Brands and retailers

Syrian refugee children in Turkish supply chain: On Monday evening, the BBC Panorama program (Panorama – Undercover: The Refugees Who Make Our Clothes), aired an investigative report showing children working the Turkish factories supplying Marks & Spencer, ASOS, Zara and Mango. There have been numerous reports on the allegations, but the headline link is a good starter (24 Oct 16).

New report exposes workers’ rights abuses behind fashion giant Uniqlo’s ‘ethical’ claims: Workers’ rights abuses are rampant in Chinese garment factories making clothes for fashion retailer Uniqlo, according to a new report published last week by War on Want. “The report, This Way to Dystopia: Exposing UNIQLO’s Abuse of Chinese Garment Workers (opens as PDF) exposes the hypocrisy of Uniqlo’s commitment to ‘corporate social responsibility’ and ‘making the world a better place’” (20 Oct 16). Interestingly, only a few days before the report’s release, a story was published with a headline taken from a saying by the Uniqlo CEO: ‘Without a soul, a company is nothing’ (17 Oct 16).

Report praising companies on human rights criticised as a whitewash: A September report from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) concluded companies play an important role in promoting human rights, but those conclusions were criticised last week as naïve by human rights organizations. War on Want, for example, said the report was a “tool to whitewash the exploitative nature of many private sector industries, from the extractive companies through to fashion and electronics brands” (21 Oct 16).

Lindex takes new sustainable step by closing the loop with denim: Lindex has launch a series of new ‘Even Better Denim’ styles containing post-consumer recycled cotton, another step that takes Lindex closer to more sustainable denim and closing the loop (20 Oct 16).

CR Magazine announces 2016 responsible CEO of year award winners: CR Magazine has announced the winners of the ninth annual Responsible CEO of the Year Awards. These awards are presented to CEOs that visibly exceed standards in the areas of employee relations, environmental impact and sustainability, human rights, philanthropy, and corporate responsibility practices. Two winners this year come from the fashion, apparel and textile industry: Manny Chirico, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PVH Corp (for a Lifetime Achievement Award), and Richard Noll, Chairman and CEO, HanesBrands (20 Oct 16).

Reebok’s robots: First it was Adidas, then Sewbo, and now Reebok’s Liquid Factory, a ground-breaking manufacturing innovation that could fundamentally change the process and speed of footwear creation (20 Oct 16). As William Gibson said, “The future is already here – it's just not very evenly distributed.”

Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator hosts “Oscars of Sustainable Fashion”:  In November, the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF + DA) will host the 2nd Annual Positive Impact Awards. The event is supported by Patagonia and Eileen Fisher, Bolt Threads and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) (19 Oct 16).

Just Approved handbags and leather: Project Just (which provides information to consumers to make ethical and sustainable buying choices) has approved three new brands: O My Bag, Elvis & Kresse, and Tanner Bates (20 Oct).

Reports, Guidelines and Standards

UK human rights group releases survey on Syrian refugees in Turkish garment supply chains: UK human rights watchdog Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has released a report based on a survey of 38 high street fashion brands. The report – What’s changed for Syrian refugees in Turkish garment supply chains? – can be found here (PDF).

“Style that’s sustainable: A new fast-fashion formula”: New research by McKinsey says that unless we change the way we produce and sell clothes, the strain on the environment and the people who make clothes will be enormous as millions of consumers come online in developing countries (Oct 16).

New China laws cut environmental violations: Ecotextile News reports that a Chinese academic has concluded “stricter, better enforced anti-pollution laws are reducing environmental violations in China and forcing most country's most polluting sectors – of which textiles is one – to get their act together” (19 Oct 16 – subscription required to read full report).

Ryerson fashion panel says buying local expensive for businesses: At a Ryerson University panel on the fashion business, designers and entrepreneurs said it’s hard for new businesses to choose between using garments produced cheaply abroad and locally-produced ones that are expensive, but more ethical. (21 Oct 16).

Sustainable Fashion

Uniform: Founded by Chid Liberty, a Liberian-American entrepreneur who started Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified apparel manufacturer, Liberty & JusticeUniform uses ethical production practices and donates a school uniform to children in Africa with every purchase. On top of that, each piece in their collection goes for less than $100 (21 Oct 16).

MIMCO: Luxury brand MIMCO continues their collaboration with the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) with a handbag collection inspired by the Big Bang. First established in 2014, the collaboration between MIMCO and EFI has helped women in marginalised communities in Kenya overcome poverty (21 Oct 16).


Taiwanese textile company says chemical spill by compatriot won’t have negative impact: Taiwan’s leading textile company Far Eastern New Century “hopes to capitalize on the country’s cheap labour”, saying its operations won't be affected negatively by fellow Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, which caused an ecological disaster in August (and for which it was fined $500 million) when it released an untold quantity of toxic waste into the ocean (19 Oct 16).

The Supply Chain

Will new wage in Vietnam hinder competitiveness? Just-Style reports that although Vietnamese workers are set to see the lowest wage increase in a decade (7.3 per cent), manufacturers are saying it is too much (19 Oct 16).

Cambodian Government to extend labour compliance program: The Cambodian government and Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) will extend the 15-year-old labour compliance program to 2019, with industry experts saying it was time for the government to increase its own monitoring of the sector (19 Oct 16).

Women in Pakistan decry pending policy regarding home-based workers: Hundreds of women have demanded the Sindh government approve the Home Based Women Worker Federation’s policy that has been pending for three years, and which would provide a minimum level of protection (26 Oct 16).


(Image, NASA, CCO)