BRANDS AND RETAILERS

Brands signing up to the 2018 Bangladesh Accord 07 Feb – 14 Feb: Brands signing up this week to the 2018 Accord include: Tesco, Juritex, Horizonte, Mainpol, Klaus Herding, ID Rexholm, Suprema Strick, New Frontier, Sandryds, Schmidt Group, Transmarina, Olymp Bezner, El Corte Inglés, Takko Fashion, Fipo Group, N Brown, Peak Performance, Matalan, John Lewis, Julius Huepeden, Rawe Moden, Artsana (Chicco and Prénatal), Fruit of the Loom, Chicco USA, Hanson Im- und Export, Uncle Sam, New Look, Cherokee Global Brands, Mango, and PWT Brands (Lindbergh, Shine Original, Jacks Sportswear Intl., JUNK de LUXE, Bison, Morgan and Huzar) (14 Feb). [Ed’s note: list gleaned from the Bangladesh AccordTwitter feed. Total number of signatories as of FSWIR Week 6 (07 Feb) was 70. Total number of signatories as of publication of FSWIR this week is 101. Full list of signatories here.]

Reima pilots reusable packaging for deliveries: Finnish children’s wear retailer Reima has published results from a pilot conducted in November, which saw the company ship 800 deliveries in Sweden via RePack packaging (returnable and reusable). 20 per cent of customers participated in a follow up survey, with 99 per cent saying they “want to get rid of disposable packaging for good” (13 Feb).

I:CO and Adler partner on apparel and footwear recycling: I:CO, which recycles clothes and footwear, has partnered with German retailer Adler. Adler will accept clothing in-store in Germany, Austria and Luxembourg for recycling (13 Feb – in German).

Mothercare and Hubbub expand baby clothing redistribution scheme nationwide: “A pilot between environmental charity Hubbub and Mothercare to redistribute baby clothing is being expanded nationwide, after more than 20,000 items of clothing were allocated to around 2,000 families last year [… to] redistributing 65,000 items to 6,500 UK families as part of a nationwide expansion of the Gift a Bundle campaign” (12 Feb).

“Walmart’s $3.88 sustainable t-shirt is ******* – here’s why”: “If you haven’t spent time in a dye or print house you would never know this trick -the water used for dying and washing doesn’t get used just once. It gets recycled and used over, and over, and over, until it is too polluted and chemical ridden to use anymore. By saying the shirts use 30% recycled water the makers of this video are in actuality not really saying anything” (12 Feb).

Could sustainability be brought into apparel industry and could we bring it back to America? Tom Chappell, 75, sold Tom’s of Maine to Colgate in 2006 for $100 million, but instead of taking it easy started a new company called Ramblers Way. ““I came to understanding that it’s the partnering of the marketing people with large-scale finance that were lowering the cost of the clothing, cheapening the material, and paying low wages, to sell it. That motivation can have serious implications. I watched the process unravel over a whole decade and it ruined an industry.” Instead of being turned off, Chappell, the optimist, was inspired to reverse the trend: “Could sustainability be brought into apparel industry and could we bring it back to America?” he asks” (12 Feb).

Slow Factory’s Celine Semaan on bringing sustainability to New York Fashion Week: “Celine Semaan, the CEO and designer at the sustainable fashion and accessories brand Slow Factory, realizes that running her own fashion brand is, in and of itself, an unsustainable exercise. “Not eating, not dressing, doing nothing – those are all the most sustainable options,” said Semaan. “Our job is to give people better options”” (11 Feb).

Primark repositions itself as an ethical retailer – but will shoppers buy it? “The retail titan is likely hoping to attract new customers who may previously have been deterred from shopping with Primark due to skepticism regarding the business’s ethical credentials” (09 Feb). [Ed’s note: see story below on Primark’s release last week of its supplier list and map.]

Timberland is helping rebuild Haiti’s cotton industry: “Can using blockchain to verify cotton as organic help revive the industry in Haiti? … The blockchain project is led by the nonprofit Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and isn’t the first that Timberland has been involved with on the island” (09 Feb).

HanesBrands invests in eco-friendly textile finishing business: “HanesBrands … has invested in Baldwin’s Precision Application Systems, with a textile finishing technology that allows for accurate and controlled placement and therefore, reduced use of end-of-line chemicals and water” (09 Feb).

C&A extends clothes recycling: “C&A is expanding its clothing collection program to Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. … With the slogan "We Take It Back", the Dutch recycling program will also receive new impetus” (09 Feb – in Dutch). [Ed’s note: See more here: since 2012 “C&A Netherlands collected 278,000 kg of clothing in collaboration with I:CO ensuring these items will be reused or recycled.]

C&A Foundation pauses Myanmar grant-making: “As part of our commitment to fundamental rights, equality and diversity, C&A Foundation has decided that we cannot continue our philanthropic work in Myanmar in the current climate [of ongoing persecution and human rights violations by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya people]” (08 Feb).

Wolverine to clean up tannery waste: “Wolverine says it will commit $40 million over the next several years to dealing with the toxic tap water crisis in northern Kent County [including] providing bottled water and whole-house filtration systems for affected homes. … Wolverine tannery waste dumped decades ago has been blamed for PFAS contamination in hundreds of residential wells in [the county]” (08 Feb).

H&M’s new Conscious Collection will use recycled shoreline plastic: “[H&M] is incorporating a revolutionary new sustainable material into the mix: BIONIC, a recycled polyester derived from plastic shoreline waste” (097 Feb).

Patagonia steps up environmental activism with 'dating site' for grassroots projects: “Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard [has] launched Patagonia Action Works, which Chouinard describes as a “dating site” that connects individuals with opportunities to support and get involved with grassroots environmental groups. It matches people with events and volunteering opportunities in their area as well as petitions they can sign and ways to donate money. Participating organizations cover issues of land, water, climate, communities and biodiversity” (07 Feb).

Primark publishes global supplier list as it embraces transparency: “Primark has finally published a list of all the suppliers the company sources its clothes from. On Wednesday [last week], the retail giant released the names and addresses of over 1,000 factories in 31 countries, along with the number of employees working in each factory and the gender distribution among employees” (07 Feb). [Ed’s note: Thomson Reuters Foundation ran with the headline “No hiding place for slaves as Primark maps its suppliers,” noting “Primark had previously withheld the factory breakdown, saying it gave the high-street chain a commercial edge” (08 Feb). The news was positively received on social media channels by groups active in labour issues in the fashion industry and without. You can see the Primark press release on the matter here. You can see Primark’s Global Sourcing Map here.]

Fashion brands join Circle Economy: Circle Economy, a social enterprise accelerating the transition to circularity, has announced new members: Dagny, The Next Closet, Orta Anadolu, Recover, Worn Again Technologies, and VF (Timberland and The North Face) (06 Feb).

How ads against consumerism help sustainability: “WRI’s research shows that more companies must move in the direction of REI and Patagonia—they must explore business models that meet consumer demand with lower product volumes. Otherwise, we will not be able to meet the needs of our growing population within planetary boundaries” (06 Feb). [Ed’s note: the article is by WRI’s Global Director of the Business Center, who cite’s REI and Patagonia as exemplars of anti-consumer marketing.]

Unbelts is creating a better way to do ‘Made in China’: “Canadian belt manufacturer Unbelts is looking to prove that the fashion industry and consumers have a responsibility and an existing means to provide high-quality clothing-production jobs around the world” (05 Feb).

REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

OECD strengthens China garment partnership: “The China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) has partnered with the OECD, underlined by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets out the mutual commitment to intensify co-operation and promote responsible business practices in global textile and apparel supply chains” (13 Feb – subscription required to read full article).

Nice threads: the waste-based fibres cleaning up fashion: “New textiles, made from discarded orange peel, milk or algae, are reducing the environmental impact of the world’s second-most polluting industry” (12 Feb). [Ed’s note: a report from The Guardian, which mentions Orange Fibre, used by Salvatore Ferragamo, and German company QMilk, which makes firbre from waste cow milk.]

Future prosperity of Bangladesh unlocked as Fashionology Summit 2018 leads the way: “The third session was made up of [Muchaneta Kapfunde], Amanda Cosco of Electric Runway and Eva van der Brugge and Pim Kneepkens from Fashion For Good. Our session centred around the merger of fashion with technology and sustainable innovation” (12 Feb).

New wool report seeks LCA revisions: “A study has been published regarding the ways in which Life Cycle Assessments evaluate different textile fibres, with a particular emphasis on wool. One of the more significant recommendations is the call to include the use phase in LCA criteria, rather than just the manufacturing process” (12 Feb – subscription required to read full report).

Global recycle yarn market projections 2018: A new report – Global Recycle Yarn Market Research Report – assess the progress performance of the recycle yarn industry. “The report estimates forthcoming recycle yarn opportunities between the period 2018-2022. Likewise, the Recycle Yarn market study provides a competitive overview of demand drivers” (11 Feb).

Call for proposals in transparency in Brazil: “The Brazilian office of C&A Foundation, Instituto C&A, is launching a new call for proposals to find innovative initiatives to use information and data to bring about systematic changes in working conditions in the fashion industry in Brazil” (09 Feb).

Report on living wage in the apparel industry to be debated in EU Parliament: The Lawyers Circle (part of Annie Lennox’s The Circle) has tweeted The Circle’s report on living wage in the apparel industry will be debated in the EU Parliament later this month. A summary and the full report – Fashion Focus: The Fundamental Right to a Living Wage – published in May 2017, are available here (09 Feb).

Shop less, mend more: The Guardian’s tips on sustainable fashion choices: i) buy clothes made locally by ethical labels; ii) avoid fabrics made using petroleum and chemicals; iii) extend your wardrobe’s lifespan by mending; and iv) reduce your consumption by hitting the op shops (09 Feb).

Apply now for the Circular Fashion Games: “Participate in this exclusive experience. This one program consists of two bootcamps, the first in February and the second in March. Live, eat and sleep in the creative ecosystems of Eindhoven and Amsterdam. Work in multidisciplinary teams and co-create new circular innovations for the fashion sector. This program is designed to give you and your teammates the tools to reshape the fashion industry from within” (09 Feb). [Ed’s note: sponsored by  C&A Foundation and Veerle Luiting.]

Mehta awarded Cotton Incorporated Grant: “A 2018 Cotton Incorporated Curriculum Program Grant has been awarded to Dr. Sunidhi Mehta, assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology.  The grant will support research aimed at providing in-depth information about cotton as a sustainable and green textile material to fashion merchandising students at UMES” (09 Feb).

NGOs call for legally binding global chemicals ‘protocol’: “Five European NGOs have called for a legally binding protocol on hazardous chemicals to be considered during discussions on a post-2020 global chemicals framework … The signatories are: the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation; Arnika of the Czech Republic; the European Environmental Citizens Organisation (Ecos); the European Environmental Bureau (EEB); and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)” (08 Feb).

7 key trends all sustainability execs should watch: [Ed’s note: the key trends are derived from a new report by Forum for the Future.] “4. Action on plastics pollution … One issue which took [the report autho] by surprise in 2017 was the rise to prominence of plastic waste and pollution in the public consciousness … 5. Retail and consumerism shifts” (08 Feb).

Oritain secures Supima cotton deal: “Oritain Global has announced a deal with Supima, the cotton association which represents more than 500 American Pima cotton growers, to offer members the use of its cotton verification technology” … unless managed properly, the ease with which goods can be purchased and delivered could encourage even more consumptive, unsustainable resource use. (08 Feb – subscription required to read full article).

Predictions for sourcing in 2018 and beyond: “If there’s one phrase that’s going to define sourcing in 2018, according to Sourcing Journal president Edward Hertzman, it’s: “back office is the new black.”” (08 Feb).

Can there be fair rules for the ‘purchasing practices’ game? [Ed’s note: this blog post by ETI’s Martin Buttle presents some statistics related to the way companies purchase in the fashion industry.] “I want to draw attention to three key points that buyers need to address urgently: Unwritten contracts are usually more difficult to enforce and may lead to serious consequences, including financial losses, performance issues and also lack of job security for workers (yet in Bangladesh, for example, 38% of suppliers said they had unwritten contracts); Only 17% of suppliers considered their orders to have enough lead time; the majority reported that more than 30 to 50% of their orders had insufficient lead times …; Price is one of the most important criteria for buyers, who, according to many suppliers impose extreme pressure on suppliers’ price quotes. Significantly, 39% of suppliers reported having accepted orders where the price did not allow them to cover their production costs. In the apparel and textiles sector (my area of expertise) this outcome is reported by 52% of suppliers” (08 Feb).

Canopy releases fourth anniversary report: “CanopyStyle is the fastest moving environmental initiative in the fashion industry. Over 125 global brands and designers, worth 134 billion USD in revenues, have pledged to end the use of ancient and endangered forests in the fabric of their stylish creations. More brands are poised to join throughout 2018” (08 Feb).

Pure Origin reveals sustainability speakers: “Pure Origin, a new sourcing and manufacturing show has announced the line-up for a topical programme of education, industry intelligence and insights into the future of sustainable fashion. … including WGSN, Coloro, ASBCI, Sedex, Textile Forum, and IHKIB” (08 Feb – subscription required to read full article).

AAFA joins forces with WRAP on corporate social responsibility priorities: “[T]he American Apparel & Footwear Association [has] signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) during AAFA’s Social Responsibility Committee meeting in Long Beach, CA. The collaborative venture will leverage the organizations’ expertise in corporate social responsibility (CSR) for the apparel and footwear industry with a focus on labor and working hours” (07 Feb).

Tons of textile waste unearthed in Chinese village: “Vast quantities of buried textile waste have been unearthed in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, in a case that exposes official struggles to control illegal dumping” (07 Feb).

Understanding sustainability means talking about colonialism: “I speak frequently about sustainability in fashion, whether at conferences or in an educational context, and I often hear the same question: “It seems that to have a sustainable ‘lifestyle’ — air quotes around the word lifestyle — one has to be rich. If you can’t afford $600 sweaters, how can you be sustainable?”” (07 Feb).

Is digital textile printing a sustainable solution? “Despite the growing focus on organics and “natural” fibers like cotton, fashion could find a sustainable solution in digital textile printing. The highlights around digital printing leave little room for debate: its water consumption is 90 percent lower and electricity usage 30 percent lower than traditional textile dyeing production methods” (07 Feb).

PETA brings anti-fur protest to Winter Olympics: “Animal rights activist Ashley Fruno braved bone-numbing temperatures in Pyeongchang, host of this month’s Winter Games, to call for an end to the fur trade on Tuesday and said she wanted to send a message that fur has no place at the Olympics” (06 Feb).

The power of collective investor action to safeguard workers in global supply chains: [Ed’s note: this article is by David Schilling of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.] “The next three years will be critical for finishing the complex and comprehensive work to make Bangladesh apparel factories safe for workers, to encourage ownership by local stakeholders and to build government’s oversight capacity.  As investors we encourage all companies sourcing in Bangladesh’s garment sector to build on the unprecedented progress made by the Accord since 2013. We urge all these companies to see through their commitment to remediating worker safety issues and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sector” (06 Feb).

BYT rebrands to The R Collective and partners with Redress for the Design Award 2018: “Sustainable designer collection BYT has rebranded itself as The R Collective as it announces its partnership with NGO Redress for the Redress Design Award 2018” (05 Feb).

ETI video: Better industrial relations in Bangladesh: “Workers, supervisors, trade unionists, managers, owners and international brands talk about ETI’s social dialogue project, which builds better industrial relations in the Bangladesh readymade garment sector” (05 Feb).

Petition to ban the sale of animal fur in the UK nears 100,000 signature target: The petition states: “Fur farming was banned in England and Wales in 2000, followed by Scotland in 2002. However fur products can still be legally imported from other countries and sold here in the UK. Much of this fur comes from countries that have very weak or no animal welfare laws at all” (05 Feb). [Ed’s note: the organisers’ objective is to reach 100,000 signatures by 23 March. At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament. As of 09 Feb, signature’s numbered 61,252.]

Plastic-free – are we missing the bigger picture? “If we are to take the plastic-free debate seriously, we must also look at our wardrobes” (04 Feb).

Why microfibres are the new microbeads: “MPs are finally waking up to the issue. After the UK government recently banned microbeads, microfibres are next on the list. Dr. Lisa Cameron MP, chair of the recently formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Textiles and Fashion, told Vogue: “The Blue Planet effect is sweeping across Westminster and it’s time for the fashion industry to take a grip of this movement”” (30 Jan). 

20 must read books on ethical and sustainable fashion in 2018: “20 highly recommended books from acknowledged authors such as Safia Minney, founder and CEO of Fair Trade and People Tree, and Kate Fletcher and Sandy Black, professors from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion” (24 Jan).

MANUFACTURERS

Cork fabric attracts fashion brands: “Portuguese textile manufacturer Tintex noted significant interest from international fashion brands for the first time at the recent ISPO show in Munich, with its recently launched B.Cork water-based laminated fabrics said to have been popular with buyers” (12 Feb – subscription required to read full article).

Company develops impregnation for textiles to replace c8 fluorocarbon technologies: “Nano-Care, a mid-sized company based in Saarwellingen [Germany] will offer a coating system for water and oil repellency that aims to revolutionize textile finishing. “Removal of ‘C8 fluorocarbon technology’, which will be banned due to its emissions of PFOS and PFOA, leaves a significant performance gap in the market,” says Oliver Sonntag, Nano-Care Director. “The great challenge for us has been to retain existing high standards of oil repellency - whilst eliminating long-chain fluorination. We have solved this problem by creating a special silicon dioxide backbone” (07 Feb).

Tonello moves towards transparency and sustainability: Sustainable finishing according to Tonello: In order to reduce the amount of water used during processing garments, Tonello has developed of increasingly efficient and clean production processes: i) Laser Blaze (no water or chemicals), ii) NoStone (no stones for stonewashed), iii) ECOfree 2 (reduces manual labour, water and additives), iv) Ecospray Robot (safer for workers), and others (06 Feb).

Botto Guiseppe expands from C2C certified superfine wool to linen and silk: Italian fabric producer “Botto Giuseppe’s Naturalis Fibre range expands from its certified non-mulsed Slowool, a … superfine wool awarded silver status certification from Cradle to Cradle [to] Ecoflax … a certified organic linen and Slowsilk, a pesticide-free farmed silk” (06 Feb).

Coyuchi introduces new green technology: “Organic cotton bedding pioneer Coyuchi is taking sustainability efforts in home textiles to the next level. … “This represents a whole different approach to where chemicals come from that are used on textiles, both for home and apparel,” Eileen Mockus, president and CEO [said]. “And what I like about working with this new type of finishing application is that it takes us beyond what is available in GOTS certified. It’s an example of Coyuchi’s commitment to continue working toward improvement around the chemicals and dyes we will use” (06 Feb).

Filmar continues to be at forefront of sustainable cotton production: Cotton yarn producer Filmar “continue[s] to be at the forefront of truly sustainable cotton production [with]cotton and manually-combed cashmere … certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) [along with an] eco-friendly hand-picked mercerized cotton range” (06 Feb).

American footwear distributors and retailers look to Ethiopia for sourcing: “With shifts in global footwear sourcing over the past decade, leading U.S. footwear companies have invested heavily in Sub-Saharan Africa. Though China still remains the top supplier of shoes to the U.S. market, its overall market share fell from nearly 90 percent annually in 2000 to a 17-year low of 72 percent in 2016. FDRA estimates that China’s share will be approximately 64 percent in 2021 … Led by Ethiopia, the few thousand pairs of shoes that Sub-Saharan Africa supplied the U.S. market in 2000, prior to the enactment of AGOA, grew to an annual rate of more than 2.5 million pairs of shoes by 2017” (06 Feb).

Aquafil to buy Invista’s nylon 6 business: “Aquafil has signed an agreement with Invista, one of the world’s largest integrated producers of chemical intermediates, polymers and fibres, to acquire certain tangible and intangible assets related to Invista’s nylon 6 business activity in Asia Pacific” (05 Feb).

Texworld USA reveals new fabric trends among exhibitors: “Sustainability and ethical sourcing were also major topics at the show. “People want to know the backstory of what they’re wearing and where it’s coming from,” Bacon observed. Responding to this interest, Texworld USA featured almost 20 sustainable exhibitors and presented a half-dozen seminar sessions on sustainability and related topics including supply-chain transparency, the circular economy and the environmental impact of microplastics” (01 Feb).

Stretching nylon’s sustainable potential: “Genomatica and Aquafil have announced a collaboration aimed at developing a ‘commercially-advantageous’ bioprocess to make caprolactam, using plant-based renewable ingredients in place of the crude oil-derived materials historically used in the nylon industry” (01 Feb).

Green Theme International receives stringent eco passport certification by Oeko-Tex for PFC-free water-repellency: “After five years of research and testing, [Green Theme International] has developed an entirely new technology, which eliminates water usage and harmful chemical discharges from traditional DWR (Durable Water Repellency) finishing processes. GTI’s long-awaited technology completely eliminates harmful PFC’s and outperforms existing C6, C8 and PFC-free DWR’s” (06 Jan).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh Alliance factories completing upgrades 07 Feb to 14 Feb: Familytex (BD) Ltd., Clifton Cotton Mills Ltd., Campvalley Global Ltd. Unit 1, Norp Knit Industries Ltd., Universal Jeans Ltd., Dird Garments Ltd., HKD International (CEPZ) Ltd, Salim & Brothers Ltd., BSA Apparels Ltd., BSA Fashion Ltd., Global Trousers Ltd., and Mallick Fabrics (14 Feb). [Ed’s note: this list is gleaned from the Bangladesh Alliance Twitter feed.]

Cambodian garment factory workers demand release of jailed union leaders: “The president of the Workers Friendship Union Federation and more than 200 workers at the Cosmo Textile Factory [have] demanded that Kandal Provincial Court release four union leaders recently arrested […] over destruction of property allegations following a complaint from the factory” (14 Feb). [Ed’s note: see the Better Factories Cambodia assessment of Cosmo Textile here.]

Accord cuts ties with 37 more apparel factories: “[The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety] has cut business relations with 37 more Bangladeshi readymade garment factories due to refusal and failure of the factory authorities at implementing workplace safety measures in the units suggested by the buyers’ platform” (11 Feb). [Ed’s note: full list of factories at headline link.]

Fire in Indian garment factory kills one person: “A 35-year-old man was asphyxiated after a fire broke out at a garments factory in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area early morning [10 Feb]. A call about the fire at the jeans factory on Tank Road was received at 4.50 am. Five fire tenders were rushed and it was brought under control at 5.10 am, said a Delhi Fire Services official” (10 Feb). [Ed’s note: the Karol Bagh area is about 25 km from the Bawana Industrial Area in New Delhi, where a fire in a firecracker storage unit claimed the lives of 17 workers last month. See the related story below on anti-theft measures putting workers’ lives at risk in the Bawana area.]

Bangladesh’s garment industry boom leaving workers behind: “Although Bangladesh has made remarkable recent strides like building green factories and meeting stringent safety standards, garment workers here are still paid one of the lowest minimum wages in the world. While the fashion industry thrives in the West, the workers who form the backbone of the 28-billion-dollar annual garment industry in Bangladesh struggle to survive on wages barely above the poverty line” (10 Feb).

South Korean firm leaves 2,000 workers out of pocket for Tet: “Nearly two thousand workers at a South Korean company in the southern province of Dong Nai have gone on strike to ask for salaries while the company's leaders had left the country. The workers said that they have gathered at the KL Texwell Vina Co. Ltd’s headquarters at Bau Xeo Industrial Zone in Trang Bom District since the evening of February 8” (10 Feb). [Ed’s note: see also, Workers in Đồng Nai receive delayed salary: “Authorities in the southern province of Đồng Nai on February 11 used their own budget to pay the salary and Lunar New Year (Tết) bonus for two thousand workers of a company whose managers have fled the country” (12 Feb).]

How short-term contracts are putting Cambodia’s pregnant factory workers in a precarious position: “Currently, after two years, employees are supposed to be switched to “unfixed duration contracts”, which would grant them more protections. In practice, however, workers are often employed on a series of short-term contracts that stretch out for years. Sometimes their contracts are allowed to lapse by employers, who then rehire them months later, forcing them to start the process over again” (09 Feb). [Ed’s note: factories mentioned in the story are Sun Well Shoes and King Way Enterprises, both for allegedly targeting pregnant women.]

Lao factory owners say proposed wage hike will shutter businesses: “Owners of garment factories and other businesses in Laos are rejecting a proposal to raise the minimum wage by as much as one-third, saying the increase in expenses would force them to shut down operations, despite reports of workers seeking opportunities elsewhere due to low pay and high living costs” (09 Feb).

Cambodian garment workers protest over unpaid wages: “Nearly 1,000 workers from three factories in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district [Thursday last week] protested after learning that their employer has fled without paying their January wages. The three factories, Yu Fa Garment Industry, Yu Da Garment Industry and S.R.E Garment Company, are owned by a single Chinese businessman who has disappeared” (09 Feb). [Ed’s note: a follow up report - Ministry meets with protesting garment workers following factory closures (12 Feb) – notes the factories in question are Taiwanese-owned. The government was tight lipped about whether it is in contact with the absconding business man or will seek to recover workers’ wages.]

Suicide at Indian spinning mill sparks child labour investigation: Thomson Reuters Foundation reports “[t]he suicide of a 14-year-old girl at a textile mill in southern India after a 16-hour shift is under investigation as a trade union and human rights campaigners voice concerns about poor conditions in the industry and the use of child labour” (08 Feb).

Workers protest sudden closure and wage arrears owed by garment factory in China: Workers owed between 15,000 to 40,000 RMB (US$2,382 to $6,352) have protested over the sudden closure of a garment factory in Dezhou, Shandong (08 Feb). [Ed’s note: See more here on Sina Weibo, in Chinese.]

Defaulter textile millers in Bangladesh to be blacklisted: “[T]extile millers who took bank loans through illegal means and defaulted on repayment will be blacklisted, the trade body that represents the millers said yesterday. (07 Feb). [Ed’s note: the company named in the article is the AnonTex Group, which is at the centre of calls to be investigated over the size of loans it has received.]

Over 100 Vietnamese workers hospitalised with food poisoning: “Over 105 workers from Vietnam Jin Chang Shoes Company Limited in the southern province of Bình Dương were hospitalised with food poisoning after having lunch on Tuesday [last week]” (07 Feb).

Fire at Bangladesh RMG factory: The United News of Bangladesh has reported a fire at Greenland Garments in Gazipur on 06 February. No casualties were reported (07 Feb).

Labour rights, safety issues in Bangladesh: “The introduction of a new checklist for factory inspection has caused some technical complexities like preparing status reports on labour rights and safety issues in the industries, especially garment sector, officials said. As a result, the release of data by state-run Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) remained suspended since the checklist was introduced on January 01 last year, they added” (07 Feb).

Cambodian PM says no need for labour courts, proposes solution to mass faintings: “Prime Minister Hun Sen [last week] said there is in fact no need to set up labour courts to solve workplace disputes – despite the Labour Law stipulating their creation – and expressed hope that existing mechanisms, including the government, unions and employers could act in their place. ... Hun Sen also addressed longstanding cases of mass fainting at factories and instances of it at schools, saying provisions of unspecified pills, which he also referred to as “candy”, could solve this problem” (07 Feb).

Minimum wage law talks conclude in Cambodia: “A group in Cambodia, comprising employers, unions and the government, recently finished discussing the draft minimum wage law. The talks were the last among three public workshops to discuss the draft law” (06 Feb).

Pakistani industrialists oppose Rs25,000-per-month minimum wage: “Leading industrial associations of Sindh have said that the provincial government will damage the interests of industries if it increases minimum wage to Rs25,000 [US$226] per month” (06 Feb).

‘Strict anti-theft measures putting life of workers at stake’: “Most of the factories in Bawana have a single entry and exit gate, which means that in case of an emergency workers are left only left with the option to jump from the terrace, said a Delhi Fire Service official, on the request of anonymity” (05 Feb). [Ed’s note: the Bawana Industrial Area in New Delhi is home to a number of garment and associated manufacturing facilities. Last month, a fire in a firecracker storage unit in Bawana industrial area had claimed the lives of 17 workers. A story on 12 Feb – 8K Bawana factories without MCD permits – notes: “Over 8,000 factory units in northwest Delhi’s Bawana Industrial Area, housing 15,500 plots, do not have licences of establishment, which are issued by the civic body, revealed a data compiled by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, following a massive fire killing 17 workers in a firecracker factory on January 20”.]

Call in Myanmar for increase in minimum wage for garment sector: “U Tin Htun Naing, Pyithu Hluttaw MP for Sanchaung township, said the government should reconsider the minimum wage in the garment sector as there are more than 400 garment factories” (01 Feb). [Ed’s note: the Pyithu Hluttaw is the lower house of Myanmar’s bicameral legislature.]

(Photo NeuPaddyCCO)

Disclaimer: The Fashion Sustainability Week in Review (FSWIR) is a weekly roundup of sustainability news items relevant to the fashion, apparel, textile and related industries. The views and opinions expressed in the FSWIR by individual authors and/or media outlets cited do not necessarily reflect the position of GoBlu or any individual associated with the company.

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