BRANDS AND RETAILERS

Brands signing up to the 2018 Bangladesh Accord 21 Feb – 28 Feb: Brands signing up this week to the 2018 Accord include: Mothercare, River Island (28 Feb). [Ed’s note: list gleaned from the Bangladesh AccordTwitter feed. Full list of signatories here.]

British high street retailers named in ‘Dirty Fashion’ report: “British High Street retailers Next, Asda and Tesco are among the companies that continue to source their viscose from dirty and dangerous factories, according to Changing Markets Foundation, a group that exposes irresponsible corporate practices” (27 Feb). [Ed’s note: see also, Fabric used in cheap ‘fast fashion’ loved by shoppers in Britain is at the centre of a pollution scandal (28 Feb). The full report, Dirty Fashion Revisited: Spotlight on a polluting viscose giant, which focuses on the world’s largest viscose producer, Aditya Birla Group, can be found here. The report has been released to coincide with the Changing Markets Foundation’s Roadmap towards responsible viscose & modal fibre manufacturing, which can be found here.]

C&A commits to source more sustainable cotton by 2020: “Joining the Prince of Wales global ‘Sustainable Cotton Communique’, C&A has pledged to source more sustainable cotton by 2020” (27 Feb).

Camden market is ditching fur: “Camden Market – one of London’s most iconic attractions – has announced a ban on sales of fur, which will come into effect on Thursday” (27 Feb).

Why is it so hard for clothing manufacturers to pay a living wage?H&M promised to make sure the people who make the company’s clothes can live on their pay, but the benchmarks have shifted” (27 Feb). [Ed’s note: a long and thoughtful article from Racked magazine.]

Levi’s to stop using potassium permanganate for finishing jeans: [Ed’s note: a long article from Quartz magazine on Levi’s shift to laser technology to replace potassium permanganate, a formerly essential but undesirable chemical in the jeans manufacturing process.] “Levi’s is introducing its new innovation at its major factory partners across the world, says Liz O’Neill, the company’s chief supply chain officer. “This is not just something we’re experimenting with and certain programs are going to be made this way,” she says. “We’re fully rolling this out”” (27 Feb). [Ed’s note: the looming question around automation is how it will impact worker; e.g., see the Financial Times headline for this story; Levi Strauss to replace workers with lasers: “Jeans maker hopes to replace almost all its finishers globally by 2020” (27 Feb).]

Workers find refuge in Vaude upcycling project: “Vaude has launched an upcycling workshop in association with the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU) in an effort to minimise material wastage and offer skilled work to refugees” (26 Feb – subscription required to read full article).

‘Made in China’ fashion goes green: “A study on 2018 consumer trends in China suggests 58 percent of correspondents were willing to pay a premium for goods made taking social and environmental concerns seriously … It’s a shift sustainable fashion company Neemic has witnessed from the frontlines. Established in Hong Kong in 2011, the firm moved to Beijing a year later, convinced that its goal “of helping sprout an organic clothing movement in China” needed it to be “where decisions were made”” (26 Feb).

Fair Trade bridal line expands to meet ethical consumer demand: “Bridal line Celia Grace is expanding in the hopes of driving market awareness for the growing consumer demand for Fair Trade and ethical bridal gowns. All dresses are Fair Trade certified and use eco-friendly processes” (26 Feb).

Olderbrother issues mushroom-dyed cozywear: “Recent collections [from Portland brand Olderbrother] featured dyes from flowers and coffee, while the new array centers around colors sourced from richly-hued reishi and chaga mushrooms” (24 Feb).

The need for a sustainable global supply chain: “High street giant Marks & Spencer is leading the charge against abuses in the global supply chain with a long-term commitment to sustainability … Along with adidas and Reebok, M&S came in the top three of Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index 2017. However, the sector has a long way to go on disclosure, explains Carry Somers, founder of Fashion Revolution” (23 Feb). [Ed’s note: this article is part of a special report called Supply Chain Strategies by Raconteur.]

Fast Company’s ‘Most Innovative’ list recognises four fashion-related companies for sustainability: In its ‘Top 50’ were Patagonia (#6 – “for growing its business every time it amplifies its social mission”) and Everlane (#40 – “for building the next-gen clothing brand”; but also #4 in the Retail sector). By sector:  Social Good (#1 – Patagonia, “for inspiring innovation via environmental activism”); Retail (#6 – Reformation, “for embracing ethical fashion and opening its Los Angeles manufacturing facility to guided tours; and #7 – Bolt Threads, “for spinning lab-grown sustainable fabric”) (22 Feb).

Statement from CCC on the refusal of Uniqlo to pay what is owed: “Clean Clothes Campaign issues the following statement in response to the refusal of Uniqlo to pay what is owed to workers who made their clothes in Indonesia: The workers formerly employed at Jaba Garmindo are owed at least $5.5 million in unpaid compensation after spending years making clothes for a number of international buyers, including Uniqlo” (22 Feb). [Ed’s note: in related news, a Uniqlo sponsored event at Tate Modern last week celebrating women in the arts attracted the attention of War on Want, which used the wall of the gallery to flash protest messages including “Uniqlo pay garment workers what they are owed” and  “Tadashi Yanai pay the workers who have made you rich.” See images here.]

Welsh fashion brand scoops green business award: “Welsh slow and sustainable fashion company, Maykher was named Ethical Business of the year at the Wales Federation of Small Business (FSB) Awards [last] week” (22 Feb).

Asos hosts modern slavery event in Mauritius: “Asos … teamed up with the British High Commission in Mauritius to host an event about the challenges of modern slavery” (22 Feb). [Ed’s note: the event was held on 22 Feb.]

H&M plans for ‘climate positive’ supply chain by 2030: “H&M … which has manufacturing, processing and fabric and yarn factories in China, is working towards a goal to become “climate positive” through its entire value chain by 2040. The retailer envisions a climate neutral supply chain for its first- and second-tier suppliers by 2030, with 100% of its suppliers enrolled in a energy efficiency program by 2025” (22 Feb). [Ed’s note: the article is about EP100, The Climate Group’s corporate leadership initiative on energy productivity, and H&M is one example cited.]

100 days until current Accord ends, labour signatories urge brands to sign onto 2018 Accord: “With 100 days until the current Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety expires [as of 22 Feb], garment companies are urged to continue their involvement to create a safe and sustainable garment industry in Bangladesh and to sign its successor, the 2018 Transition Accord” (22 Feb). [Ed’s note: as of 22 Feb, 109 companies have signed the 2018 Accord.]

H&M and C&A investigate China prison labour report: “C&A’s chief sustainability officer Jeffrey Hogue said … “We have a zero tolerance policy for any form of modern slavery including forced, bonded or prison labour. If we detect a case, we immediately terminate our relationship with the supplier,” Hogue said in an emailed statement. … An H&M spokeswoman said … “It is completely unacceptable placing manufacturing into prisons and it seriously violates the regulatory framework that our suppliers must follow,” the H&M spokeswoman said” (21 Feb).

From sustainability to circularity, fashion has new weapons in its going-green arsenal: “Amid growing consumer awareness of the apparel and textile industry’s environmental impact, startups are moving the needle from “talk” to “tools” with the goal of scaling sustainable best practices in fashion” (21 Feb). [Ed’s note: the article mentions H&M Foundation (Global Change Award), Eileen Fisher, Gap, Guess, Levi Strauss, Nike and VF (Science Based Targets), Target (SAC’s Higg Index), VF and Orta Anadolu (Circle Economy, with support from C&A Foundation).]

How Kowtow’s founder built an ethical seed-to-garment business with less than $10k: “Gosia Piatek [Kowtow founder] never saw a lack of funding as an excuse to skimp on social or environmental responsibility” (20 Feb).

REI, Nordstrom make Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list: REI (#43) and Nordstrom (#88) (20 Feb).

G-Star Raw completely transforms the denim production process: “Only a few years ago, Dutch denim-maker G-Star Raw was drawing ire from Greenpeace. Activists pasted posters on store windows in seven countries, urging the brand to sign up for its Detox campaign…” (19 Feb). [Ed’s note: see also G-Star RAW and Pharrell Williams launches its most sustainable jeans ever (20 Feb).]

London Fashion Week debuted Fashion for Conservation’s AW18 Campaign: “Fashion for Conservation debuted their newest campaign to protect rainforests as a catwalk featuring designers’ René Garza and Kalikas Armour visually stunning interpretation of rainforests and VIP cocktail party” (18 Feb).

