BRANDS AND RETAILERS

Brands signing up to the 2018 Bangladesh Accord 11 Apr – 18 Apr: Brands signing up during the last week to the 2018 Accord include: Brüzer Sportsgear, Debenhams, Fristads, Next, Outerstuff, Prénatal Moeder & Kind (18 Apr). [Ed’s note: list gleaned from IndustriALL’s updates list of signatories here.]

Yosemite’s used plastic bottles help supply The North Face ‘bottle source’ collection in supporting National Park Foundation: “The North Face today [17 Apr] announced a new collection of t-shirts and tote bags made from cotton and recycled bottles sourced from three national parks” (17 Apr).

5th Annual Baptist World Aid Australia Ethical Fashion Report released in Australia: “This is the fifth report produced by Baptist World Aid Australia examining labour rights management systems in the fashion industry. It grades 114 companies, from A to F, on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour and exploitation in their supply chains” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: you can download the report – The 2018 Ethical Fashion Report: The truth behind the barcode – in full at the headline link. Companies ranked include: Adidas, Aldi, Arcadia Group, Forever 21, Gap, H&M, Hanesbrands, Hugo Boss, Inditex, Levi Strauss, Next, PVH, and VF.]

5th Annual Baptist World Aid Australia Ethical Fashion Guide released in Australia: [Ed’s note: the Guide is not to be confused with the Report (see immediately above). The Guide “is a companion to the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report.”] “This guide grades 407 brands and provides an overall grade of each brand’s labour rights management systems. Higher grades correspond to systems which, when implemented well, should reduce the risk of modern slavery, child labour and exploitation. Grades are derived from research undertaken for the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report” (17 Apr).

How Cotton On went from a B- to an A by airing dirty laundry: “Low-cost clothing chain Cotton On has turned around an ethical-fashion black mark to become one of the country's top performers, according to an annual report” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: the story is based on the 5th Annual Baptist World Aid Australia Ethical Fashion Report, which ranks 114 companies – all of which are listed in the article. You can download the report here.]

Ethical Fashion Guide Aotearoa New Zealand 2018 released: “The Ethical Fashion Guide is a practical tool you can use to reduce worker exploitation and alleviate poverty in developing countries where clothes are manufactured. It grades fashion companies on ethical practices in their supply chains, giving you the power to shop ethically and use your voice to encourage greater transparency” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: “This Guide is based on research by Tearfund NZ and Baptist World Aid Australia, and is similar to 5th Annual Baptist World Aid Australia Ethical Fashion Guide; see above.]

Fashion brands among emissions milestone: WWF has announced 100 companies in 23 countries have approved science-based targets for emissions. Fashion brands and retailers setting targets include Kering, Kesko, Marks & Spencer, Marui Group, and Walmart (17 Apr).

PVH forges partnership with WWF to protect global water resources: “PVH has committed to focus on freshwater conservation in Ethiopia, India, China and Vietnam” (17 Apr).

Wrangler shows economic benefits of sustainable cotton farming: “Wrangler analyzed dozens of scientific studies to show that sustainable cotton farming techniques improve crop yields and reduce costs while slashing greenhouse gas emissions. For the new report, called “Seeding Soil’s Potential,” Wrangler’s soil health advisors reviewed more than 45 scientific papers and reviews from academic, government, and industry researchers, the company says” (16 Apr).

Bangladesh: Partnership to promote responsible buying in the garment sector: “Clothing company, Bonmarché started engaging with Better Buying [and ETI] in the fourth quarter of 2017 by providing Better Buying with a list of strategic suppliers together with a letter inviting its suppliers to evaluate the company’s performance” (16 Apr). [Ed’s note: see also Bangladeshi garment suppliers can now evaluate their corporate buyers (16 Apr).]

ASOS launches “Made in Kenya” collection: “ASOS has unveiled the latest installment of its “Made in Kenya” collection in partnership with SOKO Kenya. The online retailer has worked with the company since 2010 on collaborative efforts to support women in design and sustainable fashion. (15 Apr).

LA apparel contractor ships ‘hot goods’ to Charlotte Russe prompting restraining order: “RK Apparel Inc., an apparel contractor that illegally shipped clothing to Charlotte Russe from a subcontractor allegedly not paying minimum wage or overtime, was slapped with a “hot goods” temporary restraining order by the U.S. Labor Department” (13 Apr).

H&M launches pilot project on sustainable fashion in Hamburg: “H&M is aiming for the very ambitious goal of using only recycled or sustainable materials by 2030, and it is keen to enlist customers in its efforts for a more responsible kind of fashion. To do so, it recently launched a pilot project called ‘Take Care’ in the city of Hamburg, Germany” (13 Apr).

Pentatonic recycles fashion waste into patchwork furniture: “Founded by Johann Bödecker & Jamie Hall, two former employees at retail giants like Nike, Levi’s and Coca-Cola, London’s Pentatonic aims to recycle waste into premium furniture” (14 Apr).

The new way department stores are trying to get you to shop: “While a lot has been written about fast-fashion retailers, I feel some of Australia’s biggest sellers of clothing – David Jones and Myer – have slipped under the ethical fashion radar. Yes, they both stock ethical brands, including Patagonia at Myer. It’s just that they have just been promoting ethical fashion ... quietly. But that's about to change” (14 Apr).

Harrods opens first ever charity pop-up, sells designer labels for NSPCC: “Harrods is on a major drive to ‘do good’, reduce waste and also to reach its Millennial target consumers in ways that are important to them. And its latest initiative certainly does all of these things” (13 Apr).

Timberland publishes Q417 CSR report: [Ed’s note: the reports shows progress towards Timberland’s 2020 goals on VOCs, leather, cotton, footwear with ROR, PVC, and non-FPC durable water repellents.] (13 Apr).

PETA activist denied opportunity to speak to Louis Vuitton execs at annual meeting: “Upon arriving at LVMH’s annual meeting, PETA’s representative was refused entrance to the main meeting room and denied the opportunity to ask board members a question about the company’s appalling use of exotic-animal skins.” (13 Apr).

David Jones announces exclusive designer collaboration in support of Fashion Revolution Week: “David Jones marks Fashion Revolution Week (23-29 April 2018) with an exclusive designer capsule collection made in Australia by skilled garment makers and designed by Manning Cartell, Bianca Spender, Viktoria & Woods and Nobody Denim” (12 Apr – 1:33-minute video).

Patagonia: Using business as a tool for change: “Patagonia now has eight fair trade certified companies worldwide … [and has] achieved at least 85 percent of their lines [using] recycled or recyclable materials and that includes their trims” (12 Apr).

Labour Behind the Label week of ‘brand hustle’ over Bangladesh Accord: “Will you help give Debenhams and Sainsbury’s a little encouragement to sign? We are planning a week of ‘brand hustle’ to nudge them over the line” (12 Apr).

H&M publishes 2017 sustainability report: “H&M group makes strong progress towards its vision to lead the change towards a circular and renewable fashion industry, while being a fair and equal company. This is outlined in its Sustainability Report 2017, launched today [12 Apr]” (12 Apr). [Ed’s note: click the headline link for highlights, or see here for executive summary, or here for full report.]

H&M is trying to cover up its unfulfilled commitment on living wage: [Ed’s note: press release by Clean Clothes Campaign.] “In its 2017 Sustainability Report published today [12 Apr] H&M is making bold claims about progress in the area of fair jobs, with a focus on living wage. Clean Clothes Campaign has been closely following H&M’s reporting in this area, as well as gathering information in production countries, and we are compelled to strongly refute the self-congratulatory statements made in the report” (12 Apr). [Ed’s note: See also, from Forbes, H&M is pushing sustainability hard, but not everyone is convinced (14 Apr). Also note, from Fair Action (in Sweden), that “after criticism” H&M has added factory wages in various countries, which can be seen here.]

Bravo workers forced to take partial payments from Zara, Mango, Next: [Ed’s note: press release by Clean Clothes Campaign.] “Following a period of sustained pressure from the brands involved, 140 Turkish garment workers have accepted partial payments towards the debt owed to them when the Bravo factory – which produced clothing for Zara, Mango (Inditex) and the UK brand Next – closed overnight in June 2016” (12 Apr).

REPORTS AND COMMENTARY

Coming up (conferences/seminars) [New listings or updated information marked with *]

* 19 April, Amsterdam: Meet Kalpona Akter, human rights defender from Bangladesh: “Kalpona Akter is a labor rights activist in Bangladesh and the founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity.” [Ed’s note: Event in English.]

19 April, Amsterdam: True Fashion Talk (show): ‘How to Campaign for Change’: “This edition, we cover the question of how to campaign for change.”

22 April, London: call for participation at the Global Fashion Conference 2018: “The call for participation at the Global Fashion Conference 2018 is now open. Submit your contributions abstracts by 22nd April … The call is open to scholars, educators, industry and creative practitioners, NGOs, think-tanks, provocateurs, policymakers and others.”

23 – 28 April, London: FREE Ethical Pop-Up Shop & Sample Sale for Fashion Revolution Week: “From niche to norm: Ethical fashion and footwear take centre-stage during Fashion Revolution Week in this week-long community hub and pop-up boutique curated by Po-Zu.”

23 – 29 April, Fashion Revolution Week: “During Fashion Revolution Week, we will be publishing our ‘Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution’ with our clear demands for a better fashion industry of the future.”

* 24 April, global: Ask your FWF brand anything: “And what are brands doing to improve conditions for garment workers? Seventeen FWF brands will answer these and many more questions on Fashion Revolution Day, Tuesday 24 April.” [Ed’s note: on Facebook.]

* 24 April, Stockholm: UN Cinema presents: “River Blue”: “The film is screened by the UN Information Center UNRIC and UN Development Program UNDP, in collaboration with the Swedish UN Federation.” [Ed’s note: in Swedish.]

24 April, London: Why Transparency Matters: “With co-founder and Creative Director of Fashion Revolution, Orsola de Castro, speaking with Emily Tilden-Smith from global leading law firm Baker McKenzie, this talk will touch upon the rising consumer demand for transparency around workers’ rights, the UK Modern Slavery act and what new brands need to look out for when developing their stance on sustainability.”

* 24 – 25 April, Amsterdam: Sustainable apparel: How brands can transform supply chains: “The latest innovations in circular fashion, transparency and factory engagement.”

25 April, London: Revive Your Clothes: “Repair and reinvent your wardrobe in this practical workshop from Sustainable Studio founders Julia and Sarah.”

25 April, London: Next wave fashion tech: “In order to raise awareness about some of the challenges of fashion industry, as well as possible solutions, Women of Wearables are bringing together six female founders who will share their entrepreneurial stories and views on all things fashion tech, sustainability, smart textiles and everything in between!”

26 April, London: Eco Sewing Party: “Offset Warehouse and Fabrications are thrilled to announce our Eco Sewing Party to coincide with Fashion Revolution Week.

26 April, London: Sarabande Studios discuss ‘slow-motion practises: “Katie Roberts-Wood and John Alexander Skelton of Sarabande Studios as they discuss their ‘slow-fashion’ practises - brands that work as an antithesis to the mass-production of the fashion industry.”

* 28 April, London: Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution: “A showcase of the U’s leading independent ethical fashion brands.”

* 28 April, global release of Complicit: “Complicit, an award winning film that is an excellent resource for discussions/seminars/training sessions on labour exploitation and related health risks in China, is being released globally on 28 April, to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.”

02 May, Webinar: The Future of Sustainability: living in nonlinear times: “Join Sally Uren, CEO of leading international sustainability non-profit, Forum for the Future, as she reveals our take on the future of sustainability and explains how you can understand the implications for your business.”

* 04 May, New York: Fashiondex, LIM College Partner on Sustainability Conference: “The summit will focus on how to deploy ethical operations and instil change within the fashion industry.”

* 04 – 06 May, Ahmedabad, India: Farm to Fashion: “The ‘Farm to Fashion’ Global Summit is an initiative to provide a platform for the entire textile value chain to deliberate and develop a vision for Textile Industry for the year 2035 with key focus on issues faced by Cotton Farmers, Women Empowerment, Youth employment opportunities and position Indian Textile Industry as pioneer in Environment friendly industry practices.”

10 – 11 May, Izmir, Turkey: Regional Organic Cotton Round Table: “Textile Exchange’s Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) has evolved to become THE shared space for the organic cotton community to gather and collaborate.”

15 – 16 May, Copenhagen: Innovation Forum at Copenhagen Fashion Summit: “Innovation Forum will present a curated trade and exhibition area enabling participating fashion brands to meet with +50 solution providers covering the entire supply chain – from innovative fabrics to green packaging solutions, and from new disruptive ideas to tried and tested large-scale solutions.”

* 17 May, Geneva: UN Working Group convenes open multi-stakeholder consultation on corporate human rights due diligence in practice: Corporate human rights due diligence – identifying and leveraging emerging practice. Open multi-stakeholder consultation.

22 May, Vancouver: Planet Textiles 2018: Discover the future, understand the trends, meet the new leaders, connect, and explore the ecosystem.

* 22 – 24 May, São Paulo, Brazil: 2018 Global Sustainability Standards Conference: “The Global Sustainability Standards Conference is the leading annual global event for those who support the uptake of credible sustainability standards and certification.”

29 May, Coimbatore: GOTS India Seminar 2018: GOTS India Seminar 2018 will provide a platform for focused and challenging discussions under the theme “Sustainability as Key to Business Efficiency.”

31 May – 1 June, Arnhem, the Netherlands: The Fashion Colloquium: Searching for the new luxury: “The Fashion Colloquium: Searching for the New Luxury will explore new definitions of ‘luxury’ against the backdrop of urgent environmental and social issues.”

1 June – 22 July, Arnhem, the Netherlands: State of Fashion: Searching for the New Luxury: “7 weeks of exhibition and events in Arnhem, searching for the new luxury.”

Reports/Commentary                

An accident in history: [Ed’s note: a long article about Rana Plaza, which – among other things – compares the Accord and Alliance.] “The most important difference between the Accord and the Alliance, however, is that the American-dominated group resists legal accountability” (April 18).

West African organic cotton sector gains momentum: “US textile industry NGO, Textile Exchange, has announced the launch of a Regional Organic Roundtable to help develop the organic cotton sector in West Africa” (April 18).

Five years after Rana Plaza, the need for the Bangladesh Accord persists: “On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,134 workers, global trade unions and labour rights organizations are calling on all brands sourcing from Bangladesh to take responsibility for workers making their products by signing the renewed Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety” (18 Apr). [Ed’s note: by Clean Clothes Campaign.]

Fair fashion grows, but consumers do not follow: [Ed’s note: a long article on five years after Rana Plaza.] ““I only have the impression that this realization [that Rana Plaza hurts everyone] is not yet translating into different purchasing behaviour”, [Clean Clothes Campaign’s Sara] Ceustermans adds. “Fair clothing grows in terms of supply, but remains a niche. Anyone shopping in the big chains is usually not concerned with the circumstances in which their T-shirts are produced” (17 Apr – in Dutch).

Australia aims to be global leader with strong anti-slavery law in 2018: “[Thomson Reuters Foundation reports] Australia aims to be a global leader in the fight against modern slavery with a new law that builds upon Britain’s landmark legislation and demands stronger action from the government and businesses” (17 Apr).

Sourcemap tech startup to revolutionise fashion industry: “Sourcemap, a New York City tech start-up is building a platform that could transform the fashion industry: a digital map of all clothing manufacturers in Bangladesh” (17 Apr).

reGAIN: The UK’s first app for recycling unwanted clothing launches: “The UK’s first app developed for the recycling of unwanted clothing and textiles launches in the UK today [17 Apr]. Named reGAIN, the app marks a significant step forward towards the fashion industry’s shift to a circular economy by incentivizing recycling in the UK” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: partners include Superdry, Asics, New Balance, Boohoo, and Missguided.]

Redress Design Award 2018 semi-finalists announced: “Cast your vote and help decide which one of [the] 30 semi-finalists will take home the title of Redress Design Award 2018 People’s Choice” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: vote closes 06 May.]

Book sheds light on denim sustainability and solutions: “Paulina Szmydke-Cacciapalle’s Making Jeans Green: Linking Sustainability, Business and Fashion is coming out in June” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: link to book here.]

Denim in depth: Denim industry ramps up sustainability: “New eco-friendly treatments, systems and weaving machines along with green certified products are a key focus for denim specialists” (17 Apr).

Britain’s fur industry bites back: “The British Fur Trade is mounting a robust defense of the industry ahead of a U.K. parliamentary hearing set for April 18” (16 Apr).

Fashion’s eco-sins: In search of sustainable clothing: “The clothing industry puts a huge strain on the environment: It creates more greenhouse gas emissions in a single year than all international flights and shipping combined. But it doesn't have to be that way” (16 Apr).

Improved enzyme munches polyester: “Scientists have successfully modified a bacterial enzyme to break down polyester more efficiently in a move that could have wide ranging implications for the plastics recycling, waste and textile industries” (16 Apr).

A fair sweater easily costs a few hundred euros: “When Reina Ovinge of The Knitwit Stable delivered her first collection of sweaters to a store, she started to sell it herself so she could explain to the customer why a sweater cannot cost a few bucks” (16 Apr – in Dutch).

‘They have forgotten the lessons of Rana Plaza’: ““But five years after the tragedy, the police and local leaders are supporting the factory owners and harassing us and anyone who wishes to come to us. They have forgotten the lessons of the disaster,” [Tomiza Sultana, a garment worker-organizer with the Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union Federation (BIGUF)] says” (15 Apr).

Changsin-dong shows rise, fall of sweatshops: “Located in Seoul's central district of Jongo, Changsin-dong, a region densely packed with textile factories established in the 1970s, is home to the labor-intensive garment industry” (15 Apr).

China warns against foreign infiltration via worker training: Chinese police have published a ‘comic strip’ warning against ‘foreign infiltration’ by NGOs giving training to workers in ‘Western notions of trade unions’ and workers' rights (13 Apr – in Chinese).

Recycled Wool: A Primer for Newcomers & Rediscoverers: “The sole aims of this report are to help the understanding of recycled wool’s backstory, and empower the designers and product managers to evaluate this material’s credentials” (13 Apr).

Sustainable fashion: a tricky road for emerging labels to take: “[At] the Big Blue Project conference, held in Paris on 10th-12th April, a forum where labels, designers and industry institutions debated the challenges of sustainable fashion” (13 Apr). [Ed’s note: by the European Outdoor Group and Greenroom Voice.]

What the Rana Plaza disaster changed about worker safety: “As a result of the [A]ccord, 97,000 of 132,000 hazards at factories in Bangladesh have been eliminated” (13 Apr).

100 jobs lost as Nigeria’s textile sector continues to decline: “Chellco Industry Limited in Kaduna, Nigeria, plans to retrench 100 workers as textile factories struggle to cope with increased costs including recent tariff increases of 5 to 20 per cent. Further, the increased cost of electricity, which makes up to 50 per cent of operating costs, make the factories blankets, shawls and bed covers more expensive than those imported from China” (13 Apr).

“If we continue in this way, hardly any raw materials for textiles will be available in 15 years”: “Germans are buying more and more clothes, and for Soex boss Axel Buchholz this a cause for joy. He manages Germany’s largest textile recycling company. But there are problems, because recycling is hardly worthwhile and the quality of our clothes is getting worse” (12 Apr – in German).

Sustainability on the rise in womenswear: “New product lines and store openings from H&M as well as improvements from Next and Matalan have stoked a 128% increase in the number of sustainable womenswear products online in the UK, according to new research from WGSN” (12 Apr).

“Made in Cambodia” explores the human cost of cheap clothes: “Asad Faruqi was enlisted by the non-profit organization, Remake, to direct a film that follows three New York City Parsons fashion school students as they travel to Cambodia to examine the conditions of garment workers” (12 Apr). [Ed’s note: the article is an interview with Asad Fauqi, who shot this short film in 2017, which is available here.]

Mistra Future Fashion annual report 2017: Mistra Future Fashion, a research program on circular economy and serves for a future positive fashion industry in a consortium with over 50 partners, has released its 2017 annual report. Download a PDF version here (12 Apr).

Around 350 brands support BCI’s cotton sustainability: “The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has announced that, with new retailers and brand members joining the organisation in the first quarter of 2018, around 350 brands are now committed to support farmers through the cotton initiative” (12 Apr).

Rejecting fast fashion with small runs of NZ-made clothing: “[Bron] Eichbaum is part of a growing trend for small, bespoke fashion brands being launched in New Zealand. Sold online and in a rising number of selective boutiques which prize quality over quantity, collections are released in small drops and limited runs like prized art works” (11 Apr).

Global recycled cotton yarn market would grow significant CAGR by 2025: “Industrial forecasts on recycled cotton yarn industry: global recycled cotton yarn market projected to grow significant CAGR during 2018-2025” (11 Apr).

German Textilbündnis is subject of parliamentary inquiry: MPS have questioned the new government on the budget and impact of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (Textilbündnis) and also on the government’s regulatory framework for due diligence and transparency in the textile sector (11 Apr – in German).

Companies thwarting global drive to end forced labour by 2030 – experts: “[Thomson Reuters Foundation reports] modern slavery lurks across global supply chains yet competition between companies to produce ever cheaper goods means the world is unlikely to meet a United Nations goal to end forced labour by 2030, anti-slavery experts said on Wednesday [11 Apr]” (11 Apr).

A new start for garment workers in Cambodia: “After years working in a Phnom Penh garment factory, where she made little money and had to ask permission to go to the bathroom, Hab Saly returned home to start her own sewing workshop and help other women escape the lonely, grinding life of a factory worker” (11 Apr).

How to make sustainability stick for consumers, according to a psychologist: “Hint: it doesn't involve scaring people with doom-and-gloom stories about climate change. … For ethical fashion advocates, that means that communicating a message of hope, rather than despair” (11 Apr).

Mushrooms, feathers combine in biodegradable shoes: “[Two University of Delaware students have] created a bio-composite material – renewable and sourced sustainably from common regional products –that forms the sole of their prototype shoe” (11 Apr).

What has changed since the Spectrum disaster? “Thirteen years ago, on this day, Bangladesh witnessed an unprecedented factory accident that killed at least 73, and left hundreds injured. The Spectrum Factory collapse, as it is known, was the predecessor of the Rana Plaza tragedy” (11 Apr).

Five years after Rana Plaza, leaders emphasize need for brands to sign accord renewal: “Five years after the building collapse at Rana Plaza killed 1,134 workers in Bangladesh, labor rights leaders and other activists discussed workers’ rights and safety Tuesday afternoon at the Ford Foundation” (10 Apr). [Ed’s note: see Remembering Rana Plaza for a video recording of the entire event.]

How ethical is fur? “The use of fur in fashion has long been a source of heated debate.  From the iconic PETA campaigns of the 90s to a recent spate of high-profile designers going fur-free. But is it really that simple? [Australian ethical fashion app Good On You] ask[s], how ethical is fur?” (09 Apr).

Should the EU withdraw trade benefits from Bangladesh? “The European Commission threatened Bangladesh last year with the withdrawal of favourable trade conditions [after protests in December 2016 in Dhaka]. But two angry letters to the Bangladesh government were ignored, without any consequences” (09 Apr – in Dutch).

British designer gives used chewing gum another lease of life: “Anna Bullus has figured out which elements from used chewing gum can be recycled so she can create useful objects [including part of a shoe]” (09 Apr).

MANUFACTURERS

Sustainable dyeing from nature: “Introductory video about Colorifix, [which] grows color, converting agricultural by-products into beautiful pigments and dyed textiles. Less water. Less energy. Less waste” (17 Apr).

Key findings of the global eco fiber market: “[A new report by Technavio notes the following key findings of the global eco fibre market:] Environmental damage caused by conventional fibers: a major market driver; Growing awareness about sustainable textile production: emerging market trend” (15 Apr).

The toxic waste that enters Indonesia’s Citarum River, one of the world's most polluted: “Called “dollar city” in its heyday, Majalaya was able to supply up to 40 per cent of Indonesia’s textile needs, making it a major centre for Indonesia’s textile industry. And it is those textile factories which are among the worst polluters of the Citarum” (14 Apr).

Mutoh America launches water-based textile pigment ink: “Mutoh America, Inc. has launched a new manufactured ink [which is] non-hazardous/environmentally friendly” (12 Apr).

RadiciGroup urges backing sustainability strategies with data: “RadiciGroup, an Italian company specialising in chemicals, plastics, synthetic fibres and nonwovens … aims to raise awareness among designers and fashion operators on the importance of backing sustainability strategies “with sound, impartial data”” (12 Apr).

Government orders thousands of garment workshops in China to close: Government officials in Guangzhou have ordered thousands of garment workshops to close, citing a fire hazard campaign. (11 Apr – in Chinese). [Ed’s note: see short video footage here.]

Garment-textile sector in Vietnam targets green production: “Green, clean, energy-saving production is urgent to improve competitiveness of Vietnam’s garment-textile enterprises as each year the sector spends up to 3 billion USD on production energy, heard a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on April 11” (11 Apr).

Lenzing to unveil sustainable denim wardrobe capsule at Kingpins Amsterdam: “Entitled Blues & Hues, the capsule, created in collaboration with denim finishing leader Jeanologia, will make its debut at Kingpins Amsterdam this month. The collection was designed to demonstrate how eco-mined companies can work together to address a void in the market for sustainable denim and promote eco-conscious consumption among consumers” (11 Apr).

Sateri Viscose Earns USDA Certification: “Sateri, a global producer of viscose staple fiber, has earned the Certified Bio-based Product Label by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its viscose staple fiber range for textile and nonwoven products” (11 Apr).

Bluesign is the first established Level 3 Accepted Certifier for ZDHC MRSL Conformance: ““We are delighted to have bluesign join us as a ZDHC Accepted Certifier for ZDHC MRSL Conformance, which marks the first step of a collaboration to accelerate momentum in the industry towards forefront chemical management solutions and scalable innovations,” says Frank Michel, Executive Director of the ZDHC Foundation” (11 Apr).

Is Telangana government serious about shifting polluting industries? “Even though it has been more than four years since textile industrial park in Indrakaran has been established, [officials say] only five textile units have shifted to the industrial park from the city” (10 Apr).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

Bangladesh Alliance factories completing upgrades 11 Apr to 18 AprSaad San Apparels Ltd., Pro-Star Industrial Company Ltd., Your Fashion Sweater Ltd., Shinest Embroidery & Printing, Regency Three Ltd., Islam Garments Ltd., Islam Dresses Ltd., The Rose Dresses Ltd., Miles Fabrics Ltd. (18 Apr). [Ed’s note: this list is gleaned from the Bangladesh Alliance Twitter feed.]

Over 48pc Rana Plaza survivors still unemployed: “Almost half of the survivors of Rana Plaza collapse still remain unemployed due to various physical and mental complications” (17 Apr).

Workers at 3,000 subcontracting RMG units in danger: “NYU Stern Center [for Business and Human Rights] study finds, estimates $1.2b remediation cost” (17 Apr). [Ed’s note: the NYU Stern report (30 pp.) is here. See summary here. “Initiatives sponsored by Western apparel brands and retailers have made a difference in about 2,300 factories employing some two million workers. But there is still much more to be done.”]

Gazipur RMG workers protest at termination: “Several hundred workers [at Hydroxide Knitwear Ltd.] on Sunday demonstrated in the capital protesting at their termination from the factory at Mouchak of Kaliakoir in Gazipur [demanding] immediate reinstatement of the terminated workers and withdrawal of case filed against them following a protest of the termination on April 5” (16 Apr).

Alliance cites progress toward a collective agreement on worker safety: “The Board of Directors of the 29-brand Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) is in Dhaka this week to discuss plans to form a successor safety monitoring organization (SMO) that will carry forward the Alliance’s inspections, safety monitoring, training and helpline services once the Alliance’s 5-year term draws to a close at the end of 2018” (11 Apr).

Bangladesh Alliance looking for successor organisation: “The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) whose five-year-term draws to a close at the end of the year, has decided to look for a way to carry forward its inspections, safety monitoring, training and helpline services” (11 Apr).

Bulgaria

GFAs in garment sector promoting rights: “Global framework agreements (GFAs) were at the focus of a meeting led by the ILO in Sofia, Bulgaria, on industrial relations in the global supply chains entitled “Key Features of Social Dialogue and Cooperation at the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities, Good Practices, and Benefits” (11 Apr). [Ed’s note: the event was co-sponsored by Inditex, with H&M and ASOS also attending.]

Cambodia

Draft minimum wage law talks finished: “Following a request by a senior officer of the US State Department to hold another discussion on the draft minimum wage law, a tripartite group consisting of employers, unions and the government met again yesterday [10 Apr] to check the law before sending it to relevant ministries” (11 Apr).

Garment workers protest payouts for shuttered factories: “Workers from Benoh Apparel and [Yu Fa Garment Industry (Cambodia) Co., Ltd.] protested in Phnom Penh on Tuesday [10 Apr] over compensation packages handed out by the Ministry of Labour as part of a scheme to reimburse unpaid wages and benefits following the abrupt closure of their factories” (11 Apr).

Committee created to deal with issue of factory owners fleeing: “The government is now creating a committee to solve issues for garment workers whose employers or owners escaped without paying them” (11 Apr).

China

Workers protest wage arrears owed by garment company in Dongguan, Guangdong: The protest was in Houjie. See photo here (14 Apr).

Chinese workers take on global corporations over labour exploitation: [Ed’s note: an award-winning film to be released globally to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April takes aim at global corporations who put Chinese workers’ health at risk by sourcing from dangerous factories. Although targeting the electronics industry, the film has a relevant message for the fashion industry – Chinese workers are starting to stand up to global corporations. The film is called Complicit, and you can see an excerpt at the headline link, or here at the film website.] (13 Apr).

Workers protest wage arrears owed by garment company in Lianyungang, Jiangsu: (11 Apr).

Guatemala

Wrong Turn for workers’ rights: The US-Guatemala CAFTA Labor arbitration ruling – And what to do about it: [Ed’s note: this is a new report on the outcome of a complaint filed by the AFL-CIO and six Guatemalan trade unions in 2008 alleging Guatemala was failing to “effectively enforce its labor laws as required under Chapter 16 of the Dominican Republic - Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA)”.] (12 Apr).

Myanmar

Changing behaviours - organizing in Myanmar: “Yes, a Korean-owned garment factory in Yangon, Myanmar, is in some ways a rarity among the many other factories found in the township Hlaing Thar Yar. Workers here have formed a trade union and have negotiated a collective agreement with management” (16 Apr). [Ed’s note: a report from IndustriALL.]

Trade unions open a centre for women: “With the income generated by women much needed for the support of their families owing to a 37.5 per cent poverty rate, Myanmar’s largest workers organisation – the Confederation of Trade Unions in Myanmar (CTUM) – has opened a Women Workers’ Centre in Hlaing Thar Yar township of Yangon region” (16 Apr).

Myanmar’s women face routine pregnancy tests and sexual harassment in sweatshops: “Harassment just outside factory walls is frequently mentioned by female garment workers. But harassment within the factory is just as common, with workers being groped or enduring sexual comments from contract workers, supervisors or peers” (15 Apr).

Garment industry gears up for rise in minimum wage: “[F]fears have been raised that [a] baseline salary increase [of 33%] may come at the cost of other existing benefits” (12 Apr).

Turkey

Unions unite to demand living wage in textile and garment sector: “Textile, garment and leather sector unions in Turkey pledged their support to the ground-breaking worldwide initiative ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation), led by IndustriALL Global Union and brands and retailers to achieve living wages in the sector” (11 Apr).

Vietnam

Garment firms should meet workers’ needs to keep them: experts: “Garment and textile firms should understand the needs of their workers and invest in enhancing human resource management to sustain a productive and quality workforce, a seminar heard in HCM City” (16 Apr).

(Photo skeezeCCO)

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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