NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 11 | 25.6.2012Posted: June 25, 2012 | |
Here are some highlights from our Newsletter Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 11 (PDF):
- Most news we received were generated in Bangladesh, where workers were demonstrating for 50% wage increase. We collected a lot of newspaper articles and we are putting them together for a Bangladesh Special to be released later this week. And look at the section „REGIONS“ to see that in many Asian countries workers demand higher wages.
- Are you confused about standards? The “International Trade Centre” just came up with a very handy tool for linking ‘ethical’ suppliers with global buyers: the all new “ITC Standards Map”. According the ITC homepage, “Standards Map provides users with information enabling them to analyse and compare information on more than 70 voluntary standards operating in over 200 countries, and certifying products and services in more than 80 economic sectors.” As nearly all essential fashion and textile standards are listed this tool might become a big success.
- Marks & Spencer announces a big deal: “The world’s most sustainable suit.” Being made solely from sustainable materials and in very close teamwork with all involved suppliers and partners this itme could really be a milestone for the british retail-giant. Or, in their own words “This suit is a key learning tool for M&S to learn how to be more sustainable but also for our suppliers so we can work together to find better ways to minimise our impact for the environment.” We really appreciate this aim and we hope that M&S will make a hit out of this product, but as Netzwerk Faire Mode seldom uses superlatives, we might prefer the term “the world’s almost sustainable suit.”
- The Swiss television reported about a campaign by the Clean Clothes Campaign / Declaration of Berne on Swiss work wear companies sourcing from Macedonia, where workers earn only 100 Euros minimum wages. Swiss politicians were particularly shocked that the Swiss Army is also supposed to produce under the same conditions.
- Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) on textile products is a long discussed issue. An initative driven by the Swedish Chemicals Agency may now ultimately lead to a total ban on the EU market for the sale of textile products containing NPE. Something undeceived consumers could only look forward to.
If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com
NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION
1. CSR & SUSTAINABILITY
Ethical Corporation, Toby Webb on Jun 4, 2012
There is plenty of talk about redesigning capitalism to make business sustainable, but nobody’s addressing the problem of scale, says Toby Webb.
What no one seems to have addressed so far, leaving aside finance and technology for a moment, is how and whether social entrepreneurs, B corporations (which try to use business to solve social and environmental problems) and community interest companies can reach scale. Currently, Patagonia, the sustainably minded outdoor clothing firm, is the largest B corporation out there – and it is by no means a giant of the clothing industry.
… here are a few solutions:
1) Let’s map which academics have tracked business models that have worked, and highlight their work so it is not lost in unread, unreadable papers (any of us could do this).
2) Let’s set smart young researchers the task of breaking down the challenges of scale and working out what the solutions are. These answers can be qualitatively researched and crowdsourced (a job for SRI firms, academics and media outlets, surely?) We need detail.
3) Let’s set some targets and reward alternative models that have demonstrated solutions to scale issues from within. (Create a foundation-funded or corporate-funded prize perhaps?)
4) Let’s start holding public events, to give to business people, entrepreneurs, students, investors, governments and anyone else who will listen, the key messages about beating the challenge of scale.
Exploring the Role of Tort Law in Promoting International Corporate Social Responsibility and Accountability
Liesbeth Enneking, fellow at Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, Utrecht University [Netherlands] Jun 2012
… Western societies are witnessing an emerging socio-legal trend towards transnational civil litigation against multinational corporations in relation to harm caused to people and planet abroad. These ‘foreign direct liability cases’ arise against the background of a global governance gap resulting from the rapid globalization of economic actors and activities with no global institutions to manage their worldwide impacts. The increasing reliance on private law mechanisms to realize corporate accountability for violations of human rights, health and safety, environmental and labour norms perpetrated abroad raises interesting and complex issues. …
2. WORKING CONDITIONS
SF1, Kassensturz, 19.6.2012
Die Schweizer Armee lässt Uniformen in Mazedonien nähen – zu Tiefstlöhnen. Das deckte «Kassensturz» letzte Woche auf.
Jetzt kommt das Verteidigungs-Departement unter Druck: Politiker von links bis rechts wollen Klarheit in diesem Fall. …
building power, 18.6.2012
130 representatives of textile, garment and leather unions from around the world met in Copenhagen yesterday to reflect on the ‘Bargaining for a Living Wage Campaign’.
Over a dozen major western clothing retailers, including high-street stores Marks and Spencer, Mothercare and the supermarket Tesco, are selling clothing made by girls in slavery in southern India, according to research launched by Anti-Slavery International.
… The research is based on interviews with over 200 former workers of spinning mills and factories of five Indian clothing manufacturers: SP Apparel, Bannari Amman, SCM, Eastman and Prem Group. Export data from two Indian ports confirms dozens of major western brands purchasing garments from these companies.
… The research shows that subcontracting, a common, near universal business practice, combined with poverty, discrimination, insufficient and in some cases corrupt law enforcement facilitates slavery in garment supply chains. The international brands implicated are proving disinterested in identifying slavery practices or ensuring that subcontracted suppliers are compliant with companies’ stated codes of conduct and international minimum labour standards.
Kommentar von Hannes Koch, TAZ, 4.6.2012
… Wie aber setzt man weltweit bedarfsdeckende Mindestlöhne durch? Gute Frage. Schon in Deutschland ist das kaum möglich, weil ökonomische und politische Interessen es verhindern. Global gilt erst recht, dass die transnationalen Konzerne oft rechtsfreie Räume oder schwache Regierungen finden, die sie gewähren lassen. Auch bei der kommenden Weltkonferenz über nachhaltige Entwicklung in Rio wird mit ziemlicher Sicherheit kein verbindlicher Rahmen für sozialen Fortschritt beschlossen werden.
… Die Erfahrung zeigt, dass Firmen sich bewegen – etwa Apple, Lidl oder Puma. Manche tun es eher freiwillig, andere muss man nerven oder stark unter Druck setzen. Eine Voraussetzung dafür ist fast immer, dass die Betroffenen Bündnisse bilden. Wenn sich Verbraucher, Betriebsräte, Gewerkschaften, Umweltschützer, Kirchen und andere Organisationen in Kampagnen zusammenschließen, wird auch ein Konzern schließlich nachgeben.
HBR Blog Network, 30.5.2012
… OSHA workplace inspections protect the health and safety of America’s workers. We now have the data to prove it. Workplace inspections not only improve safety, they cause no discernible damage to employers’ ability to stay in business and no reductions in sales or credit ratings, according to our research. Nor did we identify any effects of workplace inspections on wages, total payroll, or employment. …
Our analysis focused on the inspections that California’s Cal/OSHA conducted at random in dangerous industries, so our results are like those of a true randomized experiment — the most convincing type of evidence when evaluating a program.
3. CHILD LABOUR
The Hindu, 15.6.2012
.. . Encouraging as these two watershed events in ensuring universal child rights may sound, the very definition of the word ‘child’ according to Indian laws remains ambiguous. The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years. In India, different laws define the words ‘child’ and ‘minor’ differently.
At the receiving end of this ambiguity are children between the ages of 15-18. The clamour from child rights activists to include individuals belonging to the aforementioned age group under the category of children and preventing people from employing them is growing louder. …
Corporate Register, 13.6.2012
Seed companies in the Indian cotton sector have been told they should refuse to deal with farmers unless they sign an agreement not to use child labour.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), an Indian governmental commission, says seed companies could help to improve the situation in the country by incorporating an anti child labour clause into agreements between themselves and farmers who grow seeds for them. …
TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL, 12.6.2012
… According to DİSK-AR’s report, the number of children between ages 5 and 17 globally is 1.586 billion. About 306 million of these children are working, indicating that one in every five children in the world is a worker.
… Figures in child employment in Turkey represented by TurkStat data also reflect a similar trend. The number of children employed in Turkey stood at 2.27 million in 1999, and this number fell to 958,000 in 2006. However, DİSK-AR’s report suggests that Turkey’s fight against the exploitation of children for labor has lost acceleration. The number of children who were pulled out of employment between 1994 and 1999 was 128,000. For the years from 1999 to 2006, only 74,000 child workers were taken out of employment.
Carmel Giblin for the Guardian Professional Network, 12.6.2012
… Sedex’s work with stakeholders has identified some of the most common reasons why children work: In countries or sectors where wages are low, families often rely on the additional income to buy food; some agricultural jobs pay workers based on the amount of produce picked, which can encourage parents to bring their children into the field to help them; others are unfamiliar with the rights of children and deem it acceptable to allow children to work. Understanding the root cause of the issue can help companies to develop suitable mechanisms for effectively remediating child labour.
To resolve the issue of child labour, businesses must first identify where this issue occurs. Gaining complete visibility throughout the supply chain is vital if companies are to identify high risk areas and spot potential issues. By increasing visibility within supply chains, companies can engage with their suppliers in a much more focused manner, allowing critical issues like child labour to be dealt with more efficiently. …
Woodstocksentinel Review, 9.6.2012
Though the Canadian government has announced a national strategy to fight the last frontiers of slavery, the road ahead is bitterly long and backbreaking. …
Rattled in Europe by the REACH regulation and carbon dioxide emission curbs, international chemical companies are at the Rio Earth Summit determined to push for a global approach to environmental policy – but with a light regulatory touch. …
Speaking ahead of the Rio summit, international chemical firms were keen to convey the message that environmental standards are better if they are implemented globally. …
IHT Tribune, 20.6.2012
… a Swiss chemical company said Tuesday its process for making eco-friendly jeans could streamline those efforts, saving enough water to cover the needs of 1.7 million people per year if one quarter of the world’s jean-makers started using it. The dying technology, known as Advanced Denim, was described at the 16th annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, sponsored by the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute.
… Many other companies, including denim-giant Levi-Strauss, already make their own versions of eco-friendly jeans that use less water, are made with organic cotton, or use natural dyes. These products remain a niche market, however. …
Sweden has informed the European Chemicals Agency will compile a report on nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) of the file. Documents drafted by the Swedish Chemicals Agency, listed EU banned imports of textiles containing NPE rationale, expected before August 2012 submitted to the European Chemicals Agency. Swedish initiative may ultimately lead to a total ban on the EU market for the sale of textile products containing NPE. Such act will have a strong hit to China’s exports of the textiles and clothing products. …
5. COTTON and other fibres
Inpaper Magazine, 11.6.2012
… To make the matter worse, of 1.2 million acres of loss, over a million acres have come from the core cotton belt — the southern Punjab, where only four million acres have been sown against five million acres target. So, the ground is slipping from under the crop, and also for the economy — it brings over 60 per cent of national exports. Socially, the crop worth Rs500 billion sustains rural economy and social fabric.
… Water shortages have been part of the cotton sowing cycle for the last many years, ever since the BT gene was introduced and sowing shifted to first quarter of the year.
The Hindu, 11.6.2012
It is the beginning of June and 14-year-old Somirao Kavdu Madavi from Yavatmal’s Madhavpur village is getting ready with his bags. But he is not going to school. A Standard 4 dropout, he is set to leave for a cotton farm where he works all year around. His family gets Rs. 25,000 for his 12 months of work. The amount, he states, is difficult for his family to let go.
… “We have no other source of income. I am probably earning more than anyone in my family. What can my parents do when there is poverty to face?” His parents, who do not own any piece of land, work as farm labourers in nearby villages.
… “I get Rs. 100 a day. I also work in my own farm. If I find someone who will keep me on their farm for the whole year, I will go. Now, I barely earn Rs. 1,500 a month. You will call it child labour, but at least we get steady income,” he stated.
… The NGO, Save the Children, has been working in some of the districts in Vidarbha, trying to encourage farmers and parents to stop children from working, in order to complete their education up to the age of 14, as mandated by the Right to Education Act. In the last three years, the organisation claims to have mainstreamed more than 12,000 children in 986 villages: some had completely dropped out while some were irregular for months. And yet, villages across Yavatmal are untouched by intervention by any organisation.
In the villages that are supported by Save the Children, farmers say the number of child labour has gone down, “but it is difficult to refuse needy parents.” …
7. STANDARDS & CERTIFICATES
ITC Standards Map: Linking ‘Ethical’ Suppliers to Global Buyers. The new web platform collaborates with over 75 standards and code initiatives to centralize information for buyers and suppliers
SAI Newsletter, June 2012
… As part of this goal, ITC has developed a new web platform called Standards Map that provides comprehensive and comparable information on sustainability standards and audit protocols, with the aim to strengthen the capacity of producers, exporters and buyers to participate in more sustainable production and trade.