Ralph Lauren used Oregon wool for Olympic uniforms: “[Ralph Lauren] wanted a wool raised in America and that met the Responsible Wool Standard certification, which meant standard industry practices for the treatment of animals and the land they graze on” (16 Feb).

Outerknown settles into sustainability: “When John Moore started a new gig at Outerknown, he didn’t think he was going to have to rethink all of his assumptions about design” (15 Feb).

REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

Vogue Australia’s March issue titled ‘Designing the Future’: “Now is the time for thoughtful fashion” says guest editor Emma Watson (Mar 18). [Ed’s note: the brands Emma Watson wears in the fashion shoot accompanying her editorship were researched by Australian ethical fashion app Good On You. See here.]

“Value clothes again”: “[Germans] buy an average of 60 new pieces [of clothing] per year. But fast and cheap fashion consumption has serious economic consequences. Kirsten Brodde, textile expert at the environmental organization Greenpeace, explains what you can change” (28 Feb – in German).

Roadmap towards responsible viscose & modal fibre manufacturing: From Changing Markets Foundation, the “roadmap outlines key principles and guidelines for cleaning up the manufacturing of viscose and modal, and was developed to provide guidance to brands and retailers” (27 Feb).

Measuring Fashion report tells the story of the industry’s environmental performance: “The first in-depth, science-based study investigating the environmental impacts of the apparel and footwear sector reveals the industries’ hotspots and identifies levers of change to guide companies committed to making effective shifts to reduce their impacts …  the report, Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study, [says] apparel and footwear industries account for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions” (27 Feb). [Ed’s note: you see the full report here.]

The Sustainable Angle works with designers to source sustainable fabrics for London Fashion Week: “The Sustainable Angle collaborated with seven London designers this season, to inspire and support their fabric sourcing through The Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo” (27 Feb). [Ed’s note: designers included Edeline Lee, Emilia Wickstead, Felder + Felder, Galvan, Georgie Macintyre x Arizona Muse, Roland Mouret, and Temperley London using fabrics from Lenzing and certified by GOTS. See also here.]

Planet Textiles 2018 event format revealed: “The annual event on textile sustainability decamps to Canada this year and will feature three breakout sessions on finance, deforestation and water as well as a key focus on the growing issue of textile microfibre pollution” (26 Feb).

Research eyes nanomaterial health risks: “25 research institutions from 12 European countries have completed a study into the risks that nanomaterials used in the textile industry could pose to human health. The Sustainable Nanotechnologies Project (SUN) has been given 13 million Euros from the European Commission to investigate preventative measures and possible risks for nanomaterials’ effect on human health and the environment” (26 Feb – subscription required to read full article).

Why ‘green’ consumerism isn’t taking off: “If sustainability is so “in,” why aren’t more people buying ethically made clothes? … More than 20 years of polling has shown that a large majority of Americans say that they would gladly buy a sustainable or ethical product, but less than 10 percent of them actually do” (26 Feb). [Ed’s note: the short answer is good deals help to override our ethics.]

New California bill would require label with polyester pollution warning: “A bill recently introduced in the California State Assembly would require all clothing made from fabric that is more than 50 percent polyester to bear a conspicuous label warning that the garment sheds plastic microfibers when machine washed, so instead the label would recommend hand washing” (26 Feb).

Fast fashion linked to microfibre pollution: “[A recently published report on microplastic pollution from textiles] suggests increasing our use of natural fibres such as cotton and wool could help the problem – a recommendation which is at odds with last year’s Global Fashion Agenda Pulse of the Industry report which promoted the use of man made fibres such as polyester” (25 Feb). [Ed’s note: a copy of the full report – Microplastic pollution from textiles: A literature review – can be found here.]

Treasuring our clothing needs to be more fashionable than throwing it away: “Durability and a “buy less, buy better” ethos should be new benchmarks of quality and brand credibility. … The traditional model of recycling clothing is broken and corporate monopolisation is a key cause of lack of sustainability in fashion” (23 Feb). [Ed’s note: the author of this piece is Tom Cridland who runs a sustainable brand of the same name.]

Millions of Chinese kids are parenting themselves: [Ed’s note: this is a 14:33 minute video focussing on the life of a 14-year-old girl in one of China’s poorest regions who looks after her two younger siblings while her parents work in a factory thousands of miles away. There are an estimated 9 million children in similar circumstances.] (23 Feb).

AAFA releases updated restricted substances list: “The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) released the 19th edition of its Restricted Substance List (RSL), an open-industry resource that includes additions and changes to the laws and regulations that ban certain chemicals in finished apparel, footwear and home textile goods worldwide” (23 Feb). [Ed’s note: you can download the RSL here. Speaking of chemicals and RSLs, the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management (AFIRM) Group has developed and translated Chemical Information Documents into Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese, which should prove useful. See here for links to all languages, including English.]

What is the biggest misconception about sustainable fashion? “In France, one misconception is that most of the people think that you can’t do sustainable fashion if the production is in Asia, which is completely wrong” (22 Feb). [Ed’s note: from an interview with Claire Dartigues, a finalist in the Redress Design Award 2017.]

Two labour activists from Myanmar raise awareness in the Netherlands about factory conditions: Thurein Aung, a labour law activist from Action Labour Rights (ALR) and Myo Myo Aye from STUM (an as yet unregistered trade union) have been in the Netherlands to “make politicians and businesses aware of the working conditions in the Burmese clothing industry, in the hope that governments will take action … Half of the garment factories in Burma are in the hands of Japanese, South Koreans, Chinese and Taiwanese. They lease or buy land and can build any factory they want. The problem is that nobody takes responsibility for the conditions” (22 Feb – in Dutch).

When ‘Made in Italy’ means ‘Made by Chinese’: “Prato, a symbol of Italian textile splendour, is today the largest Chinese garment workshop in Europe …  (21 Feb – in Italian). [Ed’s note: the article notes the link between the Chinese mafia, human trafficking networks and trucking goods – counterfeit and otherwise – into and out of Prato.]

Britain’s hidden homeless slaves: “The short, stooped man known as Kredens worked from dawn till dusk – laying bricks, plumbing, plastering; even sewing furs” (21 Feb). [Ed’s note: a lengthy Buzzfeed investigation.]

‘Garment Worker Diaries’ highlights the plight of factory workers: ““Much of the fashion industry is opaque, exploitative and environmentally damaging, and desperately needs a revolutionary change,” argues Fashion Revolution, which has teamed up with Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) and the C&A Foundation to carry out the research project Garment Worker Diaries” (21 Feb).

‘Bunnies’ crash Milan Fashion Week to protest fur and angora: “Wearing giant rabbit masks and not much else, a trio of PETA supporters [protested] the use of rabbits for clothing, holding signs proclaiming, “Rabbit Skin Is Not Yours” and “Rabbits Suffer for Fur and Angora.” The demonstration was a joint action between PETA and Italian animal rights group La LORO Voce – Iene Vegane. (21 Feb).

The stories behind the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange: Last week saw the “Queen’s State Rooms … lined with more than 30 sustainably produced, handcrafted ball gowns, representing the cultures, identities, and creative skills of 52 countries, from the large – Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Britain – to the tiniest of islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean” (21 Feb).

Oeko-Tex releases webinar on consumer preferences of parents and millennials: Oeko-Tex has released a webinar called “The Key to Confidence: Consumers and Textile Sustainability – Changing Mindsets, Changing Behaviors and Changing Outlooks.” One of the key findings is: “Millennials are more aware of the textile industry’s environmental and social shortcomings than older respondents.” It also notes parenthood “tends to intensify worries about all things. Parents of young children in particular voice concerns about harmful substances in a wide variety of products, but especially in home textiles and apparel. Parents’ product safety qualms outpace the concerns of nonparents” (21 Feb). [Ed’s note: you can listen to the webinar (1:18:14 hours) here.]

Model Arizona Muse on her new eco-friendly fashion project: ““The whole industry has to take a leap in the right direction. This is why we’ve done this project, to show designers that it can be done. It’s so easy, but it’s a decision you need to make,” she said. “The hard part is where to start. It could start with the designers, it could start with the production team, it could start with the consumer. But we all need to start together”” (20 Feb).

New platform sets out to map cellulosic supply chain: “With traceability top of mind for supply chains, Control Union Certifications has developed its Connected platform to map supply chains all the way back to raw materials” (20 Feb). [Ed’s note: Control Union notes, “Several fibre suppliers, including Lenzing Group, Aditya Birla and ENKA International GmbH & Co. KG have joined the platform.”]

Seven fabrics ranked on eco-friendliness: The ranking is: hemp, linen, cotton, bamboo, leather, polyester, and acrylic (20 Feb).

Laser-finishing: a new process for designing recyclability in synthetic textiles: [Ed’s note: this is a PhD thesis submitted to the University of the Arts London by Kate Goldsworthy in 2012, but made available online only recently.] “[The] main aim of this project was to find new tools and finishing techniques for designing recyclable, aesthetic ‘surfaces’ within the context of a ‘closed cycle polyester economy’ (Livingston, 2003). This can be explained as a mechanism of industrial ecology where all waste can be reused in a perpetual material metabolism or system” (19 Feb).

Report outlines airborne textile microfibre problem: “A newly published scientific review claims that breathing in both synthetic and natural ‘fibrous microplastics’ derived from textiles could be having a significant detrimental impact on human health” (19 Feb – subscription required to read full article).

What happens to deadstock? “Ever wondered where do the rest of the summer tops go when the season is over? What about all the warm winter knits when spring arrives? What happens to the so-called deadstock?” (15 Feb).

MANUFACTURERS

Sustainability a focus at Paris fabric fairs: “Sustainability and technology remained the headline topics at the recent editions of the Première Vision Paris, Texworld Paris and sister trade shows Apparel Sourcing and Avantex” (26 Feb – free subscription required to read full article). [Ed’s note: manufacturers with sustainable fabrics and options noted in the article include Lenzing, Rajby Industries, Marchi & Fildi, Recyc Leather, Village Embassy, Etiteks, Village Industry and Modern Star Enterprises.]

Pioneering handmade silk garment in Ethiopia: “Handmade textiles inspired by ancient weaving traditions of the nation, Sabahar Silk Garment Factory, makes an effort to create better manual accessories and linens for the home using locally sourced silk and cotton” (24 Feb).

Dormeuil receives Italian ethical fashion award: “[French fabric producer] Dormeuil was one of the brands that received the "303 TUSCANS" award for ethical fashion from TOC Fashion Academy Tuscany. It is awarded to manufacturers of fabrics made from natural materials, following the principles of Ethical fashion and having transparent supply chain” (23 Feb).

Sympatex, Ricosta jointly move towards sustainability: “Sympatex Technologies is moving towards sustainability with its long-standing customer Ricosta. The ecological alternative amongst functional textile specialists provides the company with completely recycled Symptex lining material for children’s shoes” (23 Feb).

Cooling fabrics are becoming really cool: “Founded in 2014, brrr is an Atlanta-based startup cooling-fabric company whose chemical-free technology is embedded into garments at the nanotech level. Cofounder and Chief Executive Mary-Cathryn Kolb said brrr’s technology is superior because it doesn’t involve chemicals” (22 Feb).

How organic wool from Patagonia is creating sustainable luxury: [Ed’s note: the article focuses heavily on Organica, a new arm of French manufacturer Chargeurs, and sourcing Patagonian wool with strict traceability.] “Increasingly savvy luxury consumers understand the environmental cost of producing and disposing of synthetic materials, but they are also often aware of some of the downsides of wool production, including animal cruelty, worker exploitation and pollution” (22 Feb).

Interview with Asta Skocir, Co-Founder of AlgiKnit: “AligiKnit, the New York based biomaterials research group is on a mission to rescue the planet from the enormously harmful effects of the fashion industry. They have developed a compostable yarn from kelp, which can be knit into zero-waste, fully-fashioned garments or transformed into a textile for applications in footwear” (22 Feb). [Ed’s note: see another story on the company also published during the week: This new material made from seaweed may be what you're wearing next season (23 Feb).]

Seamless knitting points to eco-footwear of the future: “Seamless knitting machine manufacturer Santoni has unveiled a new footwear upper, knitted on its new X Machine, as part of an exclusive fashion collection from eco-designer Tiziano Guardini” (21 Feb).

ZDHC Recognizes GreenScreen Certified: “Clean Production Action and the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme announced GreenScreen Certified as the newest accepted certification standard for ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL) Conformance” (21 Feb).

In the future will we all be wearing lab-grown leather and mushroom skin? “Leather substitutes are now being grown in the lab, instead of on the back of an animal. Fashion is entering a brave new world says Sass Brown” (21 Feb). [Ed’s note: article mentions Officina Corpuscoli, Bolt Threads, and Modern Meadow.]

It looks, smells, and feels like real leather, but it’s grown in a lab: “Modern Meadow is trying to revolutionize the multi-billion dollar leather industry” (21 Feb). [Ed’s note: a 3:24 minute video from Fast Company.]

PolyOne launches sustainable fibre colorant technology: “PolyOne’s ColorMatrix Fiber Colorant Solutions combine colorants and specialized melt spinning equipment to provide an adaptive, innovative system for coloring polyester fiber [eliminating] the need for water and wastewater treatment, up to 10 liters per kilogram of fiber, commonly required with aqueous dyeing processes” (20 Feb).

Factory waste pollutes Halda River in Bangladesh: “[F]actories [operating in the area] include … tanneries [and] knit, dyeing and washing [units]” (20 Feb).

400MW solar power possible from Bangladesh textile units’ rooftops, says study: “According to the IDCOL, 1,500 members of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association have 42 million square feet of rooftop space, which could be used to install solar photovoltaic system with 400MW capacity in total” (19 Feb).

Petition calls on Yangon government to control factories disposing of waste water: “[T]here are over 3,400 factories in the 24 industrial zones in Yangon. Among them, only 188 factories get rid of waste water … Ninety percent of the factories across Myanmar are running without water treatment system” (16 Feb).

Orange is the new Green: from citrus “pastazzo” to catwalks: “Orange Fiber is … an Italian start-up which develops sustainable and innovative fabrics and yarns for fashion, starting from citrus by-products” (31 Jan).

How one fabric company is working to extend the life of your clothes: “Dropel Fabrics uses a special treatment to give natural fibers the same spill- and stain-proof characteristics as polyester” (24 Jan).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh Alliance factories completing upgrades 21 Feb to 28 Feb:  Ananta Denim Technology Ltd., NATco Global Packaging Dhaka Ltd., Checkpoint Systems Bangladesh Ltd., Silver Composite Textile Mills, Rishal Garments Ltd., and Rowa Fashions Ltd. (28 Feb). [Ed’s note: this list is gleaned from the Bangladesh Alliance Twitter feed.]

Thousands of Vietnamese workers abandoned by South Korean company: “Thousands of workers at KL Texwell Vina returned to work on February 26 after the Tet holiday to find that the company remained closed and their South Korean managers were still absent” (27 Feb).

85 per cent of female apparel workers in Bangladesh face verbal abuse, says survey: “Almost 85 per cent of female workers in the readymade garment sector face verbal harassment in their workplace, according to a report launched Monday” (27 Feb). [Ed’s note: the report, commissioned by Karmojibi Nari and Care Bangladesh, is titled ‘State of Rights Implementation of Women Ready-Made Garment Workers’. See more here.]

Chinese trade union to focus on solving wage arrears problem: China’s official union (ACFTU) will present 30 drafts during the upcoming parliamentary meetings in March, focus on “the establishment of a long-term mechanism to solve wage default concerning migrant workers” and union monitoring and enforcement of labour laws (26 Feb – in Chinese).

Workers protest wage arrears owed by Chinese towel factory: Workers have protested wage arrears owed by towel factory in Weifang, Shandong (26 Feb).

Tk16,000 minimum wage demanded for Bangladesh garment workers: “IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) has demanded Tk 16,000 [US$ 192.64] as minimum wage for the garment workers” (25 Feb) [Ed’s note: the current minimum wage is Tk 5,300, or US$63.81. See also, RMG wage and buyers’ charity: “Under the present [government] pay scale, a sweeper on the government payroll gets a gross salary of Tk 15, 250” (25 Feb), and Set Tk 16,000 as minimum wage: “As per the Asia Floor Wage, the living wage for garment workers is Tk 37,661 given the conditions of 2017. The current minimum wage of Tk 5,300 is just 19 percent of the living wage” (26 Feb).]

Wage of Bangladeshi apparel workers below poverty level, says study: “The minimum wage received by Bangladeshi garment workers is below poverty level making it rather impossible to build a balanced society with millions of workers living below the poverty line, [says Care Bangladesh, the authors of a new study titled Moving towards living wage in the RMG sector in Bangladesh: What will it take?]” (25 Feb). [Ed’s note: see another report on the study here.]

Bangladesh Government to boost factory remediation coordination cell with own fund: “The government, pressed by the expiry of two global buyers’ platforms in July, is planning to strengthen with its own fund its remediation coordination cell, which will take over the responsibility of the post-remediation oversight of readymade garment factories, as the ILO fund is yet to be available” (25 Feb).

Jiangsu provincial judiciary processed 7,683 migrant worker wage arrears cases: The Bureau of Justice Office in Lianyungang, a prefecture-level city in north-eastern Jiangsu province in China, has announced the processing of 7,683 migrant worker wage arrears cases up to 20 February this year, recovering  117 million yuan (US$ 18.52 million) in owed wages (23 Feb – in Chinese). [Ed’s note: Lianyungang Port is among the top 15 busiest ports in China, and textiles and garments are among the area’s major industries. Many of the cases processed in this case would seem to involve construction companies, but it is worth noting the current uptick in stories concerning recovered wages by the Chinese authorities.]

Authorities recover wage arrears for cotton mill workers in China: Authorities in Chengguan, Hubei, have recovered four months in wage arrears for cotton mill workers (23 Feb – in Chinese).

Cambodian garment workers injured in truck crash: “Twenty-three garment workers and three motorbike passengers were injured in a traffic accident [last week] when the truck carrying the workers crashed into a motorbike” (22 Feb).

Cambodian PM seeks action on missing wages: “Prime Minister Hun Sen [last week] suggested that the Ministry of Labour prioritise getting workers any missing wages in cases where owners of factories disappear after going bankrupt” (22 Feb).

Indian Government cuts power to nine illegal textile units: “[The] Tirupur … district administration disconnected electricity connections to nine unauthorised textile printing units … on Monday [last week over a lack of] mandatory environmental clearance license[s]” (21 Feb).

Cambodian court seizes factory property: “Kandal Provincial Court officials and relevant authorities yesterday confiscated property from the Gawon Apparel factory … after the court issued a protection warrant late last year” (21 Feb).

National project to eradicate child labour in Myanmar: ““Child labour accounted for five per cent, and 4.9 per cent of child labourers are working in the dangerous conditions,” [said Thein Swe, Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population]” (20 Feb).

Bankrupt factory owners in Cambodia to face court: “The Ministry of Labour [last week] said that factory owners who abandon their businesses without paying workers their final dues will face court cases in the wake of complaints from unions” (20 Feb).

Workers ask for release of unionists: “Around 70 workers from the Cosmo Textile garment factory yesterday submitted a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet asking for the release of four unionists arrested from their factory for allegedly conducting an illegal protest” (20 Feb). [Ed’s note: this is an ongoing issue and was in the news two weeks ago at least twice.]

Cambodian shoe factory workers stage rolling protests: “Almost 1,000 workers at a shoe factory [last week] came out to protest five times to demand the company to pay their annual leave” (20 Feb). See also, Workers protest for cash instead of leave: “Nearly 1,000 workers from … Hwa Long (Cambodia) Outsole Industry have been protesting since February 14” (21 Feb).

Cambodian garment wages soar: “Research has shown some staff in the garment sector can now earn up to $480 each month as unions and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia congratulated workers for taking home the new minimum monthly wage of $170 for the first time” (20 Feb).

Chinese man charged for beating garment workers: “A Chinese national was provisionally charged and sent to pre-trial detention on Saturday for intentional violence after garment workers at Kandal-based Bing Win Garment protested his alleged beating of two women on the factory floor (19 Feb).

VisionFund Myanmar launches loan scheme for factory workers: “VisionFund Myanmar recently announced the launch of a new microfinance loan product exclusively for garment factory workers, funded by the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT)” (17 Feb).

Workers protest wage arrears owed by Chinese garment factory: Workers have protested wage arrears owed by garment factory in Zhaoyuan, Shandong. You can see more here (video) (13 Feb).

(Photo fransoopatrickCCO)

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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