’s head of global sourcing. “It further allows us to communicate our supply chain transparency whilst educating our customers.”

M&S: doing the right thing leads to change – for the better

The Guardian Professional Case Study (no date)

In its quest to become the world’s most sustainable major retailer, it is influencing disruptive change within its supply chain. Working with suppliers in 70 countries and some two million workers in 2,000 factories and 20,000 farms, Marks & Spencer says its sustainability vision is “supply chain dependent”.

It means that being a fair partner is central to the retailer’s strategy, while transformative ethical and environmental standards are considered essential to the future of the business. M&S wants to go beyond the expectations of employees, customers and stakeholders by collaborating with suppliers to create fair workplaces and achieve step changes in environmental performance.  … Importantly, the supply chain agenda is championed by senior leaders and backed by financial incentives for the M&S buying teams, as well as a £50m fund providing capital for suppliers to introduce new ways of working.

Veja: an ethical passion for fashion

Guardian Professional Network Case Study (no date)

… Veja was set up to work directly with small producer co-operatives in Brazil, using materials such as organic cotton, wild Amazonian rubber and acacia-tanned leather to create sneakers and accessories for the European market. … Veja’s business model goes against the traditional grain in several ways. Despite paying their co-operative cotton growers and rubber tappers (Seringueiros) between 30% and 100% above the world market price, the company has secured a workable economic model by discounting the use of advertising and operating a “zero stoc” rule to ensure the viability of the brand. Veja calls its stance “commercial disobedience”, because it turns existing economic systems upside down. Unlike competitors, the company refuses to pursue low prices at the expense of workers’ rights and fair pay, for example. The social consequences of the model are clear. As production has increased from 5,000 to 125,000 pairs of trainers in just six years and the brand has found its way into high-end stores such as Selfridges, Fenwicks and Printemps, so the number of cotton-growing families involved has expanded from 200 to 350. …

Franchise-Unternehmen Jack Wolfskin: Biobaumwolle und neue Standorte


Nach Aussage von Jack Wolfskin bestehen die reinen Baumwollprodukte schon seit Jahren aus Biobaumwolle. Ab nächsten Sommer werden auch alle technischen Mischgewebe keine konventionell angebaute Baumwolle mehr enthalten. “Wir haben uns aus Überzeugung zur ausschließlichen Verarbeitung von Biobaumwolle entschieden, auch wenn der Umstellungsprozess durch unsere hohen funktionalen Anforderungen nicht einfach war”, sagt Christian Brandt, COO bei Jack Wolfskin. “Wir wollten aber keine Mogelpackungen mit geringem Anteil Biobaumwolle anbieten. Glaubwürdig kann man Biobaumwolle im Produkt nur einsetzen, wenn man es konsequent macht.”

Butzbacher Ökomode-Händler Verkauf von Hess Natur umstritten

FAZ,  5.6.2012

Der bisherige Eigentümer von Hess Natur will am Verkauf des Ökomode-Händlers an einen Finanzinvestor festhalten. Gleichwohl sieht sich die Genossenschaft HN Geno noch im Rennen. … Erste Anzeichen von Protest gibt es schon: Im Internet wurde eine Seite erstellt, die den Verkauf an Capvis kritisiert. Auch rügt das globalisierungskritische Netzwerk Attac den geplanten Verkauf. Er stehe in Widerspruch zu dem sozialen und ökologischen Unternehmensmodell von Hess Natur, hieß es. Schon im vergangenen Jahr war nach heftigen Protesten aus der Kundschaft ein Verkauf von Hess Natur an den Finanzinvestor Carlyle gescheitert. Den Amerikanern war angekreidet worden, auch an Rüstungsfirmen beteiligt zu sein.

IKEA Pledges $10M to Fight Child Labor in India’s Cotton Fields

IndiaWest, 5.6.2012

The IKEA Foundation announced May 15 that it has pledged $10 million to Save The Children, India, to end child labor in the country’s cotton industry, which currently employs than three million children…. The announcement came a day after the Dalai Lama pledged $1.5 million of his Templeton Prize award money to Save the Children, India, to end child malnutrition in that country (I-W, March 18). … The Foundation will target three Indian states where cotton-related child labor is most prevalent: Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. Those three states alone employ about 40 percent of India’s child cotton-field labor force, according to a 2008 study commissioned by IKEA. Punjab has about half a million children employed in the cotton industry, while Rajasthan has 440,000.

Schlechte Sozialbilanz bei „Puma“: Puma springt zu kurz

TAZ, 4.6.2012

Die Ökobilanz des Sportartikelherstellers „Puma“ kann sich sehen lassen, die Sozialbilanz ist jedoch mangelhaft. Der Vorwurf: Das Unternehmen zahlt Zulieferern nur Hungerlöhne

Man kann jetzt Sportschuhe auch aus Müll herstellen. Wie bitte? Mit dieser Ansage geht die Sportartikelfirma Puma neuerdings ins Rennen um ökoinspirierte Konsumenten. Das Schuh-Modell „Re-Suede“ besteht zum guten Teil aus recyceltem Polyester. … Schwieriger als das Umweltthema ist für Puma und viele andere transnationale Konzerne aber die soziale Frage. … Wie hält es Puma mit der sozialen Gerechtigkeit? Wie geht es den Arbeiterinnen und Arbeitern, die in hunderten Zulieferfabriken in aller Welt für Puma nähen und kleben – unter anderem in China, Vietnam, Bangladesch und El Salvador? Maik Pflaum von der Christlichen Initiative Romero (CIR) formuliert harte Vorwürfe: „Puma lässt zu Hungerlöhnen produzieren. In der Regel reicht das Geld nicht, um die Grundbedürfnisse der Arbeiterfamilien zu erfüllen.“

H&M stellt sich Ihren Fragen im Utopia Live-Chat

Utopia, Mai 2012

Am 13. Juni 2012 von 13.30 – 14.30 Uhr beantwortet Helena Helmersson, International „Head of Sustainability“ Ihre Fragen im Live-Chat. Im Pre-Chat können Sie schon jetzt Ihre eigenen Fragen einstellen. Außerdem können Sie die Ihnen wichtig erscheinenden Fragen empfehlen und so sicher stellen, dass diese im Chat auch gestellt und beantwortet werden.


Adidas told ‘Exploitation. It’s not OK anywhere’

War on Want, 7.6.2012

… Today, the official London 2012 sportswear sponsor Adidas comes under pressure to tackle the sweatshop conditions in its supplier factories as the charity War on Want launches a new campaign over the exploitation of workers making Adidas goods. With the Olympics just 50 days away, War on Want is seeking to mobilise public support for its campaign, launching a hard hitting video and actions set to target Adidas products in high street stores (see notes below). …

London 2012: War on Want criticises Adidas ‘sweatshops’

BBC, 7.6.2012

Official Team GB sponsor Adidas says it is committed to protecting rights  … Official Olympic sportswear sponsor Adidas has been urged to tackle what charity War on Want says are sweatshop conditions in its supplier factories. War on Want said thousands of people around the world were working long hours on poverty wages in appalling conditions to make Adidas goods. … War on Want, which campaigns against poverty in developing countries, said Adidas had more than 775,000 workers making its products in 1,200 factories across 65 countries. In March, Adidas unveiled its best-ever annual profits, reporting an 18% rise in net profits in 2011 to 671m euros ($881m; £559m).

The price of cheap clothes?

BBC News, 1.6.2012

A report by Anti-Slavery International claims that Indian textile firms, which supply some of Britain’s biggest high street retailers, are operating near slave labour conditions. It says that nine well-known stores, including Tesco, Mothercare and Marks and Spencer have bought garments from one such manufacturer. The organisation informed nine big retailers at the end of 2010 that some young women in their supply chains are working excessive hours, sometimes for less than £1.50 a day. … The three British retailers insist that their own investigations have found these claims against one particular Indian supplier to be entirely unfounded. … In the light of these opposing claims, correspondent Mike Thomson has travelled to Tamil Nadu in Southern India to investigate.


TE Certification Toolkit

Textile Exchange, June 2012

Product integrity is the linchpin of sustainability in the textile industry. The Certification Toolkit was developed by the Industry Integrity team at Textile Exchange as a guide to smoothing out the path to product certification.

