THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Kathmandu (reshaping outdoor eco apparel), and more.

Reports released this week:

  • No reports released since the last issue.

In general news:

  • Is fast fashion giving way to the sustainable wardrobe?

  • All dressed up and nowhere to go … except to landfills: fast consumer fashion habits add to Hong Kong’s textile waste

  • Killer cotton: Fashion’s parasitic relationship with Indian farmers

  • Is sustainability a class issue?

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: workplace deaths halve; 60% of garment worker jobs threatened by 2041; FWF releases labour minute calculator

  • Cambodia: government steps in to reassure striking workers over unpaid indemnity

  • India: factory owner released on bail over fire; lottery for mill worker homes

  • Malaysia: NGO concerned over foreign worker pay deduction

  • Myanmar: garment workers strike at Chinese-owned factory

  • Thailand: wage increases for garment workers

  • Turkey: minimum wage increase

Manufacturers in this issue include: Tintex, We are SpinDye, Tonello, Microban, RadiciGroup, Archroma, Freudenberg Performance Materials, Cosmos Studio and Jeanologia (working on water security), and more.

Quotes of the week:

  • “The structure did not have a fire alarm, fire extinguishers or any other fire safety measures.” Mumbai police officer investigating a garment factory fire in which four died (26 Dec).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

From life cycle impact assessments to bio-based synthetics, how Kathmandu is reshaping outdoor eco apparel: “To find out Kathmandu’s key ingredients to making a sustainable brand, we spoke to team members Oliver Milliner (Sustainability Specialist) and Manu Rastogi (Textile Research & Development / Responsible Materials Manager)” (28 Dec).

NEWS & REPORTS 

Is fast fashion giving way to the sustainable wardrobe? “[S]ome fashion experts believe the party could be coming to an end for such disposable clothing and a backlash could be brewing, just as it has against takeaway coffee cups, plastic packaging and meat” (30 Dec). [Ed’s note: over 150 people chimed in on comments.]

All dressed up and nowhere to go … except to landfills: fast consumer fashion habits add to Hong Kong’s textile waste: “Discarded garments from changing consumer patterns on the rise as city has to explore ways to process its own material. Durable garment quality contributing to the challenge of breaking down such products for recycling” (29 Dec).

Killer cotton: Fashion’s parasitic relationship with Indian farmers: “Clothing manufacturers are preying on the developing world for their cheap capital and labor to maintain speedy production. Fast fashion, the business model behind this, has increased demand for cotton used to produce most garments. Indian farmers provide a cheap version of the crop, a version genetically modified by seed monopolist Monsanto, which has created an inescapable dependency on the company; perpetuating bankruptcies, illnesses, and ultimately suicides” (28 Dec).

Is sustainability a class issue? “As we have discussed sustainable brands a lot here in IMAGE, we now know there are lots out there to choose from. However, when I look over these brands, what is glaringly obvious is the price-point. Shopping sustainably is not cheap, and why should it be you ask?” (28 Dec).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh   

Workplace deaths halve in apparel: “Better workplace safety measures have cut the number of deaths in garment factories compared to any other sectors, Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation found. Some 28 workers were killed in the garment sector this year while the number was 52 in the previous year, according to a report of the foundation” (28 Dec).

By 2041 digitalisation will threaten 5.38 million jobs in Bangladesh: “The study revealed the garment sector could be the most affected by advancements in artificial intelligence and robotic process automation. The garment sector employs 4.4 million workers and could stand to lose 60% of its workforce” (28 Dec).

Factories achieving initial CAP completion: A list by the Alliance of all 463 factories successfully completing the remediation phase (28 Dec).

Labour minute calculator for Bangladesh now online: “[Fair Wear Foundation] is proud to introduce its new Labour Minute Calculator for Bangladesh. The Calculator enables suppliers and buyers to determine the cost of one minute of labour in a factory” (Dec 18).

Cambodia  

All benefits will be provided: Labour Ministry: “The Labour Ministry on Friday issued a statement asking all factory workers to remain calm and trust that all benefits they are lawfully entitled to will be provided in due time. The statement came after nearly 2,000 garment workers from the W&D factory in Meanchey district last week continued a strike over unpaid seniority indemnity” (31 Dec).

Workers strike over unpaid indemnity: “Nearly 2,000 garment workers from the W&D factory in Meanchey district yesterday continued a strike for the third day over unpaid seniority indemnity. Tan Da, a worker who claims to have worked for five years at the factory, said he and other who have worked there longer have not received their dues as required by the Labour Law” (28 Dec).

India

Mumbai fire: Factory owner held for negligence, released on bail: “Police on Monday arrested the owner of a garment factory at Damu Nagar in Kandivli (East), where a fire on Sunday claimed four lives, on charges of negligence. Ravi Dhanu, 43, was later released on bail. Santosh Singh, who had taken the upper floor on rent from Dhanu, is wanted in the case” (26 Dec).

Lottery for 8,000 homes for mill workers in 15 days: Maharashtra CM: “Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis announced on Monday that a lottery for 8,000 houses for mill workers will be announced in the next 15 days. Fadnavis made the announcement after the mills workers’ union met him with their long-pending demand. The 8,000 houses are located in Navi Mumbai near Panvel” (25 Dec).

Malaysia

Migrant worker wage cuts to prevent runaways is forced labour: “[Malaysiakini is] perturbed by the Human Resources Ministry’s proposal for employers to deduct 20 percent of their foreign workers' basic salaries as a means to bond workers to their employers. Minister M Kulasegaran said the proposal, among others, aimed at preventing foreign workers from fleeing, and to avoid employers from incurring losses on investments to bring the workers in” (31 Dec).

Myanmar

Garment workers strike over sacking of co-workers: “More than 100 workers at a Chinese-owned factory in Yangon went on strike after a labour dispute with management resulted in the sacking of seven co-workers, a union leader said on Sunday. The striking workers at Cixing Knitting Factory called on the management to rehire the seven workers and to obey labour laws and labour agreements” (31 Dec).

Pakistan

President urged to ensure provision of labour rights: “Civil society and labour rights activists from all provinces of Pakistan have urged President Dr Arif Alvi to ensure provision of fundamental human rights including labour rights to all citizens ensured under the Constitution of Pakistan” (31 Dec).

Thailand

Wage increase for skilled workers: “Under the new wage structure, which was announced by permanent secretary for labour … level 1 seamstresses are entitled to a daily pay of at least 345 baht [per day]” (28 Dec)

Turkey

Minimum wage in Turkey rises to TL 2,020 with 26 percent increase: “The commission made up of the labor ministry, trade and employer unions decided on minimum wage to be applied in Turkey for 2019 as 2,020 Turkish liras ($380), Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk announced Tuesday” (25 Dec).

Zimbabwe

Workers demand 50% salary adjustment to match price increases: “The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has reiterated its earlier demand for a 50 percent upward review of wages and salaries across the board to compensate for the price increases of basic commodities” (30 Dec).

MANUFACTURERS

RU prof develops eco-friendly technology for textile: “A professor of the Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Rajshahi University (RU), has developed a low cost eco-friendly technology for textile industries of Bangladesh recently. The technology will play a very positive role in significantly reducing environmental pollution by the textile industry” (27 Dec).

‘Curb discharge of chemicals’: “Experts from industry and government present at a one-day conference organized by Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA) on Wednesday, strongly advised industries to adopt technology to minimize discharge of hazardous chemicals. The conference was aimed at discussing issues pertaining to Responsible Textile Production through sustainable chemicals management through Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) in textile and allied industries” (27 Dec).

Industry calls for action on water security: “An increasing number of companies are waking up to the importance of water security, and CDP’s 2017 Global Water Report shows a 193% increase in businesses leading the way on water stewardship. Neonyt Fashionsustain, the progressive conference format of the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation, is taking a “neo-new view” of the subject of water in the textiles industry, next month” (27 Dec). [Ed’s note: mentions Tintex, We are SpinDye, Tonello, Microban, RadiciGroup, Archroma, Freudenberg Performance Materials, Cosmos Studio and Jeanologia.]

Moral Fiber seeks to close the textile loop through innovative recycling: “Moral Fiber … has developed a three-step chemical process that can extract polyester from mixed blend materials to create a new yarn, billed as the world’s first textile product made entirely from old clothing. The equipment needed for this transformation can fit into a small shipping container, making it easy to deploy” (27 Dec).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

* 15 – 17 January, Berlin: Neonyt Fashionsustain: The Neonyt Trade Show is the world’s biggest exhibition for sustainable fashion.

21 – 23 January, New York City: Texworld USA: The winter show will focus on sustainability.

22 – 24 January, Medellin, Columbia: Colombiatex 2019: includes highlighting the best practices of 25 companies that are committed to this subject with innovation, social and environmental responsibility.

24 January, London: 8th Future Fabrics Expo: “Source from 5000+ fabrics, yarns, leathers, trims with a reduced environmental impact from over 150 mills and suppliers.”

29 January – 07 February, Various locations in India/Pakistan: 1 Day Leather Processing Course: “Do you source from India or Pakistan? Get your supply chain trained in leather processing.”

18 February, Izmir, Turkey: GOTS Regional Seminar Turkey: “Through focused and challenging discussions, this one-day seminar shall address pressing issues relevant to the organic textiles industry.” 

25 February, Tempe, Arizona: GRI Reporters’ Summit: North America: “3rd Annual GRI Reporters’ Summit: Practical Solutions to Improve your Sustainability Reporting.”

26 – 28 February, Phoenix, AZ: GreenBiz 19: “Premier annual event for sustainable business leaders.”

28 February, London: The Nature of Fashion: “The panel, which will include Edwina Ehrman and Kate Fletcher, will explore how to use fashion as a pro-environmental force.”

02 May, Dhaka: Bangladesh Fashionology Summit: Transparency through technology, technology for decent work and environment, future skills development.

15 – 16 May, Copenhagen: Copenhagen Fashion Summit: “Join us this May when fashion’s most visionary and innovative minds gather to discuss the most critical issues facing our industry and planet.”

10 – 12 June, London: Ethical Corporation’s 18th Responsible Business Summit Europe: “It’s time to Lead: Innovate, Engage and Collaborate.”

18 – 20 June, Minneapolis, USA: Circularity 19: “Circularity 19 will bring together more than 500 thought leaders and practitioners to define and accelerate the circular economy.”

22 June, Barcelona: Plante Textiles 2019: “The 10th edition of Planet Textiles will be a seminal event on sustainability in the textile manufacturing sector and will see an unrivalled gathering of experts from the entire fashion value chain.”

(Photo image, CCO)

Disclaimer: The Fashion Sustainability Week in Review (FSWIR) is a twice-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 International or any individual associated with the company.

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