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31-05-2013
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^ I don't know if he is sincerely trying to promote labor rights or just hurt H&M, who happens to be his competitor.


Spanish artist Yolanda Domínguez shocked shoppers on Madrid's emblematic Gran Via on Tuesday by staging a re-enactment of last month's Bangladesh factory disaster to raise awareness about the working conditions in the Asian country's textile industry.
the local.es



youtube/Yolanda Domínguez

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31-05-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eterna View Post
^ I don't know if he is sincerely trying to promote labor rights or just hurt H&M, who happens to be his competitor.
he pays his factory workers $16+ an hour. H&M's factory workers get paid around $38 A MONTH.

in addition, items from bangladesh that go into the US do not have to pay a duty.

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Last edited by lucy92; 31-05-2013 at 08:56 AM.
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04-08-2013
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So I've just come into a little sum of money and I was thinking about what to do with it when I thought I ought to put my money where my mouth is and make a donation to a organization that works in some capacity with improving conditions for garment workers. Only trouble is, I'm not sure of which organization would be most reputable. I know about the Clean Clothes Campaign (which sounds pretty great) but was looking for some other charities so I can throughly do my research before donating. Thought I would ask my fellow tFSers for suggestions since Google searches are coming up with some iffy suggestions. Thanks dears!

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04-08-2013
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^ Suggest checking Charity Navigator for ratings on organizations you're considering. I know of a number of charities I like, but none in this area specifically. You could also put some of your money toward a fair trade purchase of some sort

http://fairandsquareimports.com/

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16-08-2013
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This is from the editor's page of the current issue of Yes! magazine by Christa Hillstrom, who also edits humangoods.net ... the theme of the issue is The human cost of stuff.

Quote:
Last April, I met a 24-year-old Bangladeshi seamstress who broke her arm and leg jumping from an upper-story factory window to escape a fire. Sumi Abedin worked at Tazreen Fashions in Dhaka, sewing 4000 seams a day for major Western clothing brands. Management kept the exits locked to prevent theft; when the building caught fire in Nov 2012, workers were trapped inside. As smoke filled the building, Abedin and a coworker leaped from the window. "I thought if I saved my body from burning, my parents would be able to identify it," Abedin said. She survived the fall; her companion did not. That day, 112 workers died.
I asked Abedin, who was in the United States campaigning for safety improvements in major brands' supply chains, how it felt to see Americans up close, buying $50 garments made in Bangladesh when that country's minimum wage is $38/month.

She smiled and slightly shook her head. She had no words. [Editorial comment: No words she felt she could say.]
...
We have more access to cheap stuff than ever, but much of it has been drained of meaning. We causually toss what we're tired of and rarely know who made it. Factories have almost disappeared from our communities; we no longer buy stuff made by our friends and neighbors. When our things come from all over the world--mined in the Congo, picked in Uzbekistan, woven in India--we're less likely to see and understand the consequences of our consumption....

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26-08-2013
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^Wow, what a chilling story. And certainly one that no one should ever have to experience. I mean, the quote in bold lettering pretty much says it all, showing just how bad the garment industry is. I love Yes! magazine, they always have great and insightful articles and are at the forefront of change. Thanks for sharing.

Also, I was on the People Tree website earlier (looking for a few items for fall) when I saw that Zandra Rhodes collaborated with the company on a capsule collection, which is pretty neat. Always glad to see a 'big' name in fashion take time to learn about ethically made clothing and supporting such causes.

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27-08-2013
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wow, this is pretty bad.

Old Navy Garments Made by 12 Year Olds

WASHINGTON -- Faced with footage of Bangladeshi girls as young as 12 working on jeans with "Old Navy" labels, Old Navy's parent company, Gap Inc., says it believes one of its contractors may have improperly sold its product to a wholesaler without its knowledge.
The disturbing footage of child labor was part of an in-depth investigative report by Al Jazeera on working conditions in Bangladesh's garment industry. The 25-minute "Fault Lines" segment focused primarily on the contracting practices of Walmart, whose clothing turned up in the deadly Tazreen factory fire that claimed at least 117 lives in 2012.
But the program's most provocative scene involved clothes marked "Old Navy."
Al Jazeera reporter Anjali Kamat gained entry to a Bangladesh "finishing house" by pretending to be an interested buyer. Finishing houses are where workers put the final touches on garments, affixing buttons and tags and the like. While inside the facility, Al Jazeera's crew captured footage of a 12-year-old girl putting elastic into a pair of jeans with an Old Navy label. They also found barcoded store tags bearing the retailer's name.
In the report, which was produced by Laila Al-Arian, Kamat said that roughly half of the 20 girls inside the facility were under the age of 14.
"Through the barcodes on the tags we found at the finishing house, we were able to match the garments to ones at Old Navy stores in the U.S.," she narrated.
Gap gave the network a response pre-broadcast, saying the clothes that Kamat and her team had uncovered were either "counterfeit or improperly acquired." The company also posted a more lengthy statement online.
"Gap Inc. does not do business with Samie's Finishing House, the facility highlighted in Al Jazeera America's 'Fault Lines' program," the company said. "A prompt investigation of Samie’s Finishing House found no Gap Inc. products and no evidence that any Gap Inc. brands had placed orders there."
The company also leveled a serious charge at the network: Al Jazeera's report was not only "misleading" but "false," it claimed.
According to Gap's own investigation, the clothes do not appear to be knockoffs. (The counterfeiting theory would not explain the store tags Al Jazeera found in the first place. If someone were bootlegging Old Navy clothes, why go to the trouble of creating fake store tags, complete with barcodes, if they would never be sold in actual Old Navy stores?)
Having investigated the matter on the ground, Gap says it seems one of their contractors may have pawned off product that had failed a quality inspection without destroying the "Old Navy" tags. The company allows suppliers to sell rejected product so long as all its markings are stripped.
"Our investigation has led us to believe that one of our vendors may have improperly sold rejected product that failed to meet our qualifications, without removing or destroying our official labels and tags before selling to a local wholesaler, in violation of our vendor agreement," Gap said. "This is a serious breach of our policy, and our team on the ground is in discussions with the vendor to ensure appropriate action will be taken."
If this is the case, it does not contradict Al Jazeera's reporting. Kamat said in the report: "Through the barcodes on the tags we found at the finishing house, we were able to match the garments to ones at Old Navy stores in the U.S." She did not say those particular clothes ended up in stores, only that the items matched others back in the U.S., i.e., were not counterfeit. Neither did she assert that Gap Inc. had a relationship with the finishing house.
As Kamat told HuffPost, "What we can say is that we saw and filmed little girls working on Old Navy jeans."
Scott Nova, head of the Worker Rights Consortium, a well-regarded nonprofit that monitors factory conditions, told HuffPost he thought Gap's explanation was a "hail Mary." (Al Jazeera had consulted Nova on the clothes and interviewed him at length as part of the segment.) According to Nova, Gap's contention of an unauthorized sale -- a best-case scenario, public relations-wise -- would still leave the company with plenty of explaining to do, since its contractor's actions apparently landed its product in a facility that employs young girls.
"[E]ven if we lived in some parallel universe where this explanation had credibility, it would not exonerate Gap," Nova said in an email. "They still would have to admit that they chose a grossly unscrupulous supplier and then failed to impose any discipline on that supplier (while nonetheless profiting from the relationship)."
Gap declined to respond to Nova's comments. When asked by HuffPost if Gap considered the episode a failure of oversight and accountability, a spokeswoman said it stood by its earlier statement, which stressed the company's intolerance for child labor and concern for the children in Al Jazeera's footage. The company said it had "notified local authorities and international advocacy agencies so that steps can be taken to ensure the children are cared for and protected." It also called the vendor's sale a "serious breach of policy."
In the wake of the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than a thousand workers in Bangladesh earlier this year, Gap, Walmart and a number of other U.S.-based retailers declined to join mostly European brands in signing a binding safety agreement for that country. Instead, Gap and Walmart spearheaded a separate safety program of their own, which labor rights experts like Nova have said lacks teeth.
Al Jazeera's report had a single unifying theme: that the complex contracting schemes used by Western retailers can leave them oblivious to abuses committed by agents and subcontractors down the line. However the "Old Navy" jeans wound up in a finishing house that apparently employs underage girls, it seems to have happened without the awareness or approval of Gap Inc.
As a Bangladeshi factory auditor said in Al Jazeera's report, "Using agents means you don't know your entire supply chain. You don't have any idea. That's the danger."
(huffingtonpost)

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27-08-2013
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^ As I continue reading the current issue of Yes! magazine (theme is stuff & the real cost of all our stuff), it's explaining that even for well-intentioned companies (which I'm not at all sure Old Navy is), it's difficult to know their entire supply chain.

One article featured comments from Eileen Fisher's corporate responsibility officer, explaining that when asked if they used any fabric from a particular country, she wasn't immediately able to answer. For a sizeable company, there may be tens of thousands of points in their supply chain.

What you see here with Gap, Old Navy, Walmart, etc. is their being confronted with direct knowledge of severe problems in their supply chains yet and refusing to fully address them. Needless to say, I cannot get behind that.

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27-08-2013
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here's a company who seem to be moving in the right direction...

https://ca.everlane.com

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27-08-2013
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it's all a smokescreen.

there is no excuse for these brands to hire these unscrupulous vendors. especially pleading ignorance when they are giving these vendors tens of millions of dollars worth of business.

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27-08-2013
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Quote:
"Our investigation has led us to believe that one of our vendors may have improperly sold rejected product that failed to meet our qualifications, without removing or destroying our official labels and tags before selling to a local wholesaler, in violation of our vendor agreement," Gap said. "This is a serious breach of our policy, and our team on the ground is in discussions with the vendor to ensure appropriate action will be taken."
I just love how the spokesperson says that a vendor may have sold defective garments bound for Old Navy stores is a "serious breach of our policy," yet no real word on the fact that time and time again, companies within the Gap Inc corporation have been cited for mistreatment of workers. Such irresponsible behavior isn't talked about and they just blame others for their actions when everyone with some sense knows they are lying. It's interesting ta-ta, that you mention that even a respected company like Eileen Fisher has their issues and doesn't always know exactly whats going on. It's a bit mind boggling to think about. You would think that those who run fashion brands would want to have a sense of transparency and keep track of everything that goes on within a company. But maybe not knowing (or at least pretending not to know what goes on) is how people ease their conscious.

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27-08-2013
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^ I think the problem is that the company hires contractors, those contractors hire subcontractors, and so on, and so on. Then they're on the other side of the earth. And if they know when auditors are coming, they can unlock the doors, connect the smoke alarms, or undo whatever life-threatening measures they've put in place.

I was reading that the latest method to find out what's really going on is to find out from the workers. There are at least a couple different organizations who have set up hotlines where workers can anonymously report on conditions in their own language. Companies can pay a fee to be informed through these channels of what's really going on in their factories. Eileen Fisher uses a service like this, and following recent disasters, Walmart has signed up for a different one.

Let me find a quote ... this is from Yes! I might add that this is a magazine that strongly opposes Walmart & refuses to publish anything about their greenwashing activities.

Quote:
The average Fortune 1000 company has 20,000 to 40,000 subcontractors that span the globe. Impotent regulation, weak law enforcement, and limited investment in monitoring and verification of working conditions make it difficult even for well-intentioned companies to make sure their products are produced without exploitation....

The supply chains are complex, and there's no single organization monitoring the way the things we buy are produced....

Generally, a company is not liable for the practices of a sub-contractor [I assume he means legally, as it's clear that they are morally responsible]. Many companies do try to establish some ethical sourcing practices, but information is hard to come by and there's no central source for such data.

Eileen Fisher, Inc., sells women's clothes and accessories and generates more than $300 million in annual revenue. It has a profit-sharing arrangement with its US workers, and has a strong commitment to progressive human rights practices.

Still, according to Amy Hall, director of social consciousness, the brand's corporate responsibility arm, when a nonprofit wrote to them asking if Uzbek cotton was used in their clothing, she had to admit they didn't know fore sure. In Uzbekistan, chidren are routinely forced by the government to leave school during the harvest and pick cotton--cotton that ends up in garments sold all over the world.

"Every single fiber we use, there are questions about it," Hall said. "How is it sourced, how is it processed? Can it be done better ...?" The questions, she said, have led them to where they are today: wanting to deeply and thoroughly map their supply chain to provide a more complete picture of where things come from and the conditions and needs of workers all along the way.
It seems clear to me that it's not easy to know exactly what's going on. But when it's in your face & you won't step up ... those are the brands we should all be boycotting for sure IMO.

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01-09-2013
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Has anyone looked at the Local Wisdom project??? I found the website awhile ago and I'm just gobsmacked by all the inspiration on the website. It collects ethnographic research on repurposing clothing and challenging the fashion industry's dependency on fast fashion. The creators of the site photograph and interview individuals about a particular outfit or garment asking them what it means to them and how they've made it into a sustainable outfit and whatnot. Also, I've found that by reading such stories and looking at the photographs it's given me particular ideas as to how I can reuse my own wardrobe.



http://www.localwisdom.info/

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11-10-2013
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Please nominate a brand that you think exemplifies these values: Nominations for the Honorary Award for Ethical Fashion for the 2013 "Tiffies"

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11-12-2013
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Quote:
H&M May Raise Prices (for a Good Reason)

Of all the high street retailers, H&M has, at least publicly, appeared the most actively dedicated to sustainability, and soon that may come at a financial cost to shoppers.

For instance, it has an “eco-friendly” Conscious Collection, a recycling program and has been dedicated to using organic cotton. Recently, and perhaps more importantly, it has become more transparent about its manufacturing practices, disclosing the names of its supplier factories in its latest sustainability report.

Now, it’s going a step further by trying to improve conditions for workers in those factories — important given the recent barrage of deadly factory fires in Bangladesh. Last month, it release a roadmap outlining how it will pay all of its garment workers a living wage. And, though it wasn’t mentioned in H&M’s roadmap, part of that plan may involve raising prices. Helena Helmersson, head of sustainability at H&M, told AFP Monday that price increases “might be a possibility” in the long term.

A rep for H&M told us Wednesday: “We don´t think that this strategy will result in a price increase for our customers. It is an investment in our customer offering and will benefit H&M long term. It is important to remember that wages are only one of several factors that influence the sourcing costs and the prices in our stores. We also believe that this will lead to more stable production markets, with better efficiency and productivity. Long term this will be profitable for both us and our suppliers.”

When H&M co-hosted a panel discussion on sustainability in fashion this April, the consensus was that companies — H&M included — were generally going to put profit above sustainability. That’s just how business works. So it makes sense that H&M might have to raise its prices — but are shoppers ready and willing to pay more, even if they understand why?
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