NETZWERK FAIRE MODE knowledge moves to www.getchanged.net

You have surely noticed that I have stopped posting on this wordpress blog.

We are not gone. We have just moved to: www.getchanged.net.

Out new platform GET CHANGED! The Fair Fashion Network just launched a business platform that helps retailers to more easily find fair fashion. These are some screenshots:

GET CHANGED!

GET CHANGED! Screenshot

We established our GET CHANGED! business platform in collaboration with Messe Frankfurt (Ethical Fashion Show Berlin & Green Showroom) and BSD Consulting. And in April we will launch the GET CHANGED! consumer platform.

If you are a retailer, you can register to the existing business platform for free.

If you are a brand, you can upload your profile to this platform, if you fulfil our sustainability criteria. Please ask us for details (m.starmanns-aatt-getchanged.net).

If you are a consumer: We will soon expand the GET CHANGED! platform to a consumer platform, which will then help consumers find fair fashion in their town & online. We start with the main German speaking markets (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), but are likely to bring the platform to other markets. If you are interested in a collaboration, please inquire.

Finally, the information you found on this blog has moved to our magazine on the GET CHANGED! website. This magazine continues what I did here – i.e. providing information about fashion and sustainability. Also the Newsletter Fashion & Sustainability, which we posted in 2012 on this blog, became part of our new magazine. It is now called Medienschau/Wochenschau

For all, who email-subscribed to this starmanns1.wordpress blog: We transferred your subscription to our bi-weekly GET CHANGED! Newsletter. Even if you do are not able to read German: look for the Medienschau/Wochenschau Link in the newsletter. It provides you with news clipping in German and English. If you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe from it at the bottom of the mail (you should get the first newsletter this week).

Thank you for being with us!

Best wishes!

Mark


NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 16 | 4.9.2012

Dear readers,

here are some highlights of our latest newsletter: “Fashion & Sustainability No. 16″ (PDF):

  • Must read: The New York Times published a long and interesting report on the situation of the garment industry in Bangladesh: „Export Powerhouse Feels Pangs of Labor Strife“ & BBC reports that Bangladesh hopes to attract investors via low labour costs
  • Many articles again claim that due to rising labour costs Chinese investors are increasingly looking into Bangladesh for outsourcing.
  • The German government answered a parliamentary question on the CSR Action Programme by the Green Party
  • Have you ever worn clothes made of tobacco?
  • The CCC criticizes the ILO Better Work Programme in Cambodia
  • Messe Frankfurt published its third issue of the Texpertise newsletter „Sustainability & Textiles“ 2012

NETZWERK FAIRE MODE &
KERN KOMMUNIKATION Read the rest of this entry »


NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 15 | 21.8.2012

Dear readers,

We changed our PDF of this newsletter to two columns so you can better read it on your Ebook, if you have one.

These are the highlights of the last fortnight:

  • In Dezember the Exposure and Dialogueprogramme e.V. offers a ten-days trip to Zambia to experience three days life with cotton farmers (very recommendable).
  • Chinadaily provides a nice overview of the minimum wages in China between 870 and 1500 (=$236) yuan a month.
  • The Indian State Mayhco bans selling of Bt cotton seeds and soon India will have its own „Indian Standard for Organic Textiles“ (ISOT). This shall help to trace cotton more easily.
  • Long and interesting article on the Causes of RMG unrest in the Daily Star
  • German MdBs of the Green party asked how the government reacts to the Play Fair Campaign & the Gree party has more than 30 question regarding the governmental CSR action plan. And CIR still collects signatures to make public prodcurement more fair.
  • The photojournalist Claudia Janke with the Magazine „Dear Clare“ have taken a look at Indian garment manufacturing by Children.
  • Capvis fired the long-time CEO and former of Hessnatur, we list two comments on this.

Kind regards

NETZWERK FAIRE MODE &
KERN KOMMUNIKATION

1.   CSR

Grüne: Kleine Anfrage zur CSR

Samstag, 11. August 2012

Die Nationale Strategie zur gesellschaftlichen Verantwortung von Unternehmen – Aktionsplan Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – interessiert die Fraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in einer Kleinen Anfrage (17/10274). Die Abgeordneten wollen unter anderem wissen, welche Maßnahmen die Bundesregierung seit ihrem Beschluss zum Aktionsplan im Jahr 2010 bisher konkret umgesetzt habe. Weiter fragen sie nach den bis zum Ende der Legislaturperiode geplanten Maßnahmen und dem Termin für die vollständige Umsetzung des Aktionsplans. REGIONS

2.   WORKING CONDITIONS

Trade union rights violations are still global

Maila Times, 14.8.2012

My hubby brought home some publications from an annual International Labour Organization (ILO) conference he attended in Geneva. …  The study found trade union rights violations in 45 African, 27 American, 26 Asia-Pacific, 30 European, and 14 Middle East countries. Let me share some survey highlights I find very interesting, and which should merit discussions among all those concerned with labor in our country. …

3.   WAGES

Shenzhen has the highest minimum wage (China)

Chinadaily, 10.8.2012

Shenzhen has the highest minimum wage — 1,500 yuan ($236) a month — among 18 regions that have adjusted their pay standards for lower-income groups.

