here are some highlights of our latest newsletter: “Fashion & Sustainability No. 16” (PDF):
- Must read: The New York Times published a long and interesting report on the situation of the garment industry in Bangladesh: „Export Powerhouse Feels Pangs of Labor Strife“ & BBC reports that Bangladesh hopes to attract investors via low labour costs
- Many articles again claim that due to rising labour costs Chinese investors are increasingly looking into Bangladesh for outsourcing.
- The German government answered a parliamentary question on the CSR Action Programme by the Green Party
- Have you ever worn clothes made of tobacco?
- The CCC criticizes the ILO Better Work Programme in Cambodia
- Messe Frankfurt published its third issue of the Texpertise newsletter „Sustainability & Textiles“ 2012
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.
NETZWERK FAIRE MODE &
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
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. …
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.
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. …
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. …
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
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. …
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. …
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?
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
Berliner Zeitung, 8.8.2012
Und die Hölle der Wühltische. Zahlen wir einen zu hohen Preis für billige Mode?
Frankfurter Rundschau, 07/2012
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.
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. …
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. …
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. …
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. …
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. …
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. …
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. …
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 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. …
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. …
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. …
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 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. …
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.
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. …
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.
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. …
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. …
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
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. …
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…
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.
Textile Exchange is collaborating with North Carolina State University in this free webinar.
München, 04. – 06.09. 2012
Paris, 06. – 09.09.2012
Linz, 28. – 30.9.2012
HONG KONG, 04. – 05.10.2012
London College of Fashion, 04.-07.11.2012
Exposure and Dialogue Programme in Zambia. Social Impulses through the Cotton Trade II (HERE: German Version)
ZAMBIA, 01. – 10.12.2012
there are tons of fashion & sustainability news in our new newsletter (PDF):
- The German consumer magazine Stiftung Warentest examined outdoor clothing and found that working conditions are miserable. Also Oekom Research, an agency that rates the sustainability of industry sectors’, published an interesting rating of the textile industry: overall the sector has really bad marks, as compared to other sectors – there still is a lot to do.
- Help might be provided by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which published its Higgs Index, a collection of indicators for measuring environmental impacts of textile factories.
- The German consumer magazine Ökotest critically examined Fair Trade – and the Kölner Stadtanzeiger had a very critical look at Fair Trade cotton.
- Wages are still a hot topic in many Asian countries. Interestingly, it is predicted that labour costs in China might be as high as in the US in 5 years time – whereas other articles deny this hypothesis. The FWF is launching a project with some brands from the European Outdoor Group to tackle the living wage issue.
- The large German newspapers Frankfurter Rundschau and Die Welt had a closer look at Primark, which starts its expaning tour in Germany: One heading reads: „buy – wear – trash“.
- NICE Fashion Summit now published all speeches online and a new „Scharzbuch Baumwolle“ was published.
- And many reports about Olympia and sweatshops.
NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION
1. WORKING CONDITIONS
Der Standard, 26.7.2012
Olympia 2012 in London wird als besonders fair gepriesen. Die Zustände bei der Textilproduktion wird dabei wenig beachtet … Der Frage, wo Sporttextilien dieser Olympischen Spiele gefertigt wurden – und unter welchen Bedingungen -, ist die Clean-Clothes-Kampagne in ihrer Studie “Fair Games?” nachgegangen.
175 Arbeiterinnen und Arbeiter von zehn Fabriken, die insgesamt 32.750 Personen beschäftigen, wurden von Oktober bis Dezember 2011 im asiatischen Raum interviewt. Acht dieser zehn Fabriken stellten Produkte für die Olympischen Spiele her – und lieferten an Unternehmen wie Adidas, North Face, Nike oder Speedo. …
… “Geld ist nicht das Problem der internationalen Markenfirmen”, lautet auch die Analyse von Michaela Königshofer, Leiterin der Clean-Clothes-Kampagne. “Es wird aber auf unfaire Art und Weise verteilt. Unternehmen investieren das Maximum in die Präsentation der Marke, jedoch das Minimum in die Produktion der Ware. Für die Näherinnen und Näher bedeutet das ein Leben in Armut trotz täglicher Schufterei.”…
Die Welt, 26.7.2012
Dumpinglöhne und Mängel beim Arbeitsschutz: Laut Stiftung Warentest drücken sich Hersteller von Outdoor-Mode vor der sozialen Verantwortung in den Produktionsländern. Es gibt aber auch Ausnahmen.
… In puncto Unternehmensverantwortung gaben die Tester 8 von 17 Textilherstellern lediglich die Note “ausreichend”. Zwei weitere Marken, nämlich Maier Sports und The North Face, wurden mit “mangelhaft” bewertet. Alle untersuchten Jacken seien in Asien, meist in China, gefertigt worden.
In erster Linie bemängelt die Stiftung, dass dort von vielen Anbietern Löhne gezahlt werden, “die kaum zum Leben reichen”. Überstunden seien an der Tagesordnung. In einem untersuchten Fall hätten fast alle Arbeiter zusätzlich zu ihrer 48-Stunden-Woche 87,5 Überstunden gemacht statt der gesetzlich erlaubten 36 Stunden. …
LA Weekly, 26.7.2012
… Sweatshops are fashion’s dirty little secret. For years they supplied the majority of the clothes being manufactured worldwide. But the answer to whether they still exist in Los Angeles depends on whom you ask.
And to ask in a room full of manufacturers is to insult the bride at her own wedding: uncomfortable, vaguely repulsed expressions all around. In fact, the California Fashion Association started 17 years ago because of sweatshops. Specifically, the El Monte crisis of 1995. …
Olympics merchandise for London 2012 is being produced in sweatshop conditions with staff earning as little as £6 a day, despite organisers promising to clean up its supply chain, according to a new report.
Activists in China spoke to dozens of factory workers and discovered staff were forced to work up to 120 hours overtime a month, nearly three times the legal limit.
… The report added that a sustainable and ethical sourcing code issued by Locog in 2008 was inadequate. It said: “The rampant rights violations reveal that Locog codes are really no more than lip service with no commitment to the enforcement of labour rights standards.
“The IOC should establish a policy and action plan for future Olympic Games … adopt a code of conduct for the suppliers which should include terms like living wages, freedom of association and the right to remedy.”
Deccan Herald, 7.8.2012
… ‘The Economist’ carried an article ‘Sweating for Fashion’ which says “Nike, for example, has been accused of using child labour in Cambodia; Adidas of using prison labour in China; Benetton of using child workers in Turkey.” Where is the public outrage, where are the tears by human rights organisations in India and abroad for this kind of inhumanity? Why cry foul only at those children in the fireworks factories of Sivakasi; the diamond polishing factories of Surat, the silk reeling yards in Karnataka or the carpet weaving godowns of Punjab? They have made world headlines (and blockbuster films too) even though it has not reduced the sale of crackers or diamonds or silk or carpets in countries which condemn the practice. …
… The problem of child labour is a complex issue, something that cannot be solved through legislation or with simplistic solutions. It is driven mainly out of poverty and in societies where women have limited choices in questions of marriage or family planning. Desperate for money, and unable to feed their families, they sometimes inevitably place their offspring in bonded labour or worse. The next best thing they can do is to hand over the elder siblings to factories, hotels or even homes where they are assured of at least one proper meal every day. …
FWF Blog, 27.7.2012
… The Fair Wear Foundation-European Outdoor Group Living Wage Study is designed to address one of the main questions – What is the relationship between product pricing and wage levels. The study will examine what happens to prices of typical products when wages are increased to meet a variety of living wage benchmarks.
… The FWF member companies that will participate in the project are: Deuter Sport and Vaude Sport (Germany), Haglöfs (Sweden), KTC Limited (Hong Kong), KJUS, Mountain Force and ODLO Sports (Switzerland).
Just Style, Doug Miller, 23.7.2012
The vexed question of a ‘living wage’ continues to tax some of the major apparel retailers and brand owners. But how can a sourcing company calculate a living wage, let alone ensure its implementation? Doug Miller, Professor (Emeritus) of Worker Rights in Fashion, has some suggestions.
… However these are in essence all benchmarking tools, and none of them actually provides a sourcing company with a method for the actual implementation of a ‘living wage’ increase. …
Two see the first three articles in this discussion on the cost of labour, follow the headline links below:
· Comment: It’s not about the cost of labour
· Comment: Why it is all about the cost of labour!
· Comment: Caught in the cost of labour trap
Daily Star Business Report, 26.7.2012
A platform of garments workers’ associations yesterday submitted a demand to the minimum wage board to raise the minimum basic salary of the workers to Tk 7,000 from Tk 3,000 now.
… The major expenses include house rent at Tk 3,000, daily commodities at Tk 5,100, medical and transportation costs at Tk 1,100, children’s education expenses at Tk 1,500 and others Tk 2,250, they said. …
People’s Daily, 2.8.2012
It is an exaggeration to say China’s labor costs will catch up with the U.S. and European countries in short term.
Certain foreign chambers of commerce and financial institutions recently published reports saying that many foreign companies have felt pressures from increasing labor costs in China, and are considering relocating their production facilities to certain Southeast Asian countries where labor costs are much lower. The French bank Natixis forecast in a recent study that labor costs in China would match those of the United States within four years, catching up with eurozone countries in five years and with Japan in seven years.
Rapid wage increases are threatening China’s competitiveness, but improved productivity and other advantages mean it will continue to attract investors, analysts say.
Labour costs in China would match those of the United States within four years, catching up with eurozone countries in five years and with Japan in seven, the French bank Natixis forecast in a study last month.
China “will soon no longer be a competitive place for production given the strong rise in the cost of production”, the bank said. …
Shanghai Daily, 25.7.2012
SPORTSWEAR giant Adidas last week confirmed the closure of its only wholly owned factory in China, citing a “realignment of its global resources” but more likely signaling the reality of rising labor costs on the Chinese mainland.
The German-based athletics sportswear company said it would shutter manufacturing operations in the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province in October, affecting 160 employees.
Adidas said it will continue to source goods from about 300 factories across China.
… About 80 percent of 1,856 export companies surveyed by the General Administration of Customs late last year reported a significant rise in costs.
The monthly minimum wage in China rose from US$59 in 2005 to US$160 in 2011, exceeding wages in Vietnam and Indonesia. Does this signal the demise of China as the “world’s factory?” …
Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Ministry of Commerce, said there’s no reason to look askance at the Adidas withdrawal from Chinese manufacturing. Rather, it is an acknowledgement on their part, that it’s cheaper to source products in China than to manufacture themselves. …
The News (Pakistan), 29.7.2012
The Sindh Minimum Wages Board on Friday proposed an increase in wages proportionally by 14.2 percent with effect from July 1, 2012, of all other categories of workers.
The categories include skilled, semi-skilled and highly skilled workers employed in 41 categories of industries as specified in Sindh Labour Department’s notifications numbers (SO(L-II)-13-4/78 dated 15th Nov, 2010 and SO(L-II)-13-22-2007 dated 13th Jan, 2012).
BusinessGreen Com, 26.7.2012
New industry body-backed index will allow companies to track environmental impact of their products down the value chain
Nike, Marks & Spencer, Levi’s, and Walmart are just some of the high profile brands to confirm they are backing a new tool designed to measure sustainability across the clothing and footwear supply chain.
The Higg Index is set to be unveiled today by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a trade body made up of brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics and government representatives, which claims to represent more than a third of the global apparel and footwear industries. …
TE Blog, Liesl Truscott, 3.8.2012
To build on the momentum set by the webinar we thought we would keep the discussion active through the Farm Blog. Please feel free to write directly into the comments box at the end of this page or send your contribution to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it for you.