… ITC collaborates with over 75 organizations that have developed standards systems, codes and audit protocols, among which is SAI. ITC’s role as an U.N. neutral intermediary between public-private partnerships is particularly appreciated as a “break” through the risk-averse behavior that often delays well-meaning collaborations within organizations.
… The Standards Map platform offers an online “comparison tool” that enables users to make analyses, comparisons and reviews of sustainability standards and audit protocols using a unique set of social, environmental and economic criteria, audit best practices and good governance models. Ranging from small companies, traders and suppliers to retailers, importers and standards organizations themselves, users of the Standards Map platform are encouraged to share information about their various sustainability models, with the ultimate goal for companies to benefit from ethical and efficient supply chains worldwide. ??
A free trial access to the Standards Map online comparison tool is offered to all new users who register from the Standards Map homepage.
8. CONSUMERS & MARKETING
China Daily, 16.6.2012
“Made in China” is a phrase Americans know mainly as an indicator of pervasive offshore manufacturing. But increasingly it’s being attached to products originating in China from domestic companies — and gaining acceptance in the West. A recent survey by Li-Ning, a leading Chinese athletic footwear and apparel company, found that a growing number of consumers in the United States are willing to buy products of Chinese origin.
… According to the study, there has been a significant shift in US consumers’ perception of Chinese brands over the past five years. About 62 percent of Americans said they were more likely to purchase products from Chinese companies today than they were in 2007. Two consumer groups, those aged 18 to 25 years old and those with annual household incomes of over $225,000, were most likely to regard Chinese brands favorably.
9. SLOW FASHION / RECYCLING / DIY / PRODUCTION
Violence in RMG sector: An ominous sign (best summary)
Financial Express, 17.6.2012
… The government has formed a three-member committee to look into the cause of frequent clashes in the garment sector. In fact, the workers wanted a raise between Tk 1,500 and 2,000 in their pay packages. Currently, a garment worker gets between Tk 3,000 and 5,500 a month. Workers claim that their salaries are too little at a time when house rents and prices of essentials are increasing sharply. As of now, owners of the houses in which the garment workers live are raising rents thrice in a year.
– Find more in our special post on Ashulia & Bangladesh on Wednesday …
Mizzima News, 21.6.2012
A bill to set a minimum salary and benefits for private sector employees will be submitted to the upcoming Parliament on July 4, according to a Parliament official.
… During the recent strikes in the garment industry in Rangoon, a minimum wage and salary was drafted by the Ministry of Labour, the officials told Eleven Media Group last week. Their recommendtion formed the basis for the settlement of several strikes, when its salary recommendations were accepted by workers and employers.
The minimum salary for workers in industrial zones was temporarily set at 56,700 kyat (about US$ 65) per month after the strikes. …
Phnom Phen Post, 21.6.2012
… The International Labour Organization-Better Factories Cambodia’s Twenty Eighth Synthesis Report on Working Conditions in Cambodia’s Garment Sector, released yesterday, profiles 136 of the 320 factories registered with Better Factories in the six months to April 30.
It found only 54 per cent of garment factories were paying women some or all of their maternity benefits – an 11 per cent drop from the previous six-month period and a 20 per cent fall in just a year. …
Phnom Phen Post, 20.6.2012
About 3,000 workers from a factory in Kampong Chhnang province that supplies Swedish clothes brand H&M switched off their sewing machines and refused to work yesterday after their demands for better working conditions were refused.
Noun Sam Ol, the Free Trade Union’s representative at M&V factory, where hundreds collapsed in two separate mass fainting incidents in August, said workers wanted US$10 per month transportation and attendance bonuses, $2 extra for working holidays and Sundays, and the option to work overtime during the week instead of working Saturdays. …
The Cambodian Herald, 11.6.2012
The International Labor Organization says Cambodia has reasons to be cheerful as the international community marks World Day Against Child Labor on Tuesday.
At the same time, however, a lot more needs to be done. In a statement, the ILO estimated that 215 million children worldwide were involved in child labor, with more than half associated with its worst forms.
As for Cambodia, around 1.5 million children are involved in child labor and about 310,000 in the worst forms.
Financial Times, 18.6.2012
Considering the state of the world economy, a labour shortage is the last thing you’d expect Chinese factory owners to have to worry about. But finding workers in southern China is worse than last year, according to an annual survey conducted by the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong.
… At the same time, over 90 per cent are struggling to hire enough workers. On average, they are 14 per cent short of the number of staff they need, compared with 11 per cent last year. One reason is the Guangdong government’s December decision to suspend a planned increase in the minimum wage.
At the time, that decision was cheered by factory owners who were already struggling to cope with a 21.2 per cent rise in minimum wage imposed in 2010. The flip side is that even fewer migrant workers now feel it’s worth their while to work in the province, where the cost of living is among the highest in the country.
People Daily, 11.6.2012
China will better protect the workers’ rights and their right to work, said the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) released Monday by the Information Office of China’s State Council. Efforts will be made to implement a more active employment policy, improve the wage system, fully carry out the labor contract system, improve working conditions, strengthen labor safety and protect the people’s right to work, the plan said.
… Moreover, a normal wage increase mechanism will be set up and the minimum wage will increase by over 13 percent annually, it said.
UNBConnect, 136.. 2012
Indian leather industry faces its biggest competition in the international market from Bangladesh in addition to China, Vietnam and Indonesia, says Aqeel Panaruna, regional chairman, south, Council for Leather Exports (CLE).
“Several foreign firms look at Bangladesh as an additional source for leather footwear owing to factors such as availability of cheap labour and lower cost of production when compared with India,” Panaruna told The Hindu. …
Mizzima News, 18.6.2012
Workers at the M Apparel Co. Ltd in Mae Sot, Thailand, have successfully negotiated a pay increase and better working conditions with assistance from the Labour Protection Office and the MAP Foundation.
… Thailand increased the minimum wage for the region on April 1. Workers went on a strike on May 15, which lasted 21 days. According to the law, they are now entitled to a minimum wage of 226 baht (US$ 7.1) per 8-hour working day, excluding overtime.
Prior to the new law, the minimum wage was 162 baht per day. Workers said that prior to the successful negotiation, most workers were earning 60-100 baht per day, which included overtime with no days off.
Fibre2fashion, June 14, 2012 (Thailand)
Several textile and garment industries of Thailand have decided to shift their production bases to neighbouring countries, te Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has said.
According to FTI Secretary-General Sommart Khunset, the Federation, along with many other industrial sectors of Thailand, has expedited its efforts to develop the potential of the workers in the neighbouring countries to facilitate shifting their production bases, as several entrepreneurs have decided to establish their units abroad to escape the impact of the 300-baht minimum wage hike, which is to be implemented across Thailand in 2013. …
The Nation June 12, 2012 1:00 am
A number of workers at Molnlycke Health Care (Thailand) found their monthly income falling after the government’s policy to raise the daily minimum wage to Bt300 took effect in April 1, because their employer had stopped paying performance-based incentives.
“We used to earn more than Bt17,000 a month, but now our monthly income stands at around only Bt13,000,” Natnapas Kaewthong said yesterday in her capacity as chair of the company’s labour union.
Daily Telegraph, 19.6.2012
It has been four years in the making and even the suit’s care label is made from recycled polyester. Tamsin Blanchard delivers her verdict on Marks & Spencer’s foray into the world of sustainable style.
… Bolland was proudly modelling the £349 suit for its official launch this morning at the M&S Plan A Stakeholder meeting.
… “In most cased we have had to push the boundaries of the industry and the technology to make the components more sustainable and keep the quality,” said Sumner. “In some cases we’ve not been able to find a solution, for example on the sewing threads. Although there are some recycled polyester threads available, some of them are not strong enough to be able to hold the garment together and some are strong enough but tend to cause damage to the garment in the long run.”
“We are getting a much clearer view of what goes on in the supply chain,” he said. “This suit is a key learning tool for M&S to learn how to be more sustainable but also for our suppliers so we can work together to find better ways to minimise our impact for the environment. I talk about this suit being the equivalent of a concept car you would see in the automotive industry. It’s about laying down what we consider to be a blueprint for the future of the textile industry. This suit demonstrates what can be done with the technology we have now if you are determined to make it happen.”
Wunsch, Wirklichkeit, Werbung? Der Sportartikelhersteller Puma präsentiert sich als betont umweltbewusstes und soziales Unternehmen.
Badische Zeitung, 16.6.2012
… Mit sympathischer Großmäuligkeit erklärt Puma, dass man das “begehrteste und nachhaltigste Sportlifestyle-Unternehmen der Welt” sein wolle. Diesem Ziel ist die Firma im bayerischen Örtchen Herzogenaurach – dort sitzt auch der größere Konkurrent Adidas – wieder etwas näher gekommen. Die britische Beratungsfirma Eiris hat Puma vor Adidas auf Platz eins der “globalen Nachhaltigkeitsführer” gesetzt.
… Summe von 145 Millionen umfasst Beeinträchtigungen durch den Ausstoß tausender Tonnen klimaschädlichen Kohlendioxids und den Wasserverbrauch in Pumas Produktionsstätten auf der ganzen Welt. Die Firma müsste solche Zahlen nicht veröffentlichen. Sie tut es trotzdem, auch im Vorgriff auf eventuelle künftige Weltumweltgesetze. Davon gibt es bisher kaum welche. Sollten sie aber doch kommen, will man darauf vorbereitet sein. So ist die firmeneigene Umweltpolitik nicht nur Image- und Markenpflege, sondern auch betriebswirtschaftliche Risikovorsorge – dass Puma schwört, seinen ökologischen Fußabdruck zu reduzieren, ist da schon fast eine Selbstverständlichkeit. …
Puma-Manager Reiner Seiz erklärt, warum Zulieferfirmen in Entwicklungsländern niedrige Löhne zahlen – und was der Konzern dagegen tun will. …
BZ: Warum sagen Sie Ihren Zulieferern in Bangladesh nicht, sie sollten den Arbeiterinnen 8000 Taka monatlich zahlen – damit diese ihren Grundbedarf finanzieren könnten? Wenn Puma den Grundbedürfnis-Lohn zahlte, würde der Preis für ein Paar Fußballschuhe vielleicht um fünf Euro steigen.
Seiz: Diese Zahlen kann ich nicht bestätigen. Wenn wir die Löhne gemäß mancher Forderung erhöhten, könnte das schnell zu einer Preissteigerung von bis zu 30 Prozent zulasten der Verbraucher führen. Das ist derzeit am Markt nicht umsetzbar. Deshalb müssen wir überlegen, ob es gemeinsame Lösungen gibt, die unsere Wettbewerber und vielleicht auch die Konsumenten gleichermaßen mit einbeziehen.
BZ: Wenn Sie keinen Preisaufschlag erheben wollen, könnten Sie den Gewinn ein wenig reduzieren. Statt gut 230 Millionen Euro Nettoprofit wie im Jahr 2011 blieben dann immer noch 150 Millionen übrig – was ja auch nicht schlecht ist. Erlauben das Ihre Aktionäre nicht?
Seiz: Wir sind eine Europäische Aktiengesellschaft und müssen natürlich auch den Vorstellungen unserer Anteilseigner gerecht werden. Insgesamt tragen unsere Aktionäre aber die soziale und ökologische Verantwortung mit, die Puma praktiziert. Vor diesem Hintergrund sehen wir durchaus Möglichkeiten, auch in der Lohnfrage künftig voranzukommen.
12. NGO CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS
Labour Start Campaigns
Two days after the 23rd anniversary of the June 4th Massacre, Li Wangyang, a labour activist since the 1980s, was found dead in a hospital in which he was being detained, in Shaoyang City of Hunan Province.
The police claimed that it was a suicide and forcibly took his body away. Li’s family is not convinced by the police version and requests an investigation into his death. However, the Chinese Government disregarded the public concern and cremated Li’s body.
Just a few days before his mysterious death, Li gave an interview to a Hong Kong television station, publicly criticizing the Chinese government for oppressing dissidents.
… The Chinese government has a long tradition of outlawing labour activists and brutally cracking down on their actions. According to the ITUC/GUF Hong Kong Liaison Office’s information, at least 36 labour activists are imprisoned, due to their involvement in organising strikes, protests or independent workers’ organisations. This figure is just the tip of the iceberg, as many of them are detained without any legal proceeding or simply cracked down by the police. Very often, their stories are never heard. We call upon the international labour unions and civil society to show us solidarity, by joining us in sending this message to the Chinese government.
Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights report re alleged abuses at supplier factories in Bangladesh
Institut for Global Labour & Human Rights, June 2012
On 8 March 2012, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights published a report entitled “Chinese Sweatshop in Bangladesh”, calling on major fashion brands to move immediately to stop beatings, imprisonment and firing of hundreds of workers at their supplier plants, Rosita Knitwears and Megha Textile (Megatex), in Bangladesh.
In its report the Institute singled out Peek & Cloppenburg/Van Graaf, British Home Stores (part of Arcadia Group), Coles (part of Wesfarmers), Dressmann (part of Varner Group), Celio, de Bijenkorf (part of Selfridges), Fynch-Hatton and Smart Set (part of Reitmans) as the brands sourcing from the factories in Bangladesh.
500,000 Workers Strike in Bangladesh: Ask Wal-Mart to Help
Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, 21.6.2012
On Monday, June 11, 2012, thousands of workers in the Ashulia Industrial Zone on the outskirts of Dhaka demanded an increase in their wages. At first, the workers walked out of 100 garment factories. By Friday, June 15, all 350 factories in the area were shut down, with 500,000 workers locked out!
… At a minimum, the workers are demanding a 30 percent wage increase, which would raise their wage by 6.3 cents, bringing the new minimum wage to 27.3 cents an hour. There is no garment corporation in the world that could not easily afford to pay at least 27.3 cents an hour as a minimum wage!
à Sign the petition
Statement CCC on Bangladesh: CCC is gravely worried about the violent repression of garment workers and their labour leaders in Ashulia in Bangladesh
Clean Clothes Campaign, 21.6.2012
CCC calls upon all companies buying in Bangladesh to:
Ensure living wages are paid at all their supplier factories to all workers manufacturing their product, and that workers are graded correctly
Urge the authorities to raise national wages to a living wage level
Urge the authorities to stop harassing, threatening and arresting workers and union activists
Ensure that workers are provided with their wage for the period of factory closure
All false cases both named and unnamed (mass cases) filed against workers and union activists must be withdrawn.
Ensure that the arrested workers are released and that labour rights defenders be allowed to operate freely.
adidas, step up your game on workers’ rights and make sure PT Kizone workers get the deal they deserve.
Clean Clothes Campaign
Erklärung von Bern
Dass in Asien Kleider oftmals unter prekären Bedingungen produziert werden, ist inzwischen bekannt. Der Produktionsstandort Europa hingegen gilt vielen als Garantie für faire Arbeitsbedingungen. Ein Irrglaube, denn wie die Recherchen der EvB zeigen, wird auch in Europa unter ausbeuterischen Bedingungen produziert.
Adidas, the sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics and the maker of Team GB kit, will be the focus of protests about sweatshops this summer.
The sportswear brand, which is promoted by David Beckham, will be targeted with a 90-second video alleging exploitation of workers. Campaigners from War on Want will also attach tags to adidas clothing as part of the protest to highlight the claims.
Adidas said it had tried to speak to War on Want about the allegations but had yet to receive a response. … “But it is very important to note that we found no evidence to support claims made in a previous War on Want report about factory conditions in Bangladesh. “In fact, the report contained several inaccuracies, including the suggestion that adidas manufactures 2012 Olympic products in Bangladesh, which we absolutely do not.”
13. BOOKS, REPORTS, REVIEWS, SCIENCE
The $20 Billion Business Case for OSHA: A groundbreaking new report proves that workplace inspections improves both worker safety and business’ sustainability
SAI Newsletter / Science, June 2012
On May 18, 2012, Science Magazine published a groundbreaking report, “Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss” which concluded, contrary to the beliefs of those critical of OSHA (US Dept. of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Agency), that compliance with government labor inspections has been proven mutually beneficial for workers and employers In the USA.
The study found that random inspections reduced annual injuries by 9.4% and lowered employers’ medical costs by 26%, for an average of $350,000 in savings in the four years following the inspection. When applied nationally, this equals an annual savings of roughly $20 billion a year, even before calculating the reductions in pain and suffering. Research focused on inspections conducted by California’s Cal/OSHA in a number of dangerous industries, finding that Cal/OSHA’s randomized inspections fulfilled their intended purpose by substantially lowering not only injury rates, but also workers’ compensation costs (when compared with matched workplaces that did not receive inspections), thus benefiting both workers and employers.
… Overall, these findings align with SAI’s experience that workplaces compliant with the SA8000 Standard will see returns on investments, such as higher employee retention rates, increased productivity, lower accident rates, consistent product quality, and overall higher employee morale. Externally, safer working conditions lessen reputational risk for both brands and supplier factories.
Can National Competitiveness Strategies Include Decent Work?
A new study co-authored by the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN – Canada), the Honduran Independent Monitoring Team (EMIH), and Professionals for Corporate Social Auditing (PASE – Nicaragua) challenges the conventional wisdom that competing on the basis of cheap labour is the only option for poor garment producing countries.
Can national competitiveness strategies include Decent Work? examines and compares the garment export industries in Nicaragua and Honduras, assessing whether it is possible to adopt national competitiveness strategies that seek a balance between the needs and demands of foreign investors and brand buyers and the rights, needs and aspirations of garment workers.
– A summary of the report and a set of recommendations for international brands, retailers and manufacturers sourcing or investing in Central America are included separately.
– Download a copy of the full report: Can National Competitiveness Strategies Include Decent Work?
SAI & ICCO’s Handbook: Six-step approach to help businesses implement the Principles in their supply chains
SAI & ICCO
SAI and the Netherlands-based Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO)are pleased to announce that, due to high interest, its joint Handbook and Toolkit is now available for pre-subscription. It is scheduled to be published electronically July 1, 2012 and available for $50. Pre-subscribers will receive a 10% discount. They will also receive a 10% discount on the training workshops that SAI and ICCO will conduct in the fall of 2012. The training workshops will help attendees understand how to utilize the Handbook and address the challenges they face in implementing the Guiding Principles. They workshops will take place in the Netherlands, India and Brazil. Additional locations may be added later.
This Handbook… is designed to help companies operationalize the UN Guiding Principles, which include the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework. The Handbook was developed in response to the growing need of companies who struggle with transforming the principles into daily practice. The Handbook and Toolkit will help companies address questions concerning the scope, their risk and the practical integration of their responsibility to respect human rights in their supply chain. …
Why Your New Clothes Are Ruining the Planet. A new book by Elizabeth Cline digs into the disaster that is fast fashion
Boston Magazine Blog, 21.6.2012
New York‒based author Elizabeth Cline’s new book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Fast Fashion ($25.95, Penguin) hit shelves last week — and I read the whole thing in a matter of hours. Cline begins by taking inventory of what’s in her closet: 354 pieces of clothing. From there, she digs into the global impact that our relatively common hunger for new, cheap clothing from fast fashion retailers like H&M, Zara, and Target. And what she finds is less than heartwarming: by visiting factories both in the U.S. and abroad, Cline uncovers some harsh truths behind those Forever 21 bargains.
So what’s the solution? Several, but Cline suggests embracing a slow fashion movement whereby we by buy fewer pieces from more socially and environmentally aware retailers and designers (oh, and if we could put a stop to those horrendous haul videos, that would be great, too). Cline took a few minutes to answer some questions about shopping responsibly, thrifting tips, and what her closet looks like nowadays.
Better Work Viet Nam
Welches Verständnis von Nachhaltigkeit haben deutsche Verbraucher entwickelt? Die Markenberatung Icon Added Value legt dazu die Studie „CSR auf dem Prüfstand 2012“ vor, in der sie den gesellschaftlichen Wandel sowie verschiedene Branchen und Marken unter die Lupe nimmt.
Drastisch gestiegen sei die Forderung der Deutschen nach Unternehmensverantwortung. Die Menschen würden kritischer, die Frage nach der Rolle von Unternehmen und dem Umgang mit aktuellen Problemen werde lauter. Gerechtigkeit und Fairness im Sozialen zögen sich wie ein roter Faden durch die wichtigsten Zukunftsthemen – begleitet von Umweltverschmutzung und der Förderung alternativer Energien.
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Worker Stakeholder: Lesotho Clothing Workers’ Perceptions of What Makes Better Work
Better Work has just published a new Discussion Paper (No 7)
Authors Kelly I. Pike and Shane Godfrey explore key concerns of workers, including OSH and supervisor relationships, as well as the influence of factory ownership and how training–especially Better Work training–can make work better.