Shanghai municipality and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region … minimum monthly wages of 1,450 yuan and 1,340 yuan respectively.

Beijing has the highest hourly salary, at 14 yuan, followed by 13.4 yuan in Xinjiang and 13.3 yuan in Shenzhen.

The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has the lowest hourly minimum wage, at 8.5 yuan.

Jiangxi province, with a minimum wage of 870 yuan a month, ranked last among the provinces.

Hainan province, which used to be last, has increased its lowest monthly pay level from 830 yuan to 1,050 yuan.

Local governments are required to raise their minimum-wage levels at least once every two years.

The State Council has called in the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) launched in June to raise the minimum wage by at least 13 percent a year. …

Trade unions seek revision of minimum wages (Bangladesh)

TNN Aug 9, 2012

Trade unions have requested chief minister Naveen Patnaik to declare the revised minimum wage in the state soon. …

The final proposal came from labour and ESI department after it invited suggestions, objections from public and labour organizations on department’s wage hike suggestion. Earlier, the labour department in a notification on April 20 had proposed a hike in minimum wage for unskilled workers from Rs 90 to Rs 125 and for semi-skilled workers from Rs 103 to Rs 145 a day. So also the minimum wages for skilled and highly skilled labourers were increased from Rs 116 to Rs 165 and Rs 129 to Rs 180 respectively. …

ILO warns of opposite effect of wage cuts (Bangladesh)

New Age BD, 12.8.2012

The International Labour Organisation warned Friday that cutting wages in a bid to boost competitiveness and cut unemployment might turn out to hurt economic growth. …

Wages fall behind living costs: study (Cambodia)

The Nation, 17.8.2012

The daily minimum wage increase to Bt300, in effect since April 1, has not kept pace with daily living costs, according to a survey reported yesterday by the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC).

As of this past May, daily expenses averaged Bt462.31 – Bt113.92 more than August 2011, the survey said. Workers’ debts rose to approximately 30 to 40 per cent of their incomes. The survey, conducted on 2,516 workers in eight provinces including Bangkok, found that 76 per cent saw their wage increase after April, while 18 per cent got the raise with conditions; 5.1 per cent received no wage hike, despite the law. …

Mixed reviews on wages. Minimum pay scheme still a work in progress (Cambodia)

Bankok Post, 15.8.2012

… The government has honoured its promise to set a 300-baht daily minimum wage for workers and a 15,000-baht monthly starting salary for bachelor’s graduates albeit partially.

Somphob Manarungsan, an economist and rector at the Panyapiwat Institute of Technology, hailed the government’s efforts, saying salaries in the government sector have been quite low in contrast with ever-rising expenses. …

4.   ENVIRONMENT

Cotton life cycle data aids sustainability

Ecotextile News, 6.8.2012

Key benchmarking tools from Cotton Incorporated were used to help complete two recent sustainability indicators – the Field to Market National Report on Agricultural Sustainability and the Higg Index by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

5.   COTTON and other fibres

Indian cotton prices top global level

The Global Times, Xinhua, 15.8.2012

For the first time in three years cotton prices in India, which is the world’s second largest supplier, have risen past global levels, triggering a scramble for the fiber from overseas, as record shipments and lower-than- expected arrivals of the commodity have depleted local stocks.

Domestic cotton prices are about 88 cents per pound, freight on board, around 14 percent higher than the African fiber and 10 percent more than the crop in the United States, the world’s largest cotton exporter. …

Indien bald mit eigenem Standard für Bio-Baumwolle

Fashion United, 13.8.2012

Indien ist derzeit der größte Produzent organischer Baumwolle der Welt. Jetzt will es mit dem Indian Standard for Organic Textiles (ISOT) bald ein eigenes Qualitätszeichen einführen, das den Lebenszyklus der Baumwollfaser direkt von der Ernte bis zur fertigen Kleidung dokumentiert. Der zur Zeit verwendete Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) greift erst beim Herstellungsprozess der Baumwolle.

“Dies erlaubt nicht, die Nachverfolgbarkeit und Unversehrtheit von organischen Textilien beizubehalten,” kommentierte Dr. PVSM Gouri von der indischen Zulassungsstelle für organische Produkte. “ISOT beginnt direkt von der ersten Phase des Baumwollanbaus und endet mit dem Endprodukt der gesamten Textil-Wertschöpfungskette. … Das Hauptziel von ISOT ist, die Glaubwürdigkeit von organischer Baumwolle in Indien beizubehalten und ein Gefühl für soziale Verantwortung zu schaffen,” sagte Dr. Gouri weiter. …

India to have its very own organic textile standard

State ban on Bt cotton seeds sold by Mahyco

TNN 10.8.2012

Confirming the widespread doubts in the Indian farming community about the efficiency of genetically modified cotton seeds, the Maharashtra government has banned the sale and distribution of Bt cotton seeