NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 15 | 21.8.2012

Dear readers,

We changed our PDF of this newsletter to two columns so you can better read it on your Ebook, if you have one.

These are the highlights of the last fortnight:

  • In Dezember the Exposure and Dialogueprogramme e.V. offers a ten-days trip to Zambia to experience three days life with cotton farmers (very recommendable).
  • Chinadaily provides a nice overview of the minimum wages in China between 870 and 1500 (=$236) yuan a month.
  • The Indian State Mayhco bans selling of Bt cotton seeds and soon India will have its own „Indian Standard for Organic Textiles“ (ISOT). This shall help to trace cotton more easily.
  • Long and interesting article on the Causes of RMG unrest in the Daily Star
  • German MdBs of the Green party asked how the government reacts to the Play Fair Campaign & the Gree party has more than 30 question regarding the governmental CSR action plan. And CIR still collects signatures to make public prodcurement more fair.
  • The photojournalist Claudia Janke with the Magazine „Dear Clare“ have taken a look at Indian garment manufacturing by Children.
  • Capvis fired the long-time CEO and former of Hessnatur, we list two comments on this.

Kind regards

NETZWERK FAIRE MODE &
KERN KOMMUNIKATION

1.   CSR

Grüne: Kleine Anfrage zur CSR

Samstag, 11. August 2012

Die Nationale Strategie zur gesellschaftlichen Verantwortung von Unternehmen – Aktionsplan Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – interessiert die Fraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in einer Kleinen Anfrage (17/10274). Die Abgeordneten wollen unter anderem wissen, welche Maßnahmen die Bundesregierung seit ihrem Beschluss zum Aktionsplan im Jahr 2010 bisher konkret umgesetzt habe. Weiter fragen sie nach den bis zum Ende der Legislaturperiode geplanten Maßnahmen und dem Termin für die vollständige Umsetzung des Aktionsplans. REGIONS

2.   WORKING CONDITIONS

Trade union rights violations are still global

Maila Times, 14.8.2012

My hubby brought home some publications from an annual International Labour Organization (ILO) conference he attended in Geneva. …  The study found trade union rights violations in 45 African, 27 American, 26 Asia-Pacific, 30 European, and 14 Middle East countries. Let me share some survey highlights I find very interesting, and which should merit discussions among all those concerned with labor in our country. …

3.   WAGES

Shenzhen has the highest minimum wage (China)

Chinadaily, 10.8.2012

Shenzhen has the highest minimum wage — 1,500 yuan ($236) a month — among 18 regions that have adjusted their pay standards for lower-income groups.

Shanghai municipality and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region … minimum monthly wages of 1,450 yuan and 1,340 yuan respectively.

Beijing has the highest hourly salary, at 14 yuan, followed by 13.4 yuan in Xinjiang and 13.3 yuan in Shenzhen.

The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has the lowest hourly minimum wage, at 8.5 yuan.

Jiangxi province, with a minimum wage of 870 yuan a month, ranked last among the provinces.

Hainan province, which used to be last, has increased its lowest monthly pay level from 830 yuan to 1,050 yuan.

Local governments are required to raise their minimum-wage levels at least once every two years.

The State Council has called in the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) launched in June to raise the minimum wage by at least 13 percent a year. …

Trade unions seek revision of minimum wages (Bangladesh)

TNN Aug 9, 2012

Trade unions have requested chief minister Naveen Patnaik to declare the revised minimum wage in the state soon. …

The final proposal came from labour and ESI department after it invited suggestions, objections from public and labour organizations on department’s wage hike suggestion. Earlier, the labour department in a notification on April 20 had proposed a hike in minimum wage for unskilled workers from Rs 90 to Rs 125 and for semi-skilled workers from Rs 103 to Rs 145 a day. So also the minimum wages for skilled and highly skilled labourers were increased from Rs 116 to Rs 165 and Rs 129 to Rs 180 respectively. …

ILO warns of opposite effect of wage cuts (Bangladesh)

New Age BD, 12.8.2012

The International Labour Organisation warned Friday that cutting wages in a bid to boost competitiveness and cut unemployment might turn out to hurt economic growth. …

Wages fall behind living costs: study (Cambodia)

The Nation, 17.8.2012

The daily minimum wage increase to Bt300, in effect since April 1, has not kept pace with daily living costs, according to a survey reported yesterday by the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC).

As of this past May, daily expenses averaged Bt462.31 – Bt113.92 more than August 2011, the survey said. Workers’ debts rose to approximately 30 to 40 per cent of their incomes. The survey, conducted on 2,516 workers in eight provinces including Bangkok, found that 76 per cent saw their wage increase after April, while 18 per cent got the raise with conditions; 5.1 per cent received no wage hike, despite the law. …

Mixed reviews on wages. Minimum pay scheme still a work in progress (Cambodia)

Bankok Post, 15.8.2012

… The government has honoured its promise to set a 300-baht daily minimum wage for workers and a 15,000-baht monthly starting salary for bachelor’s graduates albeit partially.

Somphob Manarungsan, an economist and rector at the Panyapiwat Institute of Technology, hailed the government’s efforts, saying salaries in the government sector have been quite low in contrast with ever-rising expenses. …

4.   ENVIRONMENT

Cotton life cycle data aids sustainability

Ecotextile News, 6.8.2012

Key benchmarking tools from Cotton Incorporated were used to help complete two recent sustainability indicators – the Field to Market National Report on Agricultural Sustainability and the Higg Index by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

5.   COTTON and other fibres

Indian cotton prices top global level

The Global Times, Xinhua, 15.8.2012

For the first time in three years cotton prices in India, which is the world’s second largest supplier, have risen past global levels, triggering a scramble for the fiber from overseas, as record shipments and lower-than- expected arrivals of the commodity have depleted local stocks.

Domestic cotton prices are about 88 cents per pound, freight on board, around 14 percent higher than the African fiber and 10 percent more than the crop in the United States, the world’s largest cotton exporter. …

Indien bald mit eigenem Standard für Bio-Baumwolle

Fashion United, 13.8.2012

Indien ist derzeit der größte Produzent organischer Baumwolle der Welt. Jetzt will es mit dem Indian Standard for Organic Textiles (ISOT) bald ein eigenes Qualitätszeichen einführen, das den Lebenszyklus der Baumwollfaser direkt von der Ernte bis zur fertigen Kleidung dokumentiert. Der zur Zeit verwendete Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) greift erst beim Herstellungsprozess der Baumwolle.

“Dies erlaubt nicht, die Nachverfolgbarkeit und Unversehrtheit von organischen Textilien beizubehalten,” kommentierte Dr. PVSM Gouri von der indischen Zulassungsstelle für organische Produkte. “ISOT beginnt direkt von der ersten Phase des Baumwollanbaus und endet mit dem Endprodukt der gesamten Textil-Wertschöpfungskette. … Das Hauptziel von ISOT ist, die Glaubwürdigkeit von organischer Baumwolle in Indien beizubehalten und ein Gefühl für soziale Verantwortung zu schaffen,” sagte Dr. Gouri weiter. …

India to have its very own organic textile standard

State ban on Bt cotton seeds sold by Mahyco

TNN 10.8.2012

Confirming the widespread doubts in the Indian farming community about the efficiency of genetically modified cotton seeds, the Maharashtra government has banned the sale and distribution of Bt cotton seeds by a US multinational giant. …

6.   PUBLIC PROCUREMENT

Arbeitsbedingungen bei der Herstellung von Olympia-Werbeartikeln

Frage an die Bundesregierung von MdB Viola von Cramon, 26.06.2012,

Welche Schlüsse zieht die Bundesregierung aus den in dem Bericht “Kein Spiel mit Arbeitnehmerrechten” der Kampagne Play Fair an das IOC und nationale Organisationskomitees gemachten Empfehlungen (S. 23 und 24) und wie beabsichtigt sie, deshalb auf den DOSB einzuwirken, dass dieser seine Einflussmöglichkeiten nutzt, um die Berücksichtigung von Umwelt- und Sozialstandards bei allen mit der Marke Olympia verbundenen Prozessen einzufordern?

Die Antwort der Bundesregierung finden Sie hier.

7.   RECYCLING

Die Masche mit den alten Kleidern. Das Geschäft mit entsorgten Kleidungsstücken ist undurchsichtig

ZDF Mediathek, 19.8.2012

Über eine Million Tonnen Textilien werfen die Deutschen jedes Jahr weg. Das meiste landet allerdings nicht im Müll, sondern in der Altkleidersammlung. Immerhin 750.000 Tonnen jährlich.  Würde man die LKW mit den gesammelten Kleiderbergen aneinanderreihen, ergäbe sich eine Schlange von München bis Kiel. Aber kaum jemand weiß, was mit den Sachen wirklich passiert.

8.   FAST FASHION

Billigmode. Das Paradies der Damen

Berliner Zeitung, 8.8.2012

Und die Hölle der Wühltische. Zahlen wir einen zu hohen Preis für billige Mode?

GREEN FASHION SPECIAL FR

Frankfurter Rundschau, 07/2012

9.   REGIONS

BANGLADESH

China may emerge as a bigger market for BD apparels than US

Financial Express, 17.8.2012

China is likely to emerge as the ‘US plus’ market for Bangladeshi apparel products as export of the items to the second largest economy is rising fast, stakeholders say.

In the last fiscal year (FY 2011-12) apparel export to China crossed US$ 100 million, doubling from $ 52.81 million in FY 2010-11. The apparel export to China was only worth $ 18.95 million in FY 2009-10.

Poorest people buy one kilo cloths at Tk 150 in Rangpur

The Independent, 13.8.2012

Poorest of the poor in the city are buying Eid cloths for their kids from a market that sells wears by putting on a scale. Most of these unfortunate parents will celebrate the largest Muslim festival wearing old attires.   Near the Rangpur Stadium, there is a market, named Hanumantala market. It is the place where the cloths are sold by putting on scale and measuring their weights. …

“Productivity to end BD garment woe”

Banglanews 24, 13.8.2012

If the country wants to stop Western clothing brands and retailers from shifting their sourcing elsewhere, factory owners must improve productivity so they can afford higher wages and bring an end to recurrent labour unrest, industry experts believe. “However difficult, Bangladesh has to learn to copy China,” Mike Flanagan, CEO at UK-based consultancy Clothesource, argues. …

RMG workers agitate for wage, bonus
FE Report, 12.8.2012

Several hundred workers of a garment factory staged demonstration demanding wages and festival bonuses in the capital’s Kalyanpur area Saturday, police said. …

Workers scream rape, murder; govt denies

BD News 24, 12.8.2012

Thousands of Bangladeshi female workers, working for a readymade garments factory in Jordan, have claimed suffering from acute sense of insecurity, raising allegations that 23-24 of their colleagues have gone ‘missing’ over the last one year.

The workers also alleged that the Indian owner of ‘Classic Fashion’ and the Bangladeshi authorities there are tied to the ‘disappearances’ and ‘killings’. The female workers are also unable to return home as their passports have been taken by the owners. …

Govt trying to increase rates of RMG workers’ allowances

The Financial Express, 11.8.2012

The government has moved forward to compensate the ‘low paid’ apparel workers by raising the rates of allowances as the factory owners are reluctant to raise wages now, sources said.

Last week the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) has asked the Labour Director and the Chief Inspector of Factories to sit with the apparel factory owners and convince the latter to raise different allowances like house rent, and over-time work rates. …

RMG workers hold protests for wages, allowance

New Age BD, 10.8.2012

Labour unrest continued in different apparel factories in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj on Thursday to push for the payment of their outstanding wages and festival allowance before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Several hundred workers of a factory at Dhakeshwari in Shiddhirganj blocked the Narayanganj-Adamjee road and vandalised some vehicles as they found their factory closed without being paid wages and the festival allowance. …

Causes of RMG Unrest

Daily Star FORUM, Volume 6 | Issue 08 | August 2012 |

REFAYET ULLAH MIRDHA brings out the whole gamut of real causes that trigger incidents of frequent labour unrest in Ashulia and suggests ways to quell them. …

CAMBODIA

Mass fainting occurs at garment factory in northwestern Cambodia

DAP News, 16.8.2012

At least 50 garment workers at the M&V manufacturing factory in Kampong Chhnang province got fainted and were admitted to hospitals on Wednesday due to overwork and exhaustion, officials said. …

Asian Development Bank maps Cambodia’s needs

Phnom Phen Post, 14.8.2012

The private sector and industry professionals were engaged yesterday in the first consultation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government in an effort to understand the factors affecting Cambodia’s economy, and ultimately determined that human capital, infrastructure, innovation and regulatory issues as the key areas on which to focus.
The workshop was part of a year-long study being conducted by the ADB, in conjunction with the government, to help determine the needs that should be prioritised, such as human capital, infrastructure, governance, macro- and micro-economic policy, public sector delivery, poverty and inequality, among others in the policy advice that the ADB will provide to the Cambodian government. …

In The Life Of A Cambodian Garment Factory Worker

NO Sweat, 10.8.2012

While visiting the cluster of multinational garment factories in Phnom Penh’s EPZ (Exporting processing zone or Special Economic Zone), I dropped in with a group of workers as they were sitting down to dinner after their long day (between 10-12 hours) at the factory. …

The workers here tell me they pay $35 per month between them for their modest accommodation, in an attempt to save their wages for essentials; things like food, gas for their motos and the money they send home to their impoverished families in the countryside every month. …

CHINA

Unions target Fortune 500 firms over wage talks

China Daily, 20.8.2012

About 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies operating in China will have collective wage bargaining by the end of 2013, a senior union official said.

Approximately 80 percent of the 4,100 enterprises set up by Fortune 500 companies in China had introduced collective bargaining by the end of 2011, Zhang Jianguo, director of the collective contract department at the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, told China Daily. …

Chinese apparel makers eyeing Bangladesh as outsourcing hub

The Financial Express, 11.8.2012

Bangladesh’s apparel industry is likely to get a big boost as the world’s largest textile producer China has started outsourcing the job to the South Asian country due to the higher labour costs there, officials said Friday. …

Chinese apparel makers eyeing Bangladesh as outsourcing hub

CTEI, 13.8.2012

Bangladesh”s apparel industry is likely to get a big boost as the world”s largest textile producer China has started outsourcing the job to the South Asian country due to the higher labour costs there, officials said Friday.

Local garment manufacturers said China had placed some orders for manufacturing apparel items in Bangladesh as the labour cost is cheaper here than in the world”s fastest growing economy. …

H&M, Zara stuck in quality scandals in China

People’s Daily Online, 10.8.2012

… According to the China National Radio, the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement that 43 batches of clothing failed its recent spot check, including the clothing from famous brands such as H&M and Zara. The problems with the clothing include excessive PH levels, low color fastness, weak crack resistance, and lower fiber content than claimed as well as non-standard product identification. …

China’s social security system

China Labour Bulletin, Date?

During the era of China’s planned economy, social welfare, especially for the elderly, was primarily dependent on two pillars, the “iron rice bowl” of state-owned enterprises that provided workers with employment, healthcare and pensions, and the firm belief of parents that their children would provide for them in their old age. …

With the reform of state-owned enterprises, growth of the private economy, and implementation of strict family planning policies in China, those pillars began to crumble. The promise of lifetime employment was replaced with performance-based labour contracts at state-owned and private enterprises, while the one child policy severely limited the ability of children to care for their elderly parents in the future. These policies brought about immense societal changes and clearly amplified the need for a new, wide-ranging and effective social security system. …

Pakistan

Challenging status quo: Does the rule of law work?

The Express Tribune (with IHT), 17.8.2012

While the rule of law is pertinent to a country’s smooth functioning, our laws have to change to encourage equality, and not just benefit the elite population. This was the crux of a Workers Party Pakistan’s (WPP) tribunal held here on Thursday.

USA

Is New York City’s Garment Center Worth Saving?

by Anthony Lilore and Erica Wolf, Save the Garment Center, 08/14/12

At this very moment, thousands of people in Midtown Manhattan are designing and manufacturing apparel all within a 10-block radius in New York City’s Garment Center. The innovation, opportunity, and jobs that the Garment Center provides is essential not only to the New York City economy but also to the American fashion industry as a whole. In this 100-year-old neighborhood, the trim-and-fabric suppliers, pattern-makers, sewers, pressers, and finishers act as a self-sustaining ecosystem, providing support for established and emerging designers all over America. …

Sweatshops Are Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret. But They Don’t Exist in L.A. — Do They?

LA Times, Thursday, Jul 26 2012

“Sweatshops,” says Ilse Metchek with obvious distaste. “That word. You don’t even hear it anymore.” President of the California Fashion Association, Metchek is a shrewd and charming woman in her 70s, known in garment-industry circles as “the class historian.” Holding court at a manufacturers luncheon in an upper floor room at the California Market Center (aka “the CMC”) building downtown, she greets everyone by name and with a kiss on the cheek.

UZBEKISTAN

Uzbek PM bans child labour

14.08.12, UZNEWS

Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev has issued an order to ban the use of child labour during the 2012 cotton harvesting campaign. On 11 August, the education departments in the Uzbek regions received the minutes of a meeting chaired by the prime minister in Tashkent. The minutes carry a number of instructions by the prime minister about the forthcoming cotton harvesting campaign. …

People do not take seriously Prime Minister Mirziyayev’s yet another instruction, realising that this is another case of eyewash. …

10.       BRANDS

Hessnatur: Ausverkauf der Werte

15.8.2012, Bio Markt, Karin Heinze

Der langjährige Geschäftsführer des Öko-Textilhauses hessnatur Wolf Lüdge ist nicht mehr im Unternehmen. Er ist nicht freiwillig gegangen, davon gehen Mitarbeiter aus. Sein Ausscheiden ist für die Mitarbeiter ein Schock und für viele ein deutliches Zeichen, dass der neue Eigentümer Capvis seine Versprechen nicht hält. Die Schweizer Private Equity Firma Capvis hat den Mitarbeitern noch bei der Vorstellung Mitte Juni 2012 versichert, mit dem Management zusammenzuarbeiten. Nicht einmal zwei Monate später musste nun Wolf Lüdge, der seit 2001 das Unternehmen geführt hat, seinen Hut nehmen. Seinen Platz nimmt kommissarisch der Beiratsvorsitzende Marc Sommer ein. Vielen stellt sich die Frage, wie es bei hessnatur weitergeht. …

Hessnatur: Capvis entlässt Geschäftsführer Wolf Lüdge und holt “Bonus-Boy” Marc Sommer

Dreigliederung Blog, 12.08.2012 – Johannes Mosmann

Der langjährige Geschäftsführer von Hessnatur, Wolf Lüdge, ist mit sofortiger Wirkung von seinen Aufgaben entbunden worden. Der Betriebsrat bedauert diese Entscheidung und erklärte, Lüdge sei maßgeblich für den erstaunlichen wirtschaftlichen Erfolg des Ökomoden-Marktführers verantwortlich gewesen.  …

11.       NGO CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS

Another Young Woman Disappeared at the Classic Factory in Jordan Sewing Jeans for Wal-Mart

Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, 15.8.2012

Workers fear that 20-year-old Ms. Nazma may have been kidnapped, raped and either murdered or sold into the sex trade.  Nazma disappeared on Wednesday morning, August 8, and has not been heard from since.  She sewed blue jeans for Wal-Mart. …

Undercover in India’s garment industry…

Six Items Challenge, 14.8.2012

We have teamed up with the wonderful Dear Clare human rights photography project by photojournalist Claudia Janke to show you a photo essay about the exploitation of India’s garment workforce.  Going undercover with a camera into Delhi’s garment sweatshop underbelly, harsh realities were thrown into perspective…

Don’t blame the whistle-blower: Mirrai responsible for loss of orders

Clean Clothes Campaign, 8.10.2012

Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL reproach the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon for lashing out at the trade union FTZGSEU.

The federation blamed the union for J Crew’s withdrawal from Mirrai PVT in Sri Lanka, rather than firmly placing responsibility for the exit with Mirrai. In a letter to Mirrai, J Crew explains that the reason it will no longer place orders at the factory is not the allegations brought by the union, but rather Mirrai’s failure to partner with J Crew to remedy the violation of workers’ rights. …

12.       WORKSHOPS ETC.

AUGUST 2012

The Importance of Fiber Selection in Textile Production Webinar

28.8.2012, 8pm

Textile Exchange is collaborating with North Carolina State University in this free webinar.

SEPTEMBER 2012

Munich Fabric Start mit „Eco Village“ und „Organic Selection“

München, 04. – 06.09. 2012

Ethical Fashion Show Paris

Paris, 06. – 09.09.2012

oeko-foire (fair)

LUXEMBURG, 14.-16.09.2012

Wear Fair

Linz, 28. – 30.9.2012

OKTOBER 2012

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

HONG KONG, 04. – 05.10.2012

Ethical Fashion Night 2012

GENEVA, 28.10.2012

NOVEMBER 2012

Future Fabrics EXPO

London College of Fashion, 04.-07.11.2012

DEZEMBER 2012

Exposure and Dialogue Programme in Zambia. Social Impulses through the Cotton Trade II (HERE: German Version)

ZAMBIA, 01. – 10.12.2012



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