Our first blog comes from Dr. Monika Messmer, a plant breeding expert and organic specialist at FiBL in Switzerland. Monika is working closely with organic cotton growers in India and has experience in participatory seed programs. She has put forward the following comments about the issues we raised in the webinar – and I believe Monika’s contribution makes a very good start to an open and active discussion on the challenges we face and how the Round Table holds so much promise for a truly multi-stakeholder approach to finding workable solutions. …
Die Textilindustrie bleibt eine ökologische Sünderbranche. Die Firmen zahlen Hungerlöhne, erwarten Überstunden und nutzen giftige Chemikalien. Umdenken Fehlanzeige. Eine Studie identifiziert ausgerechnet die Konzerne Nike, Adidas und Puma als Vorreiter. …
Ratingsieger mit C+ ist der weltgrößte Sportartikler Nike, gefolgt von Adidas mit derselben Note. Das gilt auch für Puma auf Rang fünf. In anderen Branchen erreichen die Besten B-Noten. Das zeigt, dass in der Textilindustrie noch einiges im Argen liegt.
An der Tagesordnung seien ungebrochen Löhne unterhalb des Existenzminimums, extreme Überstunden, giftige Chemikalien speziell in chinesischen Textilfabriken und enorm hoher Wasserverbrauch, kritisiert Oekom. …
Greenpeace has given a luke-warm reception to the latest update on the plans by leading apparel brands for zero discharge of harmful chemicals from their textile supply chains by 2020.
Leading apparel brands such as Nike, adidas, Puma, G-Star, C&A, H&M, Li Ning and now also Levi Strauss have updated the textile industry on their latest progress towards the zero discharge of harmful chemicals from their supply chains by 2020. But details of their progress to date has been criticised by Greenpeace as being too focussed on discharge testing instead of looking more closely at the type of chemicals being used. …
TE Blog, 31.7.2012
With growing concerns surrounding the environmental impacts of goods and services there has been a rising interest in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Exponents of this approach claim that it can help companies identify environmental ‘hot-spots’ in their supply chain and work towards addressing these (Maung, 2008). Data acquisition is however notoriously difficult when the supply chain is long and the approach has been questioned on the basis of cost (González et al., 2002). …
… with the recent announcement by Caroline Spelman MP that companies on the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions, we are likely to see further expansion in this area.
There are, however, some concerns over the application of LCA to agricultural systems …
By Sarah Zheng, 5.8.2012
… Ma along with his staff and volunteers established an unprecedented, easy-to-use database of 97,0000 cases of air, water and hazardous waste pollution, based on government data and reports (http://ipe.org.cn/en/).
… Ma and his team spearheaded a drive to persuade IT companies, including Apple, the world’s biggest technology firm, to commit to making its suppliers cleaner and details about its suppliers more public.
… “Our aim is to expand information disclosure to allow communities to fully understand the hazards and risks in their environment, thus promoting widespread participation in environmental governance.”
Marc Gunter Blog, 25.7.2012
The story of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition begins with a letter designed to get the attention of even a busy CEO. At the top: the logos of Walmart and Patagonia. John Fleming, who was then Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, and Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, signed the letter, which invited chief executives of some of the world’s biggest clothing companies–fierce competitors, ordinarily–to join together to develop an index to measure the environmental impact of their products. …
Their pitch, in part, read like this: Creating a single approach for measuring sustainability in the apparel sector will do much more than accelerate meaningful social and environmental change. Standardization will enable us to maximize sustainability benefits for all buyers without investing in multiple sustainability technologies and certification processes, and ultimately empower consumers to trust claims regarding sustainably sourced apparel. …
· Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Higgs Index
4. COTTON and other fibres
NAGPUR: After going through a tough phase last year, cotton farmers can expect slightly better rates for their produce in 2012. With the current outlook for prices, farmers would be spared an absolute loss even if they may not reap good profits by sowing cotton as it happened a couple of years ago. Cotton, which has been linked to the region’s farm crisis, is harvested from November to February. However, their fortunes would crash if the government once again imposed a ban on exports. …
The Hindu, 6.8.2012
It is a strange thing for a country that is the second largest producer of cotton in the world to do. Yet, India is now importing a large quantity of cotton using precious foreign exchange, and exerting what could have been an avoidable pressure on the trade deficit. And, it does this after exporting large quantities in the same season just a few months ago.In the ongoing cotton season (October 2011- September 2012), India exported 120 lakh bales, significantly higher than the Cotton Advisory Board’s (CAB) estimated exportable surplus of 80-85 lakh bales. And now, together, the mills are likely to import more than 15 lakh bales. Incidentally, the current season’s exports and imports are the highest in the last seven years!
5. STANDARDS & CERTIFICATES
ÖKO-TEST August 2012
… wer nach fairen Klamotten sucht, landet in einer unüberschaubaren Welt: bei der Social Fashion Company und T-Shirts mit dem Etikett Fair, bei El Puente (Fair Fashion), bei der Bio Shirt Company (menschenwürdige Produktionsbedingungen), beim Otto-Versand (Cotton made in Africa), bei Pants to Poverty (Fairtrade Certified Cotton) oder bei http://www.fairbleiben.com, wo es Klamotten von Fairliebt oder Earth Positiv gibt. Als wäre das nicht schon verwirrend genug, gibt es ganz unterschiedliche Standards und Zertifizierungssysteme, die Fairness belegen sollen. Auf der einen Seite zum Beispiel die Fair-Wear-Foundation und die Ethical Trading Initiative mit hohen Anforderungen, auf der anderen Seite die Business Social Compliance Initiative und die Worldwide Responsible Accredited Produktion. Das sind zwei Unternehmensinitiativen mit niedrigen Vorgaben.
Was aber macht ein T-Shirt zu einem fairen T-Shirt, was zeichnet einen fairen Orangensaft aus?
Ecotextile News, 30.7.2012
The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), have signed an interim partnership agreement that should see increased effectiveness and efficiency in promoting greater sustainability to African smallholder farmers while also allowing CmiA verified cotton to be sold as Better Cotton. …
… As of 1 July 2012, CmiA verified cotton (from the 2012 harvest onwards) can be sold as Better Cotton.
Fairtrade. Das Baumwoll-Dilemma
Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 30.7.2012
Bananen, Kaffee, Kakao: Der Handel mit Fairtrade-Produkten floriert. Nur bei Kleidung ziehen die Verbraucher nicht mit. Indische Bauern müssen ihre als Fairtrade-Rohstoffe angebaute Baumwolle verramschen. …
… Das zeigt sich in Südindien. Für die Baumwollbauern in Tamil Nadu ist der faire Handel eine Geduldsfrage – eine Investition, die sie langsam überfordert. Sie haben auf Subventionen der Regierung verzichtet, weil sie sonst genmanipulierte Saaten hätten einsetzen müssen, was dem Fairtrade-Konzept widerspricht. Sie haben sich vor vier Jahren dem Fairtrade-Programm der Firma Agrocel angeschlossen, weil es hieß, die großen Händler in Europa würden bald nach der “sauberen” Ware rufen.
Doch seit Jahren haben sie hier kein Gramm Baumwolle mehr als Fairtrade-Cotton losgeschlagen. Weggefallen sind damit auch die Fairtrade-typischen Prämien: Geld, das die Bauern in Infrastruktur, Gesundheit und Bildung investieren. “Wir haben die Kosten, aber nicht den Nutzen”, sagt Krishnan Sainathan von der Firma Agrocel, die das Programm hier einführte. Und doch will man den Glauben nicht loslassen: “Wir wollen Landflucht bekämpfen, eine Alternative zur Gentechnik bieten – aber wir brauchen Unterstützung.” …
Business Recorder, 29.7.2012
With a substantial growth of over 78 per cent, raw cotton export has reached all time high mark of 1.66 million bales at the end of last fiscal year 2011-2012 (FY12) mainly due to bumper cotton crop in the country and high demand in the world market. Exporters told Business Recorder on Saturday said that bumper cotton crop during the last cotton season has supported to post all time high export.
While cheap availability of cotton in the domestic market and high demand on international front has also contributed to achieve this milestone. In term of volume, Pakistan has exported some 1.66 million bales during last fiscal year as against 0.937 million bales in fiscal year 2010-2011, showing an increase of 77.8 percent or 0.729 million. In term of dollar, raw cotton export has registered a healthy growth of over 26.65 per cent at the end of last fiscal year. The country has exported raw cotton worth $462 million in FY12 compared to $365 million in FY11, depicting an increase of $97 million. …
7. PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
Bundestagsfraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, 30.7.2012
“Der Mindestlohn ist nur ein Baustein des künftigen Vergabegesetzes. Wer die Diskussion darauf verengt, hat die Herausforderungen der Zukunft nicht verstanden”, kommentiert der wirtschaftspolitische Sprecher der Landtagsfraktion von BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, Christoph Erdmenger, die gegenwärtige Diskussion um die Inhalte des künftigen Vergabegesetzes des Landes. Es müssten soziale und ökologische Aspekte in das Gesetz aufgenommen werden und gleichzeitig müsse die Vergabe entbürokratisiert werden. …
Call for better labour relations. Transcom Chairman Latifur Rahman suggests sincere effort to improve working conditions
Daily Star, 31.7.2012
Winner of Oslo Business for Peace Award Latifur Rahman yesterday called for bringing about improvement in labour relations in industries for sustainable business.
… He called upon entrepreneurs in the garment sector to rethink trade unionism, which he said is a part of sustainable business.
He said the BEF, which is also connected with the International Labour Organisation, should play a proactive role in improving labour relations. …
The Government of Bangladesh has assured leading purchasers of its garments in the West that it would address
Earlier in 2010, months of unrest compelled the Government as well as the factory owners to hike wages by 80 percent to a minimum US$ 37 per month. …
Daily Star, 27.7.2012
Bangladesh has every prospect to be the world’s largest garment seller, but its exports to the US may land in deep trouble unless the government sincerely resolves a number of issues mostly relating to improving labour rights within this year.
Dan W Mozena, US ambassador to Bangladesh, made these remarks yesterday. …
… “The US is trying to convey a clear understanding of the reality of the market in America for Bangladesh’s readymade garments. That market is currently under threat due to a perfect storm,” the ambassador said during a discussion at The Daily Star office.
Financial Express, 27.7.2012
The devaluation of euro against Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) and the US dollar has hit hard Bangladeshi exporters.
The exporters’ profit margin has fallen from EU export as they are paying for imported raw materials in US dollar while receiving a significant amount of payment for exports from European customers in euros.
The European buyers, who pay in dollars, are also bargaining to reduce the price of Bangladeshi items following fall of euro, businesses said. …
Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, 26.7.2012
Bangladesh’s Government operates a blacklist targeting and firing garment workers seeking their legal rights, according to new information obtained by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
Institute director Charles Kernaghan stated today, “The Bangladesh Government is in direct violation of many of the International Labour Organization’s core worker rights conventions, which the country ratifiedin June 1973, including Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (ILO Convention 87), and the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining (ILO Convention 98).” …
The Independent Bangladesh, 26.7.2012
The local industry owners differ with the concept of freedom of expression in the factories prescribed by the Western diplomats. “We differ with their concept because of our geopolitical perspective which is very much different from the Western societies,” said a leading industrialist and president of an association. He told the Independent that they did not have any objection to forming trade unions in their factories but the problem is that trade union in Bangladesh country has always been politicised. …
… Mozena mentioned the progress achieved on labour issues but reminded the business leaders that the employers need to develop greater attention for freedom of association.
Financial Express, 26.7.2012
Seven workers’ organisations in the readymade garment (RMG) sector demanded effective measures to fix minimum monthly wage for labours at Tk 7,000 to help them lead a normal life meeting minimum civic amenities.
They made the demand to protect the poorly paid communities as frequent increase in house rent in the densely populated workers-intensive residential areas takes away a major portion of their income. …
Financial Express, 26.7.2012
… A reason behind the labour unrest is the absence of legal and institutional arrangements to ensure labour rights in the RMG sector. Many of the garments factories in Bangladesh are alleged not to comply with the Labour Law and ILO conventions. The Labour Act-2006 (Labour code) clearly mentions that the wage of a worker must be paid within seven workings days [Section 123 (1)]. Many garments factories do not allegedly provide appointment letters/contract letters, identity cards and employee handbooks. Proper health safety and security arranegements for the workers are absent in many garments factories. Besides, the workers do not have clear idea about their rights and labour laws.