The full Certification Toolkit includes sections on the importance of certification, how certification works, the essential steps of certification, how to read certificates, the costs of certification, labeling, FAQs, terms and definitions, existing standards, and organic farm standards. This version is free to dow nload at no extra charge for members of Textile Exchange, simply by logging into your members page on the Textile Exchange website. Non-members may purchase the Certification Toolkit for $250 USD.

The Certification Toolkit – Basic Package is a condensed version and is available to the entire industry at no charge. To download your copy today, follow the link below.


Sustainability key focus for Interstoff Asia

Ecotextile News, Wednesday, 06 June 2012

Sustainability will be at the heart of this year’s Interstoff Asia Essential Autumn with show organiser Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd teaming up with Textile Exchange, Ecotextile News and Planet Textiles to organise the 2012 Sustainable Textiles Conference. … Topics up for discussion are designed to accelerate sustainable business practices across the board and include innovation in investment and finance, industry alignment on environment, and social impacts and solutions. … Details on seminars and speakers will be updated on and For more details, go to

Heldenmarkt – Deutschlands führende Messe für nachhaltigen Konsum

am 17./ 18. November 2012 zum 5. Mal im Postbahnhof Berlin

6.000 Messebesucher und 147 Aussteller im Vorjahr zeigen, dass es immer mehr Menschen gibt, die nach Alternativen suchen und dass es dazu auch die entsprechenden Angebote gibt.

“Kleiderberg. Vom Leben der Textilien.”

Neue Sonderausstellung, 3. Juni bis 26. August 2012

Studierende des Faches Textiles Gestalten an der Universität Osnabrück setzen sich mit dem zunehmenden Konsum von Bekleidung und den enormen Bergen von Altkleidern auseinander. Sie ‚verfolgen’ Lebensläufe von Textilien – den Weg der globalen Massenproduktion der Einzelstücke bis in den eigenen Kleiderschrank. Und auch das Ende der abgetragenen Kleider wird beleuchtet – wie sie als Abfall zu Rohstoff recycelt werden, als second hand Artikel neu belebt und getragen werden oder als Erinnerungsstücke überleben.

Die Ausstellung „Kleiderberg. Vom Leben der Textilien.“ wird im Museum Industriekultur Osnabrück, Haseschachtgebäude, Fürstenauer Weg 171 gezeigt und am 3. Juni 2012 um 11 Uhr eröffnet. Interessierte sind herzlich eingeladen.

Cotton made in Africa präsentiert erste Bilder aus Benin. Watson: “Die Energie und Lebensfreude der Menschen haben mich tief beeindruckt”

Deichtorhallen, 14.9.3012-6.1.2013

Die Ausstellung Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa findet vom 14. September 2012 bis 6. Januar 2013 im Haus der Photographie der Deichtorhallen Hamburg statt. Die Exposition besteht aus zwei Teilen: Herzstück sind die im Dezember 2011 in Benin entstandenen Fotografien Albert Watsons. Sie zeigen die mit der Initiative Cotton made in Africa verbundenen Kleinbauern und ihre Lebenswelten, um die soziale Wirkung der Initiative zu verbildlichen. Die begleitende Werkschau beinhaltet bisher unveröffentlichtes Vintage- und Polaroidmaterial des renommierten Mode- und Werbefotografen. Neben den beiden Cotton made in Africa-Nachfragepartnern OTTO und Tom Tailor, ist auch die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) ein wichtiger Unterstützer des Fotoprojekts.

14.       WORKSHOPS ETC.

JUNE 2012

The Continuum Show

  • NEW YORK, 24.-25.06.2012

JULY 2012

Ethical Fashion Show

  • BERLIN, 04.-06.07.2012

Green Showroom

  • BERLIN, 04.-06.07.2012


  • BERLIN, 05.07.2012



  • HOFHEIM / FRANKFURT, 04-06.08.2012


oeko-foire (fair)

  • LUXEMBURG, 14.-16.09.2012


Sustainable Textiles Conference. Messe Frankfurt, Textile Exchange, Ecotextile News

  • HONG KONG, 04.-05.10.2012

Ethical Fashion Night 2012

  • GENEVA, 28.10.2012

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