THIS WEEK 

Brands in the news this week include Walmart (in a new report from the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, accusing the company’s suppliers of ‘daily violence, sex abuse’), Inditex, Nike, H&M, Walmart and Adidas (all ranked in Gartner’s annual Supply Chain Top 25), Zalando (over calls by Germany’s Femnet to disclose its supply chain), and Asos, Boohoo, Desigual, Fat Face, Primark, Topshop, and Whistles, among others (for ditching down).

Two ‘reports’ of note this week:

  • The International Labour Conference kicked off this week with an announcement it was inviting 24 countries to provide information relating to the application of specific ILO Conventions (several major apparel producing countries are on the list)
  • German organisation Femnet released four fact sheets on women in garment manufacturing (featuring Ethiropia, Bangladesh and Myanamar) – in German only

In general news, the ILO released a special issue of its magazine on violence at work (including a feature on the garment sector), the EU issued waste management rules for the circular economy, the UN announced it would debate plans to launch a partnership for sustainable fashion at its upcoming July meeting, the US formally banned the importation of Turkmenistan cotton, and the UK is being urged to tax polyester and nylon clothes. Questions were raised over the ethics of feathers and whether shoppers really care about sustainability. 

In the supply chain, there was a long article about poor conditions at MAS Holdings factories in Sri Lanka, a report from Pakistan on the approval of the first child labour policy in the country, several stories on garment worker unrest in Karnataka, India, a report from IndustriALL Global Union on social dialogue in Ethiopia on decent wages, articles from Cambodia on unpaid wages, safer trucks and union criticism over government handling of fainting workers, and reports from Bangladesh on labour unrest in the lead up to Eid, the government’s failures over a compensation protocol and workers in general, and the US ambassador’s claim the garment sector is safer.

In manufacturing, Archroma released an aniline-free indigo for denim, Lenzing announced it will expand its capacity for Tencel Luxe, Nanollose unveiled its plant-free viscose-rayon fibre, and ColorZen has been named the winner of the Innovation Competition at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

Quotes of the week:

  • “[T]here is currently at least £10.5bn of unworn items in Britain’s wardrobes.” Quoted in Forbes (29 May).
  • “If we keep doing it the same way, we’re just criminals.” Jeans designer Stefano Aldighieri on making denim (25 May).
  • “YES! It only took 8 years but ... Ali Enterprises fire compensation finally agreed.” Amy DuFault, sustainable fashion writer (24 May).
  • “We’re living in the age of communication – yet there’s a complete lack of networking within the fashion industry.” Simon Pound, of New Zealand label Ingrid Starnes, on the demise of ‘made-in-NZ’ (24 May).
  • “[After a variety of jobs, I am] currently following God into the war zone that is the fashion industry.” Neridah Morris, director of Thread Harvest and Christian, on working in ethical fashion (23 May).
  • “I guarantee you the majority of consumers are not interested in wanting to understand your supply chain. They just want to have a nice product at the end of the day.” Rachel Arthur, chief intelligence officer at TheCurrent (23 May).

By Stephen Frost, CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Brands signing up to the 2018 Bangladesh Accord 23 May – 30 May: Brands signing up during the last week to the 2018 Accord include: Chantal, Deltex, Gebra Non-food, G. Güldenpfennig, Hüren OHG, Reclaimed Sticks, Retail Holdings, Verburgt Fashion, Wünsche Group (30 May). [Ed’s note: list based on IndustriALL’s updates list of signatories here. The Accord’s five-year tenure officially came to an end on 15 May but has been extended for a further six months.]

FWF and Stanley/Stella tackling gender-based violence: “Stanley/Stella is leading the way in demonstrating the important role of brands in creating a safe working environment within their supply chain. Together with FWF [Fair Wear Foundation] they are tackling gender-based violence in the workplace through best practices such as developing workplace harassment committees and training both workers and management to identify and address issues of sexual harassment and violence” (28 May). [Ed’s note: article by Fair Wear Foundation.]

The West demands new clothes. Even faster. Even cheaper. And oh yes, safer: [Ed’s note: a review of factory safety after Rana Plaza. Brands mentioned include Benetton, Mango, H&M, C&A, Adidas, Walmart, JC Penney, Sears, and El Corte Ingles. C&A and H&M are held up, with reservations, as good examples on factory safety improvements.] (25 May – in Dutch).

Warp and Weft: Creating the perfect fit for sustainable fashion: “Jeans by Warp and Weft are also created using liquid indigo from Dystar, one of the most eco friendly dyes in the world. The company is one of the very few to use this innovative dye from Germany. An in-house power plant and use of solar energy also help in improving the carbon footprint that denim production leaves on the planet. A pair of jeans produced by Warp and Weft uses about 0.96KwH which is about the same amount of energy it takes to light a bulb” (25 May).

Daily violence, sex abuse in Walmart’s Asian suppliers – charities: “[Thomson Reuters Foundation reports] women who work in Asian factories making clothes for the global retail giant Walmart are at “daily risk” of slapping, sexual abuse and other harassment, [the Asia Floor Wage Alliance] said on Friday” (25 May). [Ed’s note: you can read the full report – Workers Voices From The Global Supply Chain : A Report to the ILO 2018here.]

Temperley London bags award for sustainability: “Temperley London has been awarded Positive Luxury’s Butterfly Mark for commitment to sustainability across innovation, social good, environment, community investment, and governance” (25 May).

Mango’s journey towards sustainable fashion: “Mango launched the third edition of its sustainable "Committed" collection just one month ago. In the collection Mango used fabrics like tencel, lyocell, recycled polyester and organic cotton; further strengthening the company's commitment to responsible fashion” (24 May).

European Clothing Group become Fair Wear Foundation member company: “Alexander Talpe, director of the ECG European Clothing Group, and FWF Director Alexander Kohnstamm signed the FWF Code of Labour Practices on Thursday in Poperinge, Belgium” (24 May).

2018 Supply Chain Top 25 Rankings released by Gartner: “Gartner’s annual Supply Chain Executive Conference held last week in Phoenix, AZ provided the platform for the release of its Supply Chain Top 25, which identifies industry “best practices”” (24 May). [In the list were: Inditex (#2), Nike (#6), H&M (#9), Walmart (#20), and Adidas (#24).]

Matrix APA checks out the impact of the new China Environment Tax on supply chains: “ETI member, Matrix APA, has recently surveyed its Chinese suppliers about an important new green initiative, an environment tax, that seeks to improve the environmental impact of Chinese businesses. Here, Steve Wickham, Matrix’s Head of Procurement and Compliance, details the company’s findings” (24 May).

Allegations against Zalando: “Human rights activist Gisela Burckhardt [from Femnet] sharply criticizes the online fashion retailer; in particular non-transparency in the supply chain … “Everything remains secret, none of it is published,” she says. Other brands are much further, such as Esprit, Hugo Boss, Tchibo, Lidl or Aldi, and she asks, “When will Zalando disclose its supply chain?” (23 May – in German).

Conversations: Neridah Morris, director of ethical fashion marketplace Thread Harvest: “Neridah Morris is a director and chief marketing officer at Thread Harvest, an Australian-based online marketplace for ethical fashion and recent winner of an Australian Good Design Award for Fashion Design. She talks about fashion, faith - and Holy Spirit encouragement” (23 May).

German outdoor clothing co Vaude recognised for efforts to establish fair working conditions in its supply chain: “Among its initiatives, [Vaude] is praised for making major advances in the monitoring of actions to improve social standards, the professional handling of workers’ complaints, and training measures in production plants to increase management awareness and competence in these areas” (23 May).

The world’s first zero-waste bra: “The Very Good Bra is made from tencel, which is 100 per cent biodegradable, so when you are done you could bury it in your backyard if you wanted” (22 May).

The major brands ditching down: [Ed’s note: a list from PETA, which includes Asos, Boohoo, Desigual, Fat Face, Primark, Topshop, and Whistles.] (22 May).

How Adidas plans to bring 3d printing to the masses: “[New] technology uses light and oxygen to make plastic objects like the sneaker midsoles from a pool of resin, without any messy waste or need for injection molding. Any design can be tweaked – and customized – and fed to be printed through a cloud-based software model. That means Adidas could eventually experiment with scanning consumers’ feet in stores and gathering data like their gait for personalized shoes. The new printing process is also ‘100 times faster’ than that of traditional 3D shoe printing” (22 May).

NEWS & REPORTS

Violence at Work: [Ed’s note: The ILO has released a special issue of its magazine – World of Work – called Violence at Work. It contains reports on the Better Work Programme’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Training in Bangladesh (in the garment sector).] (May 2018).

ILC announces list of 24 countries under scrutiny over ILO Conventions: [Ed’s note: the 107th Session of the International Labour Conference (May- June 2018) has announced ‘Cases regarding which governments are invited to supply information to the Committee [on the Application of Standards]’. The list comprises 24 countries who are invited to supply information on specific ILO Conventions. Countries include apparel sourcing countries Cambodia, Honduras, Algeria, Malaysia, Mexico and Myanmar.]

EU issues waste management rules for circular economy: “The EU has issued a set of waste management directives as part of a broader Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in December 2015. The new rules aim to prevent waste and increase recycling” (29 May).

Save your wardrobe fashion app promises double whammy of more streamlined & sustainable living: “Next month, new retail app Save Your Wardrobe (SYW) will launch in beta with a concept conceived to tackle the fashion gorge via the somewhat sexier, streamlining-honed lens of personal lifestyle management” (29 May).

How the US and Rwanda have fallen out over second-hand clothes: “US President Donald Trump’s “America First” stance on global trade has hit Rwanda, by imposing tariffs on clothing exports from the tiny East African nation. The issue revolves around an obscure import, second-hand clothes, and Rwanda’s refusal to back down from the fight” (28 May).

Can transparency alone transform the fashion industry? “[T]ransparency is reshaping how brands and retailers interact with their suppliers and consumers. But can it really transform the entire fashion industry? C&A Foundation’s Leslie Johnston hosted a panel of experts to find out” (28 May).

New research shows forced labor still rampant in Uzbekistan: “A report by the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), a German-based nongovernmental organization, found evidence of a state-sponsored system of forced labor in all regions they monitored during the 2017 harvest” (25 May).

The Argentine footwear industry loses 6000 jobs: “The Union of Footwear Industry Workers of Argentina (Uticra, affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union) declared a state of alert and mobilization in the face of the loss of 6,000 jobs due to the indiscriminate opening of imports” (25 May – in Spanish).

FT journalist talks about dark side of fast fashion in Britain: [Ed’s note: last week the Financial Times published a long article (subscription required) on garment sweatshops in Leicester producing for some well-known fashion brands (Boohoo, Missguided, and others). This week, FT’s Sarah O'Connor – who wrote the story – is on a podcast talking about the article and her research.] (24 May – 20:07-minute podcast).

Environment Ministry warns against using biodegradable and compostable bags: “For the first time, the Ministry for the Environment is warning [New Zealanders] against using biodegradable and compostable bags. “We do not recommend biodegradable plastic bags as they can be more harmful than their non-biodegradable counterparts,” the ministry says in a statement. (24 May).

Planet Textiles 2018: A review: “Textile technology that can recycle discarded clothing to produce both petroleum and plant-based monomers, unique technology to improve the biodegradability of polyester, new textile dyes from biosynthetic and wood-based feedstocks and new ways to produce viscose fibres from food and beverage waste streams were just some of the innovations presented to over 400 delegates at Planet Textiles 2018 which concluded here this week in Vancouver, Canada” (24 May).

Why is it so hard to talk about sustainability? [Ed’s note: a roundup of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.] (24 May).

Indonesian community enterprises partner to realize U.N. development goals through fashion: “Among Indonesian fashion enterprises making the stand for sustainability are Noesa, a Jakarta-based online retailer of natural dye ikat accessories, and Watubo, Noesa’s Flores-based vendor of ikat, traditional resist-dyed woven cloth. (24 May).

Why NZ-made fashion is hanging by a thread: “World provoked outrage when it was caught selling foreign-produced T-shirts as New Zealand made. But has it become too hard to manufacture in this country?” (24 May). [Ed’s note: mentions Hawes and Free, Cooper Watkinson Textiles, Charles Parsons Fabrics, Pacific Brands, Lane Walker Rudkin, Ovna Ovich, Ingrid Starnes, and Maggie Marilyn.]

Transforming the fashion industry to meet U.N. sustainability targets: “In response to concerns over sustainability in the fashion industry, delegates attending the upcoming High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at U.N. Headquarters in New York in July will debate U.N. plans to launch a Partnership for Sustainable Fashion” (24 May).

Derek Lam believes sustainability is the future of fashion: ““We do need to look at what’s sustainable, what’s ecologically important, because that, to me, is the modern interpretation of deprivation. It’s a self-deprivation; you’re saying, ‘We can’t consume the way we’ve consumed, so let’s go back and figure out how we can do more with less,’” he says” (23 May).

Are these baked mushroom sandals the future of fashion?Jillian Silverman, a University of Delaware fashion and apparel graduate student focused on environmental sustainability, recently crafted a prototype shoe that combines mushrooms, agriculture waste and fabric scraps” (23 May).

Circle Lab, biggest global open access innovation platform for the circular economy, launches 1,000 new case studies: “Circle Lab introduces a new product feature…: the world’s biggest circular economy database, openly accessible and searchable for everyone” (23 May).

World Cup fever causes sleepless nights for Bangladesh flagmakers: ““On an average every day we make 3,000 taka ($35)," said Iqbal [who works in a factory making flags]. An average garment factory pays about $70 for an entire month’s work – among the world’s lowest wages for such a job” (23 May).

Outdoor group supports sustainability charter: “The Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG) has announced that it has signed up to support the European Outdoor Group (EOG) Sustainability Charter. The charter sets out an understanding of good corporate citizenship and responsibility and articulates stages and aspirations of a journey towards best practice” (23 May).

U.S. Customs halts imports of forced labor cotton and cotton goods from Turkmenistan: “[T]he U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a law enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, [has issued] a Withhold Release Order (WRO), formally banning the importation of “all Turkmenistan cotton or products produced in whole or in part with Turkmenistan cotton” (23 May).

Will shoppers ever really care about sustainability? “Customers say they want brands to be more environmentally conscious — but eco-friendly marketing campaigns fall flat” (23 May). [Ed’s note: a long article mentioning Patagonia, H&M, Levi’s, Norse Projects, Outerknown, Reformation, Stella McCartney, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Better Cotton Initiative, Forever 21, Missguided, G-Star Raw].

Has the Global Fashion Agenda succeeded in making the fashion industry more sustainable? “It has been one year since the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), a leadership forum aiming to drive the change towards a more sustainable fashion industry, initiated its Call to Action during the 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Summit … Since then 93 fashion companies, representing 207 brands, or 12 percent of the global fashion market” (23 May). [Ed’s note: a long article suggesting the industry has taken its first baby steps along the right path.]

Polyester, nylon clothes may be caught in U.K. curbs on plastics: “U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond is being urged to start taxing clothes made from polyester and nylon as he seeks to stop harmful plastics filling the world’s oceans” (22 May).

Is the use of feathers in fashion any more ethical than fur? ““You can compare the feathers with wool, and sheep shorn for wool,” his wife, Hazel, who works with Jonker, explains. “It’s the same sort of principle: The feathers are harvested, the birds grow new feathers again” (22 May).

T-shirts helping the environment: “More than 2 billion t-shirts are sold each year, and Italian fashion startup Kloters thinks it’s time these wardrobe staples start helping rather than harming our environment [with a t-shirt that cleans the air]” (22 May).

Four new fact sheets on women in garment manufacturing (in German only): Femnet has released four new fact sheets: i) Gender violence in the clothing industry; ii) Women in the clothing industry of Ethiopia; iii) Women in Bangladesh’s clothing industry; iv) Women in Myanmar’s clothing industry (May 2018).

Transparency in Social Responsibility: “[An interview with] Bandana Tewari, the Editor-At-Large of Vogue India & a contributor to Business of Fashion, as well as Paul Allard, founder and President of impak Finance [on blockchain and transparency]” (11 May – 44:00-minute podcast). [Ed’s note: a new podcast called Advantage, a collaboration between Helsinki Fashion Week and podcast Conscious Chatter.]

Consumer attitudes and communication in circular fashion: [Ed’s note: an academic article based on interviews conducted in Finland.] “Consumers’ interest towards recycling and sustainable solutions has increased. They appreciate the idea of recycling textile waste to produce new clothes; circular products should become “the new normal”. Consumers are asking for more visible and concrete information about circular clothing and how their behaviour has affected the environmental aspects of textile production. The communication should be timed correctly by using multiple communication channels and also paying attention to the shopping experience. In addition, digital services alongside circular clothing could create additional value for consumers” (Jan 2018).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

30 May, webinar: Goals, Gains & Gambling on the Status Quo: “Join [Sourcing Journal] for a discussion about how Gildan and VF Corporation have approached some of the common challenges facing the industry in [sustainability].”

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.”

4 – 7 June, Vancouver: Sustainable Brands ‘18: Redesigning the Good Life: “Join the world’s leading experts … and learn how to redesign your product and service offerings for a changing vision of The Good Life.”

12 June, London: FashMash Pioneers: Sustainability applied to fast fashion with H&M: “[A] deep dive on what exactly this means with Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at [H&M].”

12 – 13 June, New York: How business can tackle modern slavery and forced labor: “This conference is designed to inform business delegates how to comply with emerging legislation and mitigate supply chain risk to tackle slavery throughout supply chains and operations.”

12 – 13 June, Amsterdam: Unleash Opportunity, by Amfori: “[A]n award-winning and internationally-recognised conference. Bringing together 400+ participants the conference stands at the largest platform dedicated to sustainable trade.”

* 13 June, London: How to make better material choices: sustainable sourcing for designers: “Learn about Sourcing Materials from a sustainable angle and the choices you need to make as a designer to have sustainability at the heart of what you do.”

12 – 15 June, Florence, Italy: 303 Tuscans Ethical Fashion: A conference about ethical fashion during Pitti Uomo 94.

15 June, London: Bioresponsive E-Textiles and 3D Printing in Fashion: “A group exhibition of Bioresponsive E-Textiles and 3D Printing in Fashion.”

 15 June, New York: FashionistaCon NYC: How to Make it In Fashion (2018): A day-long conference tackling topics such as racial inclusivity and how to make your fashion line more sustainable.

19 – 20 June, London: How business can measure the impact - and ROI - of corporate sustainability: “Tools, techniques and strategies for understanding, measuring and communicating impact.”

21 June, Zeist, the Netherlands: Workshop ‘Due Diligence in your purchasing practices’: “How do companies improve their purchasing practices? In a short session Modint and Solidaridad will help companies further in how to embed due diligence in your purchasing practices.”

21 June, London: Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2108 Summit: “This year, we ask; How do we reinvent the systems of today so that they are fit for tomorrow?”

* 25 June, online course: Who Made My Clothes? The University of Exeter and Fashion Revolution deliver a three-week course where participants will discover who made their clothes, share their stories, and influence global change.

27 June, London: Sustainable Supply Chains 2018: “Aligning procurement & supplier engagement practices with sustainability strategy.”

* 3 – 5 July, Berlin: Ethical Fashion Show Berlin: “The Ethical Fashion Show Berlin stands for urban zeitgeist, sustainable lifestyle and fashion.”

* 3 – 5 July, Berlin: Greenshowroom: “Like no other fashion event in Europe, the Greenshowroom stands for elegant designs and sustainable high-grade materials.”

* 18 – 19 July, London: The London Textile Fair: With a new section completely dedicated to sustainable fabrics.

* 25 -26 July, London: Jacket Required: Spotlighting the growing emphasis and importance placed on sustainability; see, for example, the sustainable brands showing (Fjällräven, Re:Sustain, Tretorn, Sandqvist, Ohmme, et. al.).

* 28 – 30 July, Hofheim-Wallau, Germany: Innatex (Sustainable Textiles): “Innatex stresses the importance not only of ecological factors in the supply chain, but also social aspects.”

* 01 August, São Paulo, Brazil: SAC & ZDHC Manufacturer Forum: The first such forum in Brazil.

16 August, London: Bare Fashion, London’s first vegan fashion show: “[W]ill feature autumn clothing lines from vegan, sustainable and ethical brands from the UK and beyond.”

* 22 – 24 October, Milan: 2018 Textile Sustainability Conference: United in Action Accelerating Sustainability in Textiles & Fashion: Textile Exchange’s 2018 Textile Sustainability Conference. (See agenda update here.)

31 October – 01 November, London: ‘What’s Going On? A Discourse on Fashion, Design and Sustainability’: “The Global Fashion Conference is a bi-annual international conference, which aims to contribute to a multidisciplinary approach to fashion studies and brings together academia and industry, promoting a more sustainable model of development.”

13 – 14 November, Los Angeles: Remode: The premier event for disruptive and sustainable fashion: “[H]ear from fashion’s leading innovators, gain access to a collaborative network of relevant people and resources, and leave with an actionable plan for innovation and growth.”

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

Bangladesh Alliance factories completing upgrades 23 May to 30 MayLegacy Fashion, Anowara Fashions, Jay Jay Mills, Naba Exports, KDS Fashion, Ananta Jeanswear, HKD Outdoor Innovations, Kenpark Bangladesh Apparel, Prime Jeans Culture (30 May). [Ed’s note: this list is gleaned from the Bangladesh Alliance Twitter feed.]

The Government of Bangladesh is failing its workers: “[T]he government has wasted every opportunity it has been given to improve the situation for workers. The Bangladesh Labour Act, the country’s primary labour law, and its regulations contain numerous obstacles to the exercise of this fundamental right. … Bangladesh will not appear on the short list of cases of the [ILO’s] Committee on the Application of Standards this year – not because there is improvement but rather because there is none” (29 May).

Garment sector much safer: US envoy: “US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat yesterday [28 May] said the government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association must do a better job at marketing the dramatic improvements in the apparel sector” (29 May).

Draft labour law flown to Geneva: ““We have brought in changes to the draft of the labour law as per the recommendations of the international communities like the ILO, the EU and the US to improve labour rights in the country,” said Md Mujibul Haque, state minister for labour and employment” (28 May). [Ed’s note: the major changes concern the percentage of workers required to form a union; down to 20% from 30%.]

Bangladesh to set up industrial safety unit: “The government has initiated a move for setting up ‘industrial safety unit’ under the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments with the aim of ensuring safe working condition in all industrial sectors” (28 May).

Govt fails to fulfil pledge to develop compensation protocol in five years: “Instead of fulfilling its pledge to develop a compensation protocol in line with the ILO convention, the government is now working to reform the labour law by setting the maximum compensation at meagre Tk 2 lakh [US$2,386.40]” (26 May).

Pay festival allowance to RMG workers by Ramadan 20: labour leaders: “Labour leaders on Friday urged garment factory owners to pay festival allowance to garment workers by Ramadan 20” (26 May).

Efforts on to clear Eid pay on time: BGMEA: “The government and factory owners are taking steps to ensure timely payment of salaries and festival bonuses of 44 lakh [4.4 million] garment workers to avert any unrest ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr” (24 May).

IndustriALL seeks 180-day limit for disposal of labour court cases: “IndustriALL Bangladesh Council has put forward a number of recommendations, including disposal of labour court cases within 180 days, on labour law reform” (23 May).

Labour unrest likely at garment factories before Eid: “According to an intelligence report, labour unrest is feared at more than a hundred garment factories in Ashulia, Savar, and Tongi” (23 May).

Cambodia

Workers again fight for unpaid factory wages: “Workers of the Dai Young factory in Russey Keo district are keeping up their weeks-long protests to demand wages and benefits from the company which says it is bankrupt” (29 May).

Safer trucks handed over for garment workers: “The Labour Ministry yesterday [22 May] announced that 12 domestically-produced trucks were being donated to two NGOs tasked with getting factory workers in Svay Rieng province to work safely, adding that a micro-financing scheme might be put in place to help drivers obtain safer vehicles” (23 May).

Union group slams NSSF fainting move: “The Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU) [has] criticised the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for a statement that said faintings caused by low levels of essential minerals in workers’ blood are to be classed as an accident and not put down to bad working conditions” (21 May).

Ethiopia

Meeting stirs social dialogue on decent wages: “A meeting on “Organizing the international supply chain” in the textile and garment sector has kick-started much-needed social dialogue on wages and been met with approval from unions” (23 May). [Ed’s note: from IndustriALL Global Union.]

Ghana

TGLEU accuses Alan Kyeremanten over plot to divide ranks: “Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen has incurred the wrath of the Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Union (TGLEU) as they accuse him of hatching a plot to divide the front of textile workers” (26 May).

India

Karnataka garment workers to intensify protests demanding wage revision: “As per the labour laws, the wages have to be revised at least once every three years or at most within five years. But in last 38 years, only four revisions have taken place in lieu of eight” (28 May).

New govt. faces another demand, this time from garment workers: “Garment workers are all set to launch an agitation demanding that the new government implement the revision of minimum wages that the [Karnataka] government attempted by issuing a draft notification in February 2018, but withdrew in March 2018” (26 May).

Myanmar

Korean factory bars 61 union members for causing unrest: “Scores of union members were barred from returning to work by company officials at South Korean wig manufacturer Macdo in Mingalardon Industrial Zone in Yangon on Tuesday after weeks of labour tension at the firm” (24 May).

Pakistan

KP Cabinet approves first ever child labour policy in Pakistan: “The provincial cabinet also approved the Child Labour Policy. It was claimed this policy was the first of its kind in the country and had been introduced by the PTI government. A handout said the policy would discourage child labour and help in preparing solid strategy for preventing the factors responsible for child labour” (25 May).

Sri Lanka

Kilinochchi garment workers denounce harsh working conditions: “[Workers at MAS Active Vaanavil and MAS Intimates say] cheap food supplied at the factories was substandard. Many employees suffer from physical and psychological complaints, including swelling, spinal and joint pain and varicose veins. Some female workers complained that some colleagues had miscarriages because of the extended time they must stand” (22 May). [Ed’s note: both factories are owned by MAS Holdings, which produces for “Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer and Calvin Klein.]

Vietnam

Minimum wage must cover basic needs: “A minimum wage should be set that it is sufficient to attain a basic standard of living for labourers and their families, a new resolution on wage reform issued by the 12th Party Central Committee said” (24 May).

MANUFACTURERS

Archroma breaks new ground with new aniline-free indigo for denim: “Archroma … presented an aniline-free [below limits of detection] denim indigo dye at the recent Planet Textiles 2018 Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The brand new dye provides a non-toxic way to produce the traditional, iconic indigo blue that consumers associate with denim and jeans” (28 May)

Experts discuss the problem of sustainability in denim: “[P]rices have been pushed down to a limit that seems almost impossible. And consumers don’t really comprehend the consequences. Because they can’t see the difference between a sustainably-produced jean and one that’s not. And that’s led to overconsumption” (25 May). [Ed’s note: companies mentioned include Lenzing and Candiani Denim.]

Waste to pollute water of 2 rivers: “[Tarasima Apparels Ltd.] is building a drain to release its waste water into the Dhaleshwari and Gazikhali rivers by grabbing land of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) in Nayadingi area of Saturia upazila” (25 May). [Ed’s note: according to the company’s website, it supplies to major retailers and labels.]

Colorifix nominated for award: Sustainable textile dyeing company Colorifix has been nominated for an ANDAM Fashion Innovation Award, selected by a 24-member judging panel (24 May).

May 31 deadline for registration of chemicals under REACH: “May 31 is the final deadline for companies to register all chemicals manufactured, imported or placed on the EU market above one tonne per year, under REACH—the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Without registration, substances cannot be manufactured or imported into the EU beginning June 1, 2018” (23 May).

Lenzing to expand capacities for Tencel Luxe filament yarn: “The Lenzing Group is set to expand its capacities for Tencel Luxe filament yarn. The company will invest up to € 30 million in a further pilot line at the Lenzing site” (23 May).

Nanollose unveils “world first” plant-free rayon fabric: “[B]iotechnology company Nanollose has unveiled a ground-breaking eco-friendly fabric made from the “world’s first” plant-free viscose-rayon fibre” (23 May). [Ed’s note: see more here.]

Patented treatment makes cotton dyeing more sustainable: ColorZen has been named the winner of the Innovation Competition at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. The pretreatment changes the charge of cotton to positive so it absorbs far mere dye during the dyeing process – and requires up to 95% fewer chemicals, 90% less water, 50% less dye, and zero salt” (23 May).

(Photo by OrlandoCCO)

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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