The main reason for labour unrest is inadequate wages of the workers. The sector employs about 40 per cent of the country’s industrial workforce. …
The writer is a student of the Department of Business Administration, East West University. email@example.com
Daily Star, 26.7.2012
The wages of garment workers should be immediately readjusted in line with inflation and the consumer price index to quell persistent unrest in the industry. This was the demand of top buyers of Bangladeshi garment products yesterday. …
… The minister invited the buyers to raise their purchase prices. “If you can increase Tk 25, I will give Tk 20 to workers and Tk 5 to manufacturers,” said the minister in a lighter vein. The buyers remained silent in response. …
Dhaka, July 25 (bdnews24.com) — Labour Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain has marked uncontrolled hikes in house rent as the key reason behind demonstrations by workers.
“House rent is being increased twice even thrice in a year. This is sparking unrest among the workers,” the Minister told journalists following a meeting with local and foreign buyers and business leaders at the Secretariat on Wednesday. …
Phnom Phen Post, 3.8.2012
Cambodia has come a long way since the early 1990s, with peace and macroeconomic stability ushering in a period of economic “catch up” with its neighbours.
However, while rapid economic growth has clearly raised incomes and improved livelihoods in many corners of the country, recent questions have emerged over how “inclusive” this growth is, and indeed, what else is needed beyond growth for people to live a full and productive life. …
… This is why Cambodia, with the help of a joint EU-International Labour Organization project, Monitoring and Assessing Progress on Decent Work, has established a set of decent work indicators (DWIs), the first collection of which were published in a Decent Work Country Profile, launched this week in Phnom Penh. …
Phnom Penh Post, 26.7.2012
Amid a spate of garment factory strikes – including one at Tai Yang Enterprises that has lasted more than a month – Cambodia’s Arbitration Council yesterday said it wanted the industry to renew a memorandum of understanding on industrial action that has been in limbo since November.
“[The MoU] is something we would like the industry to come to the table on,” Arbitration Council Foundation executive director Sok Lor told the Post. …
China Labour Bulletin, 27.7.2012
… Observers in Guangdong have said large numbers of small and medium-sized factories have closed their production lines, leading to a very noticeable migration of workers back to their home towns, especially workers over the age of 45, who are at a disadvantage when they try to find a new job. …
To save the domestic knitwear industry from waning further, textile units in Tirupur, a city in the south-Indian state of Tamil Nadu, have decided to reduce emission of pollutants during dyeing through adoption of a new technology.
India Times, 25.7.2012
Spinning mills in the country have contracted to import 10 lakh bales (170 kg) of cotton from African countries following tight domestic availability and delayed monsoon.
The supply squeeze is owing to lower stocks with growers. Delayed monsoon has led to fears of drop in acreage and production of cotton. Besides, parched US crops have prompted millers in the country– world’s second-largest cotton exporter – to import more. …
The Nation, 2.8.2012
The Central Wage Committee yesterday revealed that more jobs were becoming available and that the government was doing a good job at controlling inflation and the price of goods. …
Die Welt, 4.8.2012
Ein T-Shirt für 2,50 Euro, eine Jeans für 9: Die irische Modekette Primark erobert die Kleiderschränke deutscher Teenager. Kritiker sprechen jedoch von “katastrophalen Arbeitsbedingungen”. Von C. Bohmann, C. Dierig und H. Seidel …
Ecotextile News, 1.8.2012
Sportswear giant Adidas has launched a range of t-shirts which, dyed in a process using pressurised CO2 instead of water, is said to use 50% less energy, and 50% fewer chemicals than normal processes. …
Frankfurter Rundschau, 28.7.2012
Der irische Textildiscounter Primark wirbt mit niedrigsten Preisen für Trend-Klamotten – verführt zum hemmungslosen Shoppen und sorgt für Müllberge. Einige Kundinnen jubeln bereits darüber, sich nun „totshoppen“ zu können. …
10. NGO CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS
International Labor Rights Forum, 6.8.2012
Summary: Aminul Islam, 40, president of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers’ Federation (BGIWF)’s local committee in the Savar and Ashulia areas of Dhaka and a senior organizer with a well-known labor rights group, the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), was tortured and murdered in early April 2012.  To date, nobody has been held responsible for this crime. …
Clean Clothes Campaign, 26.7.2012
An offer by adidas to donate food vouchers to Indonesian workers owed millions of euros has been described as downright insulting by union representatives and labour right campaigners.
The workers, previously employed at ex-addidas supplier PT Kizone, have been fighting for over a year to get adidas to pay the 1.5 million euros still owed to them in unpaid severance. Adidas’ offer: a food voucher worth just 43 euros. …
· Tell adidas: If you can afford to sponsor the Olympics, you can afford severance pay for your workers!
Workers making Olympic sportswear for London 2012 for top brands and high street names including Adidas and Next are being paid poverty wages, forced to work excessive overtime and threatened with instant dismissal if they complain about working conditions, according to a new report. …
11. BOOKS, REPORTS, REVIEWS, SCIENCE
Andreas Engelhardt, 221 Seiten
Deuticke im Paul Zsolnay Verlag, 2012
Sustainable Apparel Coalition
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is an industry-wide group of over 60 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world.
The focus of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition is The Higg Index that measures the environmental performance of apparel products. Future versions will include footwear products and measure social performance. …
12. WORKSHOPS ETC.
München, 04. – 06.09. 2012
HONG KONG, 04.-05.10.2012
London College of Fashion, 04.-07.11.2012
These are the highlights from our newsletter Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 13 (PDF):
- As every week, wages is a hot topic: Chinese news report that government wages in China are growing slower than last year, the Bankok Post reports that firms „ignore“ wage hikes, BBC writes that food prices in Bangladesh have increased by more than 50% with wages remaining the same, and the Pakistan Times explains why the government is incapable of even enforcing minimum wages.
- Numerous news focus on Adidas: The company now closed its last own factory in China, and opens 600 new shops in China. On its blog Adidas explains what they understand as „poverty wages“, while the University of Wisconsin has launched a „historic challenge to Adidas over Sweatshop Conditions for College-Branded Apparel“. And a PhD student from Oxford has written an interesting special report about the „Rise (and fall?) of Adidas“.
- We suggest clothing companies to look at what is happening in other sectors. The Guardian argues that getting the supply chains in order could also be an opportunity – as „US legislation will require companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals“ anyhow.
- People working in public procurement have a new guide to „Good verification practices for social standards“ by the Landmark project.
- There is an article in the Guardian about „how activism forced Nike to change its ethical game“ and the Financial Times shows how Jochen Zeitz envisions Puma’s phase out from leather soccer shoes.
If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com
NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION
Due to the Berlin Fashion Week and our holidays we skipped one week and today issue our newsletter
Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 12 (PDF):
- A must read is Jo Confino’s report from Rio+20, particularly the report on Tim Jackson’s talk. It nicely contrasts many of the other articles we refer to, which have a quite different understanding of economic growth. Reading his other articles might give you a good insight into the discussions in Rio around corporate responsibility.
- A study from researches at the University of Göttingen on Bt cotton concludes that „… Bt cotton has created large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India.“ – which is quite surprising regarding the many critical studies about Bt cotton so far. To get a more holistic picture of Bt cotton please also look at the summary of a discussion in the Organic Cotton Community regarding Bt in Burkina Faso, the Indian movement Navdanya, which regards the invasion of Bt cotton in India as highly problematic – and GMWATCH.
- If you have not read much about the Eco Textile Index, you might consult the Textile Exchange Blog, which started a series on this instrument.
- What a waste: WRAP, the British leading agency on resource efficiency revealed in a study that the UK uses £30 billion worth in unused wardrobe.
- We also collected some of the articles on the recent workers’ unrest in Bangladesh at the factory Ashulia, which made some brands worry about their investments in the country – and which made H&M and other companies write a letter to the President to ask her to increase the wages. This article seemed to provide the most comprehensive overview. The CCC also commented on the situation from a different perspective.
- If you can read German, you should also read the interview with the founder of the Bread & Butter, Karl-Heinz Müller about his view regarding Berlin Fashion week and also regarding „dangers“ of eco fashion.
All below text are direct quotations from the articles we refer to. If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com
NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION
Jo Confino in Rio de Janeiro, Guardian Professional, Monday 25 June 2012
The author of Prosperity Without Growth says that despite a staggering lack of responsibility from politicians, there is still a route to a better economic system
… “The ‘G’ word is a signifier for not changing the system. It is synonymous with western consumerism which we are locked into. Green growth is the emperor’s new clothes, it is an empty concept. There is nothing there apart from aspiration and some of the modelling is vaguely supportive of getting a growth based economy more efficient in resource terms but there is no single piece of modelling anywhere really that shows you can have sustained growth, even in the richest economies, and get the poorest up to the level of the west and meet you CO2 targets.”
… “We are told continually there is no alternative,” says Jackson. “We are saying another world is possible. We have stood up and said continuing growth in the Western world is unjust, inappropriate and potentially destabilising. Having said that, we understand why governments do it, so there is an onus on us to show there are other stories and to identify the institutional innovations you might need in order to arrive at this other place.”
2. CSR & SUSTAINABILITY
John Morrison for the Guardian Professional Network, guardian.co.uk, 25.6.2012
Businesses have a responsibility for all their impacts and for preventing human rights harms, whilst ensuring that adequate remedies are available when abuses occur
Tim Smedley for the Guardian Professional Network guardian.co.uk, 20.6.2012
… “People who are happier at work are more productive – they are more engaged, more creative, have better concentration”, says Marks. “The difference in productivity between happy and unhappy people at work can range between 10-50%. That’s 10% for non-complex repetitive tasks, or up to 40-50% in service and creative industries.” And that’s an awful lot in terms of business revenue. …
Adrian Henriques for the Guardian Professional Network, 18.6.2012
The social impact of a business is easy to identify but difficult to measure, however understanding the effects a company has on society and the environment is vital to achieving sustainability
Oliver Balch, Guardian Professional, Tuesday 3 July 2012 13.02 BST
Often the majority of a company’s impacts on environment and society are indirect. Oliver Balch asks to what extent should they take responsibility for these?
… But what about companies’ indirect impacts? Are supermarkets responsible for the carbon that their customers emit when driving to their out-of-town stores? Should food brands be held accountable for the pesticide waste caused by the farmers that supply them? …
3. WORKING CONDITIONS
Only 49% surveyed say their employment is ‘ideal’ for them
Chinese workers are among the least likely in Asia to say their jobs are ideal, despite China having one of the region’s lowest unemployment rates, a report by an international research company has found.
A survey conducted by management consultancy Gallup Inc in 2011, the results of which were released last week, has found only 49 percent of Chinese workers think their job is the “ideal” one for them.
The Jakarta Post, 13.7.2012
More than 30,000 workers from the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) marched on the Presidential Palace on Thursday, demanding that the government crack down on outsourcing. “We will give time to the government to prohibit low-wage policies and employee outsourcing until October, KSPI president Said Iqbal said on Thursday.
Pamela Ravasio, Guardian Professional, 3.7.2012
Collaboration and innovation are vital drivers for scaling sustainability in the fibre manufacturing process, says Pamela Ravasio
… In sustainability, things are not always as they appear. In particular, thinking on sustainability and textiles is ripe with misconceptions, let’s start by busting a few of the most common myths:
• Across the full life cycle (growing, manufacturing and specifically usage) natural fibres are not necessarily more sustainable than synthetic fibres
• Natural dyes are not necessarily better than chemical ones
• Organic cotton currently only amounts to around 1% of the world harvest and production cannot be scaled sufficiently quickly to cater to the mainstream just yet …
WRAP, 11th July 2012
UK consumers have around £30 billion worth of clothes which they haven’t worn for a year hanging in their wardrobes, reveals a new report by WRAP, the UK’s lead body on resource efficiency. The ground breaking report ‘Valuing our clothes’ provides the first big picture look at the impacts of clothing. It offers a fresh look at the financial and environmental aspects of the whole journey of all clothing; from raw material, to manufacture, purchase, use and disposal of our clothes.
… The report goes a step further than simply providing the economic and environmental facts, it also identifies potential new business models for industry that can add to the bottom line, increase the range of services or stimulate markets. … One such new business opportunity WRAP’s report identifies is retailers establishing ‘buy-back’ schemes. This would enable customers to sell retailer own-brand clothes they no longer want back to the retailer to prepare for re-sale. …
Posted by Liesl Truscott, 2.7.2012
… For those that are not yet up on this, the Eco-Index is being developed by the Outdoor Industry Association and the European Outdoor Group. It is an environmental assessment tool designed to advance sustainability practices primarily within the outdoor industry. It aims to provide companies throughout the supply chain with a way to benchmark and measure their environmental footprint, identify areas for improvement, and make informed sourcing and product life cycle decisions (See http://www.ecoindexbeta.org/content/about-project).
The Eco-Index can be applied to other industries as well and is the basis of the Sustainable Apparel Index tool. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is developing this industry-wide tool for measuring the environmental and social performance of apparel products and the supply chains that produce them (Visit http://www.apparelcoalition.org/1.html).
Never has there been a better opportunity for us to position organic cotton within a sustainability framework that has captured the attention and commitment of the textile industry at large. …
Might also be interesting:
– The Organic advantage through the lenses of the Eco-Index – Waste, Posted by Liesl Truscott, 9.7.2012
– The Organic advantage through the lenses of the Eco-Index, Posted by Liesl Truscott, 5.7.2012
5. COTTON and other fibres
Irrational trade policies and shrinking farm holdings are among the reasons that lead farmers to commit suicide in Maharashtra.
Global Times, 4.7.2012
The price gap between locally produced and imported cotton in China has been widening, weakening the international competitiveness of the country’s textile and garment industry, industrial bodies and analysts said Tuesday.
“The price difference between domestic and imported cotton is normally 1,000 yuan ($157) per ton but the gap has widened to an unprecedented level of more than 5,000 yuan now, putting pressure on local textile mills and garment industry,” Wang Qianjin, a senior analyst from webtex.com, an information provider for the textile sector, told the Global Times Tuesday. …
Farmers in India, the second-biggest cotton producer in the world, are likely to switch to other crops like soybean that gave them better returns this year, and this might lead to a fall in area under cotton cultivation during the 2012-13 season, Textile Commissioner AB Joshi has said.
Universität Göttingen, 2.7.2012
In einer Langzeitstudie hat der Göttinger Agrarökonom Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim mit seinem Team die wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Aspekte von Gentechnik in Entwicklungsländern untersucht. Die Wissenschaftler der Universität Göttingen haben dabei unter anderem erforscht, welche Effekte der Anbau von gentechnisch veränderter Baumwolle (sogenannter Bt-Baumwolle) in Indien auf die lokale ländliche Bevölkerung hat. … Die Göttinger Wissenschaftler fanden heraus, dass die Technologie den Kleinbauern erheblich nützt und sich positiv auf deren Erträge und Einkommen auswirkt. … Trotz des teureren Saatguts erzielen die Baumwollbauern mit der Bt-Technologie um 50 Prozent höhere Gewinne. … „Befürchtungen von Kritikern, die Gentechnik würde eine zunehmende Ausbeutung der Bauern durch Großkonzerne zur Folge haben, können wir mit unseren langjährigen und umfangreichen Daten widerlegen.“
Kathage, J., Qaim, M. (2012): Economic impacts and impact dynamics of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton in India. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Doi: 10.1073/pnas.1203647109 (published online)
GM in Burkina Faso – summary of a discussion
Organic Cotton Community by Ashley Gill, 7.6.2012
It was presented to the community that in Burkina Faso, after 4 years of the presence of GM (genetically modified) cotton, farmers were switching back to conventional, or non-GM seed. Many farmers in Burkina Faso experienced shorter fibre length which led to the cotton selling at lower prices than before. The GM cotton was introduced in the area with the promise of 30% higher yields, reduced pesticide use, and higher net income overall. After several years, none of these promises have been realized. Crop yields even dropped in some cases. All of this began with higher seed cost as well, and the result was debt and lower income for farmers. Other issues experienced with the GM cotton were waterlogging and smaller boll size. This was observed by the farmers themselves.
An experience was related of Burkinabe farmers visiting South Africa several years ago to view the positive and negative outcomes of GM cotton production there. These observations may be presented to the community at a later time. …
6. STANDARDS & CERTIFICATES
EcoTextile, Wednesday, 11.7.2012
Prior to the launch of the latest 2012 version of the Eco-Textile Labelling Guide by MCL Global, a new study claims that the practice of eco-labelling may be on the brink of saturation with significant confusion among both consumers and industry due to the sheer number of standards available.
A new study by the Swiss-based IMD, the International Institute for Management Development, and EPFL, the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, suggests the process of eco-labelling has become so fragmented that the current industry perception is dominated by wide-ranging reappraisal.
The IMD and EPFL researchers surveyed more than 1,000 executives around the globe about their attitudes towards eco-labels. Major international companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Nestlé, Canon, Sara Lee and E.ON took part in the study, which first sought to investigate why firms adopt eco-labels.
… But they also expressed what the study called “substantial scepticism” over eco-labels’ enduring credibility and the rigour of some criteria and certification procedures.
Clare Lissaman, Guardian Professional, 5.7.2012
Clare Lissaman argues that fair trade fashion, when done with support and development input, can make a real difference
Fair World Project, 27.6.2012
We, committed fair trade stakeholders, have been disappointed by the historic actions of Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), especially in recent months, to the point that we can no longer consider FTUSA a valid fair trade certifier and partner without significant changes to its practices. The undersigned have outlined the most important actions that contradict fair trade principles and what FTUSA can do by specific times, to gain credibility and support again in the Fair Trade movement and marketplace.
7. CONSUMERS & MARKETING
SC Johnson announced two new efforts focused on encouraging consumers to engage in more sustainable lifestyles.
… In partnership with Recyclebank, the company is launching the Green Choices Recycling Challenge, which aims to increase curbside recycling in 50 communities across the United States. This initiative is one way SC Johnson is working towards its goal of becoming landfill neutral by eliminating or diverting 480 million pounds of waste from landfills, which is greater than its U.S. waste footprint. …
Simultaneously, the company is beginning a research project studying how to inspire behavior change around sustainable choices. Over the next five years, the SC Johnson Sustainable Behavior Change Program will bring together academics, environmentalists and consumers to identify what drives behavior change around a number of sustainable actions. …
Daily Star, 10.7.2012
US Ambassador in Bangladesh Dan Mozena on Tuesday said many American companies have raised their concern of buying ready-made-garment products from Bangladesh after the killing of a labour leader.
… “US companies want to buy products from Bangladesh because Bangladesh is a good country, good products, good people, but they are very concern about labour issues, safety at work place and freedom of association in Bangladesh,” he said. …
New Age BG, 7.7.2012
Leaders of different labour organisations on Friday demanded to the government for revising the minimum wages of workers, including those of the RMG sector, considering the price hike of daily commodities. …
Daily Star, 5.7.2012
World Bank suggests efforts to improve trade logistics, workers’ skills and labour standards
… The exports of basic garments will continue to be important in future but Bangladesh’s competitive advantage in the area could erode over time, the World Bank said in a study yesterday.
… To accelerate exports, the study suggested consolidating existing strengths in basic garments and at the same time, diversifying into other products such as higher-value garments and services sector. …
New Age BD, 5.7.2012
Economist Wahiduddin Mahmud on Wednesday said wages of the readymade garment workers should be increased to help them come out of the poverty. The RMG workers cannot get rid of the poverty trap with existing minimum wage, he said at a report launching ceremony by the World Bank in the capital. He pointed out that low wage was an advantage for the country’s ever growing RMG sector which employs around 3.5 million workers. But the advantage was not enough to fight poverty, he added.
… The comments by the noted economist came weeks after thousands of workers went on rampage and clashed with the law enforcers in a series of protest in demand of pay hike. …
Compliance failures can imperil RMG sector: WB
Financial Expresss, 5.7.2012
Bangladesh needs to improve its trade logistics and infrastructure, more skilled manpower, and ensure compliance with the government’s labour standards to accelerate export growth, said a new World Bank report, reports UNB. Stressing the compliance, the report said compliance failures can jeopardise the entire garment sector. “Compliance important because of potential negative externality…it is increasingly important for Bangladesh,” the report added. …
… “Bangladesh’s current cost advantage in the garment sector may not be adequate to compete globally as the country moves up the value chain. The country must improve logistics to ensure that exports as well as imported inputs are shipped on time, cost effectively and reliably, and this is important to even ensure sustained growth in the existing areas of strength,” said Sanjay Kathuria. …
Yarns and Fibres, 2.7.2012
Garment SramikSongramParishad, a platform of six associations of workers, demanded a minimum wage of Tk 7,000 against the backdrop of rising inflation and house rents.
… On a 12-month average basis, the inflation rate accelerated to 10.76 percent in May, up from 8.67 percent in the same month a year ago, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. A five-member family needs Tk 12,950 monthly to maintain their daily life and education of children, they said. On November 1, 2010, the wage board for garment industries nearly doubled the minimum wages to about Tk 3,000 a month at the entry level. …
Statement CCC on Bangladesh: CCC is gravely worried about the violent repression of garment workers and their labour leaders in Ashulia in Bangladesh
On June 11th, thousands of garment workers took to the streets demanding a pay hike. Instead of increasing the wages, the factory owners closed down over 300 units, leaving the workers with no prospect to an income. Since then, 25 people have been arrested and many have been wounded during severe clashes with the police and union leaders are fearing brutal treatment by the intelligence agencies in Bangladesh. Although the factories have reopened again, the demand for higher wages remains a pressing issue and the level of repression unacceptable. …
… “We decided to reopen the factories after the government assured us of adequate security while the workers agreed to ensure peaceful operation and the owners said they will consider the workers’ demands,” said Muhammad Iqbal, managing director of clothes maker the Skyline Group.
… Workers are demanding a 50 percent wage increase to meet rising food and rent prices, but factory owners say they are unable to afford pay rises as a consequence of the impact of global downturn on exports. They said they would consider the workers’ demands when appropriate. “We welcome the move, but urge the government to mediate with the owners to review wages as the prices of almost all daily necessaries, along with house rent, have gone up,” said Nazma Akhter, president of the Garment Workers United Alliance.
The Independent, 20.6.2012
A High Court bench on Tuesday asked the two leading associations of apparel sector owners to explain why their decision to shut down more than 300 factories in Ashulia, on Dhaka’s outskirts, should not be declared illegal. It asked the authorities to explain why they should not be directed to cancel the impugn decision and keep open all factories in the Ashulia industrial zone.
… Dr Kamal Hossain, counsel for the petitioners, told the court that as per Section 13(1) of the Labour Act, the association could not impose shut-down orders on the factories. The association had done so violating relevant laws, he added. He also said that several lakhs of people depend on the sector for their livelihood. But the decision to shut down the factories hampered their fundamental rights, he added.
Massive protests planned if RMG units not reopened by June 20. Uneasy calm prevails in Ashulia after days of violence
Financial Express, 18.6.2012
… “Even if we consider the depreciation of Taka against US dollar since the time when the minimum wage was fixed at US$ 43, the minimum wage stands at Tk. 3,650 that means the workers are now getting at least Tk 650 less than the minimum wage in real terms, he added. …
MUST READ: Violence in RMG sector: An ominous sign
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.
… Agitation for arrears and bonuses before Eid is not a new phenomenon in Bangladesh. Garment employees bring out such rallies before Eid every year. Successive governments have since the early 1990s doled out some Tk 74.24 billion as cash incentive to exporters to help them run their factories efficiently and earn more foreign exchange for the country. But allegations have it that unscrupulous business houses abused much of this hefty sum. Reports say the readymade garment sector, the top foreign exchange earner, was the prime beneficiary of such generous government largesse. About 70 per cent of the total amount disbursed since the scheme was introduced went to the RMG sector. Officials alleged that many business houses in the RMG sector, which did not qualify for getting such incentives, resorted to unscrupulous means to avail themselves of the easy cash. …
New Age BD, 19.6.2012
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday ordered the authorities concerned to issue ‘fair price cards’ to the readymade garment factory workers in industrial belts near Dhaka city to provide rice at a subsidised rate in an effort to curb labour unrest. … workers holding the ‘fair price cards’ to be issued soon as per the directive of the prime minister, would be able to buy 20 kilograms of rice at Tk 24 a kg every month.
Daily Star Blog, 19.6.2012
Saidul Islam, a knitting worker, always wanted his wife to be a housewife. He wanted her to stay at home and raise their only child, which was of foremost importance to both of them. … Last year he was earning between Tk 12,000 and Tk 14,000, but this year it fell down to Tk 8,000 to Tk 9,000. So, earlier this month, he had to resign to the circumstances and reluctantly send his wife Shahana Akhter to work, at a garment factory in their neighbourhood. She now chips in with Tk 3,000 a month. What is more unfortunate is that the couple had to send their son to Islam’s parent’s house in Pabna. They do not have anyone in the industrial belt to mind the three-year-old when they are away at work. … “Because we purchase everything on credit we have to pay over and above everyone else. For instance, four pieces of eggs cost us Tk 45. But the garment owners and the government refuse to see it,” she said yesterday.
The Independent, 18.6.2012
Workers’ unrest in the Ashulia garments belt has cast a deep pall of gloom in the ready-made garments (RMG) sector.The conflict—between workers fighting for what they believe is their just cause and an industry that’s trying to compete globally in an uncertain economic environment—has already claimed its first major victim—the ambitious USD 20-billion RMG export target for this fiscal year.
… BGMEA president Mohiuddin said that the loss of foreign buyers’ confidence, can not be measured in terms of money. Many orders have already been cancelled and many RMG companies would have to ship their product by air, to meet deadline, which would cost them a huge amount of money, he added. Mohiuddin also explained that when factories of big entrepreneurs are attacked, they would, naturally, become demoralised and would become discouraged from investing further. “How can one expect foreign investment to come in, when our own entrepreneurs are getting demoralised?” he pondered. ..
… However, RMG factories inside the Dhaka Export Processing Zone remained open and production was normal in these units.
Star Business Report, 15.6.2012
The president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce Industry (FBCCI) yesterday hinted that garment workers deserve a pay hike against the backdrop of rising inflation and house rents. “House rents increased three times in Ashulia; non-food inflation marked a rise. So I have decided to hike salary for my workers from June instead of November,” said Azad, also the owner of Ha-Meem Group, a leading player in the sector. But Azad came under fire from other garment makers due to his decision of increasing salary of his workers. “It was my personal decision,” he defended himself.
Azad also said, only the workers are not responsible for the unrest in the sector, some other groups are also playing behind the scene.
… Turning down the workers’ demand for raising their salary, BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said food inflation declined to 7.4 percent recently from 11.91 percent in December. “So there is no logical reason for a pay hike,” he said.
More articles on Ashulia:
Ashraf blames ‘foreign stooges for RMG unrest’, The Independent, 21.6.2012
Bangladesh pay row shuts Ashulia garment factories. Police and garment workers have clashed as the pay dispute becomes increasingly bitter, BBC News, 17.6.2012
Garment workers assured of wage hike from July, Financial Express, 17.6.2012
RMG Violence: Both workers, owners push their causes harder, UNB Connect, 18.6.2012
RMG crisis deepens. Owners, workers at loggerheads, The Independent, 19.6.2012
RMG Violence: Who are the invisible players? Mohd Jahangir Alam, UNB Staff Writer, 15.6.2012
Protesting Dhaka garment workers ‘win pay hike’, The independent, Thursday, 14 June 2012
Ashulia turns into battlefield again: 300 factories shut, The Indepdent, 14.6.2012
BGMEA, BKMEA oppose hike in tax at source
FE Report, 9.6.2012
Garment manufacturers are worried over the proposed hike in tax at source for export-oriented industries in the budget proposal for financial year (FY) 2012-2013, saying that it will have a negative impact on the sector.
… According to the budget proposal for the next fiscal (2012-2013), which was placed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday last at the parliament, the government proposed 1.20 per cent tax at source on all types of export for the coming FY. Apparel makers are now paying 0.60 per cent tax at source in the current FY (2011-2012).
… “Cent per cent tax hike at source on export-oriented industries like us is completely detrimental to the industry. The normal progress of the textile industry will seriously be hampered if such increase is imposed,” BGMEA president M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters in a post-budget reaction at a press conference in city.
… US ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena in a meeting with the apparel producers last week expressed the same apprehension, saying that the present labour situation in the country’s garment sector could undercut Bangladeshi RMG (readymade garment) export to the US.
… The BGMEA president said people think that the export-oriented industry earns 12 per cent profit. According to the budget, the industry will have to pay 10 per cent tax and 1.20 per cent tax at source. But, garments industries and factories make 0.50 to 1.0 per cent profit on its export price.
Cambodia’s garment and footwear manufacturers on Wednesday agreed to add 10 U.S. dollars to the monthly wage of the workers in the country’s garment and footwear industries.
… According to the deal, the manufacturers agreed to provide 7 U. S. dollars a month for house rent or transport fee and another 3 U. S. dollars as attendance bonus for garment and footwear workers.
… With the increased amount, from Sept. 1 onwards, a worker will receive the monthly minimum salary of 73 U.S. dollars plus 10 U.S. dollar attendance bonus.
China Economic Net, 29.6.2012
Western China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has raised its minimum monthly and hourly wages, local authorities announced on Friday.
After the wage hike, which took effect on June 1, minimum monthly salaries — before deductions for pension, unemployment, medical insurance and housing payments — were raised to 1,340 yuan (211 U.S. dollars), 1,140 yuan, 1,060 yuan and 980 yuan under four subdivisions. They have been increased by an average of 18.95 percent, according to a press release issued by the regional human resources department.
Minimum hourly wages, which have been upped by 1.8 yuan, now range from 9.8 yuan to 13.4 yuan across the region.
China adopted a minimum wage system in 1993, under which base rates in different provinces, municipalities or autonomous regions are decided by local governments.
Global Times, 8.7.2012
China’s textile industry, which contributes significantly to the country’s exports, experienced a slowdown in the first five months of 2012, mainly due to weakening global demand and decreasing competitiveness compared to other Southeast Asian countries, industry experts said Sunday.
Domestic textile companies with annual revenue of at least 20 million yuan ($3.14 million) saw total gross profit of 91.7 billion yuan from January to May, down 2.4 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in a statement on its website Friday.
Even as the negotiations are still on between Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association (ATMA) and Textile Labour Association (TLA) for wage hike of textile workers, the same may be settled for a Rs 2,000 per month.
“We are yet to meet for a final negotiations. While we have been pushing for Rs 2,500 per month which amounts to 40 per cent hike, ATMA has been informally offering a final settlement around Rs 1,800-2,000 per month. …
Central Eurasia Project, 11.7.2012
… The Centre for Governance and Geopolitical Studies recently released “Forced child labour in Uzbekistan: Some Changes – But Not For The Better” which documents alarming trends from Uzbekistan’s most recent cotton harvests. The Centre’s research, supported by the Open Society Foundations, reveals that civil servants are routinely forced to pick cotton and that children are made to work the most difficult part of the harvest in late autumn, when the weather condition are the most severe. …
TE, posted by Victoria Richards on Tue, Jul 10, 2012
TE Member, Marks & Spencer, has become the first major UK retailer to go fully ‘carbon neutral’ five years after launching its sustainability project, ‘Plan A.’ Since the launch of Plan A, M&S has reduced waste by 31 percent or 80,000 tons and 100 percent of waste is now recycled. Nothing ends up in the landfill.
Financial Times Deutschland, 26.6.2012
Patagonia verzichtet auf einen klassischen Nachhaltigkeitsbericht. Statt sich selbst zu feiern, macht die Outdoormarke die Lieferkette transparent. Solche Aktionen inspirieren auch H&M und Zara.
Leon Kaye Guardian Professional, Thursday 5 July 2012
A decade ago, Timberland was among many apparel companies dogged by accusations that some of its products were manufactured by children. Since then, the company has emerged as a leader in social responsibility and transparency. Extensive quarterly sustainability reports and factory audits are among the steps Timberland has taken towards progress on responsible sourcing and factory conditions. …
H&M and other brands, 18.6.2012
.. As buyers, we do not support violent protests, nor do we believe that this is the correct way forward. But we recognize and understand that the unrest has become a way for workers to raise their problems and vent their frustration, and we are looking to the Bangladeshi government to solve the current worker unrest in a peaceful, swift and humanitarian manner.
With regard to the issue of workers’ wages, the minimum wage in Bangladesh was last revised in November 2010. Since then, there has been an increase in the inflation rate that has been recorded by the World Bank data in 2011 and 2012. (As per World Bank data, the inflation rate in Bangladesh was recorded at 9.93 percent in April of 2012). We believe that, at a minimum, the Bangladeshi government should consider an annual review of the local minimum wage that takes into consideration to the national inflation and the Consumer price index. The mechanisms to adjust the minimum wage are varied, but what we believe is important is that some mechanism be considered. If a functional review system is created and enforced, these revisions will help address the basic needs of the workers. This in turn will also help the employers and buyers to work together and address the issues of productivity, and work towards a constructive framework to improve the resource efficiency in the textile and garment sector.
Grün und edel. Mode im Adlon. Der Branchenriese Messe Frankfurt organisiert die beiden wichtigsten Berliner Messen für grüne Mode.
Wenn einer der größten Messeveranstalter der Welt einen vergleichsweise winzigen Showroom übernimmt, der noch dazu ein sehr spezielles Publikum bedient, muss ein besonderer Plan dahinterstecken. Und so war es auch, als die Messe Frankfurt im Frühling 2011 den Green Showroom übernahm, die auf grüne Luxuslabels spezialisierte kleine Messe, die seit 2009 während der Fashion Week in einigen Suiten des Hotels Adlon am Potsdamer Platz stattfindet. …
Dieser Umbruch in der Berliner Messelandschaft ist auch ein Symptom für den einen grundlegenden Wandel in der grünen Mode. Es geht nicht mehr um Konsumverzicht, sondern um verantwortlichen Konsum. Mittlerweile denken auch Weltmarken wie Puma ökologisch. Und die Kunden, die sich für die hochwertigen, individuellen Designermarken interessieren, die im Green Showroom zeigen, wollen erst einmal eines: gut aussehen. Das aber eben mit gutem Gewissen.
Bread & Butter-Chef Karl-Heinz Müller über die Nachwirkungen der Chino-Hose, die Gefahren der Öko-Mode und den neuen Wettbewerb auf dem Berliner Messemarkt.
11. NGO CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS
Clean Clothes Campaign Switzerland
Uniformen verschaffen Respekt. Aber was ist mit den Menschen, welche die Uniformen herstellen? Schweizer Berufsbekleidung wird hauptsächlich im Ausland, u.a. Mazedonien hergestellt. Dort verdienen NäherInnen 70 Rappen pro Stunde – was gerade mal 20% der Haushaltsausgaben deckt. Das ist Ausbeutung!
Berufsbekleidung wird auch mit Ihren Steuergeldern finanziert. Fordern Sie deshalb gerecht hergestellte Schweizer Berufsbekleidung!
Playfair 2012 Campaign
The Olympic torch relay and the symbolism of the Olympic torch, respect, excellence and friendship, provide a fantastic opportunity for us to demand a Games that truly respects the human rights of all the workers who make it possible.
12. BOOKS, REPORTS, REVIEWS, SCIENCE
Jonas Kathage, Matin Qaim: PNAS 2012 : 1203647109v1-201203647
Despite widespread adoption of genetically modified crops in many countries, heated controversies about their advantages and disadvantages continue. Especially for developing countries, there are concerns that genetically modified crops fail to benefit smallholder farmers and contribute to social and economic hardship. Many economic studies contradict this view, but most of them look at short-term impacts only, so that uncertainty about longer-term effects prevails. We address this shortcoming by analyzing economic impacts and impact dynamics of Bt cotton in India. Building on unique panel data collected between 2002 and 2008, and controlling for nonrandom selection bias in technology adoption, we show that Bt has caused a 24% increase in cotton yield per acre through reduced pest damage and a 50% gain in cotton profit among smallholders. These benefits are stable; there are even indications that they have increased over time. We further show that Bt cotton adoption has raised consumption expenditures, a common measure of household living standard, by 18% during the 2006–2008 period. We conclude that Bt cotton has created large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India.
Please also also read the introduction to the newsletter.
13. WORKSHOPS ETC.
HOFHEIM / FRANKFURT, 04-06.08.2012
München, 04. – 06.09. 2012
HONG KONG, 04.-05.10.2012
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
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.
NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION Read the rest of this entry »
Dear readers, it’s relatively quiet on the news front. These are our highlights for the second half of May:
- In the „Regions“ section you can nicely see how, on the one hand, workers strike in demand for higher wages, particularly in Cambodia and Myanmar this month. Workers in Myanmar seem to earn even less than in Bangladesh ($11 a month), demanding threefold $38. And on the other hand, articles indicates that countries (China, Vietnam) lose investments, and that factory managers argue that they themselves should fix the wages …
- In this context, the new Worldbank stuy on women’s wages in Cambodia might be interesting for you.
- Again the German TV showed a quite shocking report on „ poisonous“ shoes. Hence, we decided to very soon issue a „good shoe guide“.
- New reports: Bank Sarasin is taking a very critical look at the luxury sector, arguing that sustainability is not taken very seriously by many luxury brands. And Solidaridad & FLA took a look at the Sumangali Scheme in Tamil Nadu.
- One article (or marketing coverage?) on Bt cotton shows how the Bt cotton yields grow in India and how much India’s government supports this. You might also look in newsletter no. 8 to view a more critical perspective by Mr. Sainath in The Hindu.
- … and professionals: don’t forget to get your tickets for the Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin.
Here you find the PDF of the newsletter.
And finally, Banksy left his critique of overseas child labour in London.
All text below is taken directly from the according articles. We highly recommend to follow the links to an article, if you take interest in an article.
Highlights from our Newsletter Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 8 (PDF version):
- A couple of days ago all eyes turned to Copenhagen, as the Fashion Summit converted the Danish Capital into the hub of the eco-fashion-world. Now the dust has settled, we give our readers a brief overview about the main issues of the conference. To connect the dots and see what the buzz is all about we asked the Berlin based author Maik Günther for an exclusive article about the Nordic Initiative, Clean, and Ethical (NICE). You’ll find his controversial insider-view below and on our blog.
- The London Olympics forshadow on the most diverse areas. Sad but true it comes as no revelation, that sportswear brands entering the public limelight belie their high promises regarding business ethics, sustainability and fair labour. So in the upcoming months each of us might not only talk about records in football stadiums and on Olympic grounds, but as well put the business models and their worldwide effects that sponser these events and keep the games going in mind of his environment. (Nevertheless we’re looking forward to celebrate all the sportive successes this summer might bring.)
- P. Sainath accused the Times of India of arbitrarily downplaying the negative effects of BT cotton. P. Sainath writes for The Hindu and he is an expert for rural development.
- Unsurprisingly Springer-paper „Die Welt“ and liberal weekly „Der Spiegel“ took up different positions on the personnel policy of German discounter Aldi. We show you both of their standpoints in our Brands section.
- Last but not least: A short & brilliant aricle on how ancient Greek philosophers could postively influence our modern business life by Jules Evans.
Enjoy the newsletter!
Please right-click on the links.
PS Please note that below you only find literal quotes from the articles. If you like an article, we recommend to follow the links behind the orange titles.
Highlights from our Newsletter Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 7:
- Harsh and interesting critique by Ulrich Thielemann on what he calls the „market logic“, which, he argues, dominates our thinking. Thielemann used to be the vice director of the business ethics institute in St. Gallen, and according to my information was dismissed one day – after criticizing Swiss tax policies in the German Bundestag. He argues that markets must be embedded into societal values, otherwise the stronger will win and suggests that only global politics can do this.
- The Independent ran a cover story criticizing labour expoitation for the Adidas British Olympic Team wear
- A new report by varous NGOs connects more than 40 brands with environmental pollution in China. There is also a new website of the „Zero Discharge Project“. And the former Guardian environmental correspondent in China provided some more insights into the situation in the country.
- The T&E farm and fibre report is out, which shows that there much less organic cotton was produced in 2011 than in 2010. At the same time, GOTS reports that the number of certified factories is growing.
- While sales of FT cotton internationally grew, it dropped in Germany. Maybe interesting in this context is a scientific review article on fair trade consumption.
- Walmart issued its new CSR report. Almost at the same time, the New York Times runs a facinating 21-page Grisham-like story on how Walmart Mexico managed its vast growth by systematically bribing. The person apparently responsible for the bribes was the new star at Walmart Int.
- Patagonia pimped up its Footprint Chronicles website, which looks like a model-case – and in May Yvon Chouinard publishes a new book „The responsible company“ – a must read!
- PPR announces a 5-years sustainability plan, while Kik introduced reduces its ladies jeans to 9,99 Euro.
- Finally, there are some really fascinating articles rethinking the future of sustainable fashion consumption.
If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com.
Look for the PDF here.
Netzwerk Faire Mode & Kern Kommunikation
IMPORTANT: We did not write any of the text below ourselves. ALL text below is directly quoted from the linked articles. We define all text below a direct quote and do not directly paraphrase. We encourage you to read the articles, if you find the quotes interesting, as the quotes do not show the context.
1. ECONOMY, POLITICS & SUSTAINABILITY
Tagesanzeiger, Ulrich Thielemann, 17.04.2012
Die Wirtschaftswissenschaften sind eine normative, eine ethische Theorie. Es ist eine Theorie der Rechtfertigung der Marktlogik. … Dass diese Fürsprache für die Marktlogik normativ und darin ethisch höchst fragwürdig ist, kommt den allermeisten Ökonomen gar nicht in den Sinn. Denn sie glauben, sie betrieben eine rein empirische, eine «positive», sprich «wertfreie» Wissenschaft. Damit entlasten sie sich von unangenehmen Fragen, die das ganze Lehrgebäude zum Einsturz bringen könnten. … Der Markt muss in gesellschaftliche Wertgesichtspunkte der Sinnhaftigkeit und Fairness eingebettet werden. Ansonsten gilt das Recht des Stärkeren, nämlich des Zahlungskräftigeren und Wettbewerbsfähigeren. Dies ist eine individuell handlungsbezogene Aufgabe und eine übergreifende politische Aufgabe.
Jo Confino for the Guardian Professional Network, 18.4.2012
Given that companies now have a clear sense of the catastrophic consequences if they fail to act on climate change, resource depletion and ecosystem degradation, why is it that they are doing so little to confront them. … why are companies not doing more to engage in the process of political change? Her answer to me was very simple. While companies that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels are highly effective in preventing change by being well funded and tightly organised, progressive businesses are shying away from political engagement, are not putting in the necessary resources and are not effectively collaborating.
In a joint letter to the Bangladesh Prime Minister, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, the retail organisations demanded a “comprehensive, impartial, and swift investigation” into the death. … “The apparent circumstances leading up to and surrounding Mr Islam’s death could be perceived to be part of a deliberate campaign to repress efforts to raise and address issues related to unsatisfactory working conditions.”
Daily Star Bangladesh, 10.4.2012
The family of Aminul Islam, a workers leader who was found dead in Tangail on Thursday morning, alleged the law enforcing agencies tortured him to death and dumped the body in a far away place so that it remained unidentified.
2. CSR IN GENERAL
Speches, presentations of the conference, April 2012
CR trends in 2012: Integrated reporting – Not clear as yet; John Ruggie’s work – genuinely workable framework for companies, governments and others on human rights as a management discipline; ISO 26,000, IFC Performance Standards, OECD Guidelines, Global Reporting Initiative etc; data on water & carbon.
Guardian SustainableBlog, Pamela Ravasio, 16.4.2012
Pamela Ravasio runs through the legal tools and voluntary compliance that fashion companies can use to prove their ethical credentials to cynical consumers: … what tools other than legislation, certifications and consumer labels does the fashion industry have?
Claes Cronstedt of Gaemo Group
The human rights lawyers who are fighting to make the conventions work are admirable. In countries where violations of human rights are widespread these lawyers are often the only independent force that fights for democracy and the rule of law. They are heroes, but without impact on the corporations. It is the business lawyers who have access to the corporate boardrooms and can influence, but human rights are seldom or never on their agenda.
3. WORKING CONDITIONS
CHINESE migrant workers say Shanghai is one of the places where they feel least happy, according to a survey by Beijing-based Tsinghua University. … There are some 4 million migrant workers in Shanghai – about 40 percent of the city’s total employed population. China has more than 240 million farm laborers who have left their hometowns to work in the cities. “A major reason that depresses the local migrant workers could be the financial pressure stemming from Shanghai’s high living cost. And they may also feel the lack of equality in job opportunities and the difficulty of being understood by the Shanghai local communities,” said Sang Biao, a psychology professor with East China Normal University in Shanghai.
Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and
India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), 25.4.2012
Despite corporate promises and a range of well-meaning initiatives, workers, mostly very young women, continue to suffer exploitative working conditions. Up until today, thousands of women in the garment and textile industry in Tamil Nadu work under recruitment and employment schemes that amount to bonded labour. These are the findings by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) presented in the report “Maid in India”, published today. … ‘Maid in India’ features case studies of Eastman Exports, KPR Mill, SSM India, and Bannari Amman, four large Tamil Nadu–based garment manufacturers that produce for Western brands. Click here for the full list of brands that feature in the report.
The Independent, 14.4.2012
The working conditions reported at factories making Team GB Olympics kit are truly appalling. … Workers tell of pitiful wages, unreasonable production targets, appalling hours and even outright abuse. The London 2012 Organising Committee – which supposedly requires its suppliers to adhere to higher standards – should be ashamed of itself. That being so, it is the responsibility of the IOC to ensure that the original spirit of the Games is not entirely crowded out by the forces of commercialism.
ILO, 12.2. 2012
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched a comprehensive new database providing open access to the latest information on ILO international labour standards as well as national labour and social security laws.
4. CHILDRENS’ RIGHTS
Government of Uzbekistan Continues to Silence Human Rights Defenders, Despite Release of Prominent Uzbek Human Rights Defender
According to Uznews.net, human rights activist Alisher Karamatov was released on 12 April after completing six years of a nine-year prison term. The torture suffered by Mr. Karamotov and nearly simultaneous detention of other Uzbek human rights defenders indicates the gravity of human rights abuses by the Government of Uzbekistan. The GOU silencing its citizens, whose voices flicker as a spark of democracy in a state of repression, ensures continued human rights abuses, including the state controlled forced labor and forced child labor in the cotton industry.
à also see: Human Rights Watch, “Uzbekistan: Activist Free but Crackdown Widening” for more coverage
Ecotextiles News, 24.4.2012
In response to the Greenpeace ‘Detox’ report on the pollution of Chinese rivers by the textile industry, adidas Group, C&A, H&M, Li Ning, Nike, Puma and newest member G-Star have released the first update of a joint roadmap towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in their supply chains by 2020. … Highlights so far include the publication of the stakeholder consultation as outlined in Ecotextile News magazine (February 2012 edition), the completion of a factory selection process for a benchmark study into the nine classes of hazardous chemicals the brands intend to outlaw from supply chains; and the employment of a project manager.
Public updates will be quarterly in 2012 and then annually from 2013 to 2020.
à Website Roadmap to Zero
Das Bundesumweltministerium hat nach einem Bericht der Wochenzeitung “Die Zeit” die Veröffentlichung eines kritischen Berichts des Umweltbundesamtes (UBA) zur EU-Klimaschutzpolitik gestoppt. Dem Blatt zufolge wies das Ministerium das UBA an, das zehnseitige Hintergrundpapier nicht zu veröffentlichen. Das bisherige Klimaschutzziel der EU sei ein “verheerendes Signal an die internationale Staatengemeinschaft”, das “die Glaubwürdigkeit der EU-Klimaschutzanstrengungen erheblich infrage” stelle, zitiert die “Zeit” aus dem UBA-Papier.
China Daily 18.4.2012
… A recent report called Clean up the Fashion Industry, published by five Chinese grassroots environmental organizations, which alleged that 46 Chinese and international clothing brands are being supplied by textile companies that violate the country’s environmental laws. The brands named in the report include a slew of internationally famous fashion houses such as Levi Strauss, Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, Guess and Zara, along with China’s 361 Degrees, Anta and Youngor. … the findings have prompted renewed concern about whether the high price it is paying, in terms of the environment and health, is worth it, especially now that China is the world’s second-largest economy and could provide more funding for environmental protection. … textile industry discharged 2.5 billion metric tons of sewage in 2010, making the sector the third-biggest water polluter among 39 industries. … A more worrying phenomenon, he said, is that as provinces tighten their supervision of the laws, some companies are simply moving their operations to regions where the regulations remain lax.
à see also: More brands accused of China textile pollution
Ecotextiles News, 11.4.2012
Marketplace, Interview by Kai Ryssdal, 17.4.2012
Chouinard: Yeah, I never thought I’d come to this at all. I do this because I’m very pessimistic about the fate of the planet. I think there’s another way of doing business that is less harmful. … Within a few years, a customer will be able to go into a department store and they can zap the barcode with their little electronic gizmo, whatever it is in a few years. And it’ll give a grade on how the labor practices were in making that pair of jeans, and all the environmental impacts, and there will be a grade. So the customer will be able to say, ‘Oh this is a two, this is a 10. I’m going to buy the 10.’
Deutsche Umwelthilfe, 11.4.2012
Aldi und Rewe täuschen Verbraucher mit vermeintlich nachhaltigen Einkaufstüten. Die als kompostierbar beworbenen Tragetaschen aus Bioplastik bestehen zu mehr als zwei Dritteln aus Erdöl und werden weder kompostiert noch recycelt klagt die Deutsche Umwelthilfe und fordert ein sofortiges Ende der Werbelüge und Umstellung auf umweltfreundlichere Alternativen. REWE wehrt sich gegen die Vorwürfe.
Future Shapers: TextileExchange 10th Anniversary pays tribute to TE members
To help us celebrate 10 years of Textile Exchange we have asked ten of our member companies to take us on their journey; to share their stories of support to people and planet through their procurement of organic cotton and their wider sustainability agendas.
à No. 1 Veja
6. COTTON and other fibres
Chair of TE Europe comments on TE’s new Farm & Fiber Report:
MOVING UP TO THE GOLD STANDARD OF ORGANIC
TextileExchange Blog, 22.4.2012
But that easier entry point must be just that – an entry point. The danger is that conventional producers come in to one of these programmes, get the ‘badge’ of sustainability, and then relax – meeting the entry requirements but no more. Most of the programmes counteract this by promoting ‘continuous improvement’ – a series of training and development processes that mean that farm techniques should get better as each year passes. The programmes are so new – only 1 or 2 harvests in some cases – that it’s difficult to gauge how well this is working, but the positive intention is certainly there.
TextileExchange Blog, 19.4.2012
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) defines organic agriculture as: “… a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. … social side of organic production. First, many of the requirements behind organic certification depend upon farmers achieving a degree of social cohesion (unlike a purely commodity-marketed product which doesn’t generally require farmers to work together to trade). It will come down to the values and practices of the producer group, and – most importantly – to their financial stability, as to how well the social principles of organic become part of the DNA …
A sharp decline in the production of organic cotton in India and the rise of ‘sustainable cotton’ is being blamed for a massive 35 per cent fall in the global production of organic cotton from 241,697 metric tonnes (mt) in 2010/11 to 151,079 mt this year. This decline, together with droughts last year in the USA, is also expected to lower organic cotton production by 5 per cent next year, according to a new report from Textile Exchange. … Ferrigno also said that the situation is not necessarily negative – as it represents a real opportunity for organic cotton to rebuild itself on more solid foundations based on the serious and committed long established producer groups in both India and around the world.
8. STANDARDS & CERTIFICATES
Ecotextiles News, 23.4.2012
Sales of Fairtrade certified cotton textiles in Germany dropped last year for the first time since 2008, which was in stark contrast to an overall 18 per cent rise in sales of Fairtrade certified consumer goods in the country. … in Germany fell by 11 per cent in 2011 compared to the previous year, according to the annual report of Transfair e.V. (Fairtrade Germany). Around 2.3 million Fairtrade cotton items were sold last year, worth around €16.3 million compared with 2.6 million Fairtrade cotton textile items in 2010.
à see also: Transfair Report
Nachhaltige Textilproduktion liegt voll im Trend – Zertifizierung nach OEKO-TEX® Standard 1000 auf bisherigem Höchststand
… OEKO-TEX® Standard 1000: Mit 57 gültigen Zertifikaten für textile Produktionsbetriebe aller Verarbeitungsstufen … höchsten Stand seit seiner Einführung im Jahre 1995.
Neue OEKO-TEX® Prüfkriterien endgültig in Kraft getreten – OEKO-TEX® Zertifikat als hilfreicher Baustein zur Erfüllung der REACh-Konformität
Nach Ablauf der dreimonatigen Übergangsfrist sind die von der OEKO-TEX® Gemeinschaft Anfang Januar veröffentlichten Kriterien und Grenzwerte für die textilen Schadstoffprüfungen nach OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 am 1. April nun für alle Zertifizierungsvorgänge endgültig in Kraft getreten. Die neuen Prüfanforderungen berücksichtigen wie gewohnt auch alle für die Textilproduktion relevanten Substanzen der ECHA-Kandidatenliste mit besonders besorgniserregenden Stoffen (SVHC), einschließlich der zuletzt am 19. Dezember 2011 ergänzten 20 Chemikalien.
à Die wichtigsten Neuregelungen des OEKO-TEX® Kriterienkatalogs 2012 hier.
Forward textiles technologies, 18.4.2012
Vier Jahre nach Gründung des Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) sind weltweit über 2.700 Betriebsstätten in 57 Ländern nach dem Standard für Biotextilien zertifiziert, die 14. Zertifizierungsorganisation hat sich für GOTS akkreditiert und das amerikanische Landwirtschaftsministerium hat den Standard als Warenauszeichnung für Naturtextilien anerkannt. … 450 Färbereien, über 220 Spinnereien, Strickereien und Webereien sowie rund 160 Druckereien und Nähereien.
9. CONSUMERS & MARKETING
Oliver Balch for the Guardian Professional Network, 24 .4.2012
High street retail used to be easy. The idea was to get punters through the door, sell them as much stuff as possible and then persuade them back for more. That basic model still stands. But now there’s a subtle difference. … The scheme is “working well commercially,” says Mike Barry, head of sustainable business at M&S. “Customers come back to shop with us for their next piece of clothing rather than going off to one of our competitors.” … Retailer recycling programmes aren’t without their problems, though. … Logically, however, the biggest boost for the environment would simply be for people to buy less. Such a scenario presents a fundamental challenge to consumption-led growth, so it’s little wonder few retailers have entertained the idea. Except for Patagonia, that is. … The counter-intuitive message has gone down a storm with the public. Common threads has gained more than 62m media impressions since its launch.
Guardian Professional Network, 20.4.2012
A leasing society model would give manufacturers an economic incentive to design sustainable products
decade we are put to a choice. Either we continue to rely on politically unstable but resource-abundant second- and third-world regimes and proceed to follow the dead-end road of a linear material-intensive economy, or we embrace a circular model where external costs are accounted for and acted upon, in order to get in pole position for a sustainable future. …… We propose an alternative model. One that incentivises manufacturers to maintain responsibility for their wares through the end of their useful lives, in order to gain access to mass amounts of materials they can use in place of virgin materials. A leasing society model … Companies thus will benefit from investing in ways to extend their products’ lifespans and be de-incentivised to launch — say — a new tablet computer every few months. Therefore a company could outpace its competitors primarily by developing a range of durable devices that could be exploited by receiving monthly fees during their whole leasing periods.
Guardian Professional Network, 20.2.2012
Consumers are rarely engaged in developing a company’s social mission, but there is opportunity if business gets it right. Letting consumers lead is something that the public sector is doing with increasing frequency and success. … If you really want to bring about positive change, you must involve your audience from the outset. By doing this, not only will you deliver social benefits, but create stronger customer relationships and more cost-effective services. … So why don’t businesses tend to involve their customers in defining and devising social missions? Is it because consumers don’t care or would prefer to be left alone? Not according to Asda’s Julian Walker-Palin. And even if we accept that some consumers’ intentions to do more to improve society don’t translate into action, there remains a significant proportion of people who will act if they are engaged in the right way. The Co-operative Bank, for example, routinely empowers its customers to lead its social agenda by letting them vote on which courses of action it pursues.
Der Standard, Thomas Herzig, 16.4.2012
Da sich die Politik wohl weiterhin bemühen wird, das Vertrauen der Märkte zu gewinnen, möchte ich einen Vorschlag zur demokratischen Mitbestimmung machen, die auch die Märkte stark beeinflusst: das Konsumverhalten. Wie können wir Konsumenten Großkonzerne und Investoren zu ethisch und gesellschaftlich verantwortlichem Handeln bewegen? … Statt einem Logo mit fröhlichem Schwein in der grünen Almenwiese, müsste in diesem Beispielfall dann ein realistisches Schwein aus einem Massenbetrieb, im engen Kastenstall und in den eigenen Exkrementen liegend, dargestellt werden.
Interview mit Uli Burchardt: Jahrgang 1971, ist im CDU-Wirtschaftsrat und bei Attac, war Förster und Manufactum-Manager und arbeitet als Managementberater. Sein Buch „Ausgegeizt! Wertvoll ist besser – Das Manufactum-Prinzip“ ist im Campus Verlag erschienen.
Guardian Professional Network, 3.4.2012
In the first of a three part series, Joe Arvai argues that understanding the way we make decisions can help nudge us into making sustainable choices. The purchasing decisions we make daily are increasingly influenced by concerns beyond cost. More so now than ever the environmental, ethical and social aspects impact our decision making. … how people think and feel about options is highly dependent upon how they are presented to them. On the other, the choices people make, and the preferences they express, are largely at the mercy of a broad array of mental shortcuts that are routinely applied during decision making. … The name of the game here is move from structuring a decision making process to structuring the environment in which decisions get made. This process, known as “choice architecture” or “nudging” allows people to make decisions at high speed — Kahneman’s thinking fast with its judgmental shortcuts and biases intact — but aligns positive, desirable outcomes with routine decision-making processes.
Ecotextile News, 26.4.2012
Marks & Spencer says it will create a new, more sustainable closed loop business model where its customers hand over old or unwanted garments whenever they buy a new one. The move comes in a bid to stop around 1 billion items of clothing and textiles going to landfill in the UK each year. The UK high street retailer is calling its new concept ‘Shwopping’, which Head of Sustainable Business Mike Barry says is a “way of making the consumption of clothes much more sustainable than it is today.”
“‘Shwopping’ will see us extend the great partnership we have developed with Oxfam to encourage the donation of used clothing in their shops so that our customers can also donate used clothing any day of the year in our 342 UK clothing stores,” he said. “All the clothing we collect will still go to Oxfam for re-sale, reuse or recycling to raise money for their vital work around the world to tackle poverty.”
The Hindu, 26.4.2012
India’s $14-billion apparel export sector and the Textiles Ministry have begun an initiative to help manufacturers focus on good work practices and prevention of child and trafficked/forced labour. This is part of their efforts to improve India’s image as an ‘ethical sourcing destination’.
Chinadialogue, Jonathan Watts, 17.4.2012
Guardian environment reporter Jonathan Watts has spent nine years in China covering everything from pollution protests to species extinction. About to leave for pastures new, he shares some parting thoughts. “The carbon-fuelled, capital-driven model of economic growth, which started in my country 200-odd years ago, has spread across the planet and is now, I believe, reaching its apex here in China.” … I have learned: Environmental stress is often exported … Poor environmental management can be lethal … The collapse of an ecosystem can lead to the collapse of an economy … Environmental disruption can lead to social disruption … The Chinese government has tended to focus on top-down, engineered supply-side solutions to environmental problems … The transition to a low-carbon economy in China is far from assured. Action often comes too late …
Retail giants Puma, Gap and H&M have urged Cambodia to fully probe the recent shooting and wounding of protesting garment workers as the sole suspect, a local governor, remained at large Monday. … The international buyers voiced “deep concern” over the February 20 incident in which a gunman opened fire at a rally by thousands of workers demanding better working conditions at factories in eastern Svay Rieng province.
Myanmar’s garment industry is set for revival, including creation of new jobs, as the European Union has announced lifting of the sanctions that it imposed on Myanmar since late 1990s, owing to recent political reforms carried out in Myanmar.
11. NGO CAMPAIGNS
Playfair Campaign 2012
A recent investigation by The Independent reveals workers at nine Indonesian factories contracted to produce Olympic shoes and clothing for Adidas are working up to 65-hour weeks and earning as little as 34p an hour.
Playfair Campaign 2012
Following some months of collecting cards and petitions from supporters around the country, Playfair campaign representatives held an awareness raising action in Covent Garden last Wednesday (4th April). Over 6000 signed postcards and petitions were delivered to adidas, Nike and Speedo shops in the vicinity calling on brands to: pay workers a living wage, take a positive approach to trade union rights, and ensure workers have job security.
12. BRANDS / COMPANIES
Guardian Sustainable Business Blog, 27.4.2012
The five year plan, which covers all the company’s brands, ranging from Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen to Balenciaga and Stella McCartney, includes reductions of CO2, waste and water, the sourcing of raw materials and hazardous chemicals and materials. At the time, PPR made it clear that current accounting systems are responsible for degrading the planet’s eco-systems and irresponsibly depleting natural resources and needed to go through fundamental change.
Made-by Blog, 20.4.2012
Alert to the potential of maximising awareness around global water shortages, leading clothes company Levi’s collaborated with water.org by launching “Go Water<Less,” a campaign designed to challenge the public to reduce water consumption and adopt a Water<Less lifestyle. The collaboration is proving to be effective, as it is helping consumers learn more about the small steps they can take each day to use less and give more. … Sporting giant Nike‘s partnership with DyeCoo, a Netherlands-based company, could bring about a huge positive environmental impact, thanks to DyeCoo’s waterless textile dyeing technology.
Patagonia Blog, Lisa Polley, 25.4.2012
… I’d been learning about the cost of our products ever since Footprint’s inception. After the first iteration was published, the main critique from Patagonia’s upper management was to worry less about polishing what we were publishing, and to keep pushing the boundaries of transparency. At the time it was hard to understand, hard to take, but when I look back from the vantage of today, I applaud the vision and courage and wisdom that kept us going. … It is hard to fully explain the feelings that overwhelmed me at the moment I realized a factory was actually somewhere, and not somewhere else. But what I now know is this. It is ultimately my decision as to what I buy, how much I buy and where I purchase my clothes. It is me, as part of a collective we, that is dictating how business takes place on this globe.
der Textildiscounter die passenden Standardartikel für die ganze Familie zu noch günstigeren Preisen an. So sind z.B. unsere Herren Bluejeans aus 100% Baumwolle sowie die Damenjeans von 10,99 EUR auf 9,99 EUR im Preis gesenkt worden … “Um unseren Kunden für Ihre Treue zu danken, haben wir unser Preislagenkonzept noch einmal überarbeitet und unsere Arbeitsprozesse optimiert. Deshalb können wir allen KiK- Kunden eine gleichbleibend gute Qualität bei geringen Preisen zusagen und wir werden weiter hart arbeiten, um trotz steigender Energie- und Produktionskosten die Preise günstig zu gestalten”, so Bernhard Payer, Geschäftsführer von Kik Österreich
Fashion United, 17.4.2012
Das Sportlifestyle-Unternehmen Puma hat Recyclingbehälter in seinen Stores und Outlets in Deutschland aufgestellt. Kunden können ab sofort ausgediente Schuhe, Textilien und Accessoires aller Hersteller dort abgeben…. 50 Prozent der Kollektionen sollen bis 2015 aus nachhaltigeren Materialien gefertigt werden.
Berliner Zeitung, Interview mit Helena Helmersson, H&M, 21.4.2012
Unabhängigen Berechnungen zufolge erhält ein Arbeiter von einem für fünf Euro verkauften T-Shirt gerade mal 0,13 Cent. Würden Sie zustimmen, dass da die Relation nicht stimmt? Diese Berechnungen möchte ich nicht kommentieren. Aber ich versichere Ihnen, dass das Thema Löhne bei Zulieferern seit Jahren ganz oben auf meiner Agenda steht und dass es eines der komplexesten in der gesamten Lieferkette ist. … Außerdem versuchen wir in Niedriglohn-Ländern, die Arbeiter dazu zu ermutigen, für gerechte Bezahlung einzutreten, sich zu organisieren. So, wie wir es in Europa tun, wenn wir uns ungerecht behandelt fühlen. … Sie gehen davon aus, dass die Arbeiter höhere Löhne erhalten, wenn wir mehr für Aufträge zahlen. Daran glauben wir nicht, nach den Gesprächen, die wir geführt haben. … Ein Lieferant hat mehrere Einkäufer. Unabhängig von den späteren Verkaufspreisen lassen alle Marken bei den gleichen Firmen produzieren. Die Arbeiterin erhält also immer den gleichen Lohn, egal, für welchen Anbieter sie die Kleidung herstellt.
By The Stories Team, 18.4.2012
… Now, we are taking our quest for greater sustainability in fashion one step further by opening the UK’s first Sustainable Fashion Lab in the heart of East London, at the Old Truman Brewery. As well as Oxfam, we’re working with London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion to bring together an exciting array of designers, stylists and thought-leaders who will be exploring and debating the future of a more sustainable fashion industry. The project will give M&S customers a behind-the-scenes look into the world of 21st Century fashion and offer the opportunity to witness the stars of environmentally friendly fashion at work. Eco-conscious visitors will even be able to try their hand at designing and creating their own items through expert-led master classes.
The M&S Sustainable Fashion Lab, in partnership with Oxfam and LCF’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the Old Truman Brewery, London, is open between 10am – 5pm every day (except Mondays) from 26 April – 9 May 2012.
New York Times, 22.4.2012
Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, an examination by The New York Times found.
Walmart on way to achieve its green goals
April 17, 2012 (United States of America)
Walmart released its fifth annual Global Responsibility Report (GRR) entitled “Beyond 50 Years: Building a Sustainable Future,” highlighting Walmart’s global top 10 list of achievements to reduce its impact on the environment, improve efficiency in its supply chain and stores and address social issues.
Financial Times Deutschland, 10.4.2012
Exklusiv Das Angebot der Outdoorhersteller übersteigt deutlich die Nachfrage. Im FTD-Gespräch warnt der Globetrotter-Geschäftsführer vor einem bevorstehenden Händler- und Markensterben. von Gregor Kessler und Henning Hinze Hamburg
13. CSR REPORTS
Walmart: 2012 Global Responsibility Report
14. BOOKS, REPORTS & PROJECTS
Project: Profit through Ethics
It is no longer justifiable for business to exploit people or offload costs onto society and the environment in order to maximise profit.
Further, it is no longer necessary. By sharing details of the ethical dilemmas they face, as well as their success stories, businesses can engage with stakeholders, gain public trust and chart a course that balances the pursuit of profit with the health, wealth and happiness of everyone else.
The ultimate aim of the Profit Through Ethics project is to create: (A) a platform for businesses to demonstrate an unequivocal commitment to transparency, accountability and public dialogue on all important responsibility issues; and (B) an identification mark enabling people to identify and support those using it.
Over the coming months, project participants will help determine the key characteristics of the new platform and the criteria for listing on it.
Report: 2011 Farm & Fiber Report
The 2011 Farm & Fiber Report covers the significant decline in organic cotton fiber production, the reasons behind it, and the need for industry action. For the first time, we’ve also covered other sustainable cotton initiatives including Better Cotton Initiative (BCI, Fairtrade, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), and customized cleaner cotton programs with notes from ICAC and Cotton Inc.). The full report is 131 pages and provides in depth case studies and with the Executive Summary coming in at 27 pages. Organic cotton production declined 35 percent from 241,697 metric tonnes (mt) in 2010/11 to 151,079 mt this year. It covers 218,966 farmers growing on 324,577 hectares. … As always, the Textile Exchange Farm and Fiber Report is available as a free benefit of membership. Members can access this and other benefits here . Non-members are encouraged to learn more about membership by visiting http://textileexchange.org/membership or by contacting Daren Abney, Member Services Manager. The Farm and Fiber Report as well as the Executive Summary of the report are available to non-members for purchase by clicking on the respective titles. Please also see the accompanying Cotton Briefings 2012.
As the Chinese economy continues to develop, new issues have arisen around the relationship between employers and young employees in the manufacturing sector. To understand these issues, the China National Textile and Apparel Council and the Center for Child-Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility came together in July 2011 to examine the plight of young migrant workers in six different factories. The initiative was carried out with support of the Swedish Embassy, and ultimately offered advice for employers to improve management strategies by enhancing communication with young workers. Earlier this year, they released a study based on this initiative, which indicated that young migrant workers face problems in the factory and in private life. Some of the problems in the factory included:
Book: The Responsible Company
Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley
Publisher: Patagonia Inc. (2012) Binding: Paperback, 150 pages
Book: Overdressed. The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
Elizabeth L. Cline
Hardcover $25.95 add to cart. ISBN 9781591844617, 256 pages, 14 Jun 2012, Portfolio, 5.31 x 8.50in
Book: Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change
Kate Fletcher & Lynda Grose
Paperback, 150 illustrations, 192 pages, 240 x 170 mm, ISBN 978 1 85669 754 5, £19.95, Published March 2012
Michael J. Hiscox et al. April 12, 2011
Surveys indicate that a majority of consumers would prefer to buy products made in workplaces with fair labor standards rather than alternatives and would be willing to pay a higher price for such products. There is no clear evidence, however, that many people would actually behave in this fashion when shopping. We provide new evidence on consumer behavior from experiments conducted on eBay. We find that labels with information about certified fair labor standards in factories making polo shirts had a substantial positive effect on bidding. On average, shoppers paid a 45% premium for ethically labeled versus unlabeled shirts.
Andorfer, V.A., Liebe, U.
2012 Journal of Business Ethics, 106 (4) pp. 415-435.
Annunziata, A., Ianuario, S., Pascale, P.
2011 Journal of Food Products Marketing, 17 (5) pp. 518-535.
Surya Deva, City University of Hong Kong, European Company Law, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 101-109, 2012
In June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs) drafted by Professor John Ruggie, the former UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations. The GPs are based on the ‘protect, respect and remedy’ framework proposed by Ruggie in 2008. In addition to offering a contextual analysis of he GPs and the Framework, this article critically examines the implications flowing from these for companies. In particular, it highlights the steps that companies are expected to take in order to fulfil their ‘responsibility to respect’ human rights and the challenges that they are likely to experience in doing so. It is argued that although GPs do not offer any robust or ready-made solutions to the current situation of corporate impunity for human rights violations, they offer some guidance to companies – especially those with good intentions – on how to conduct responsible business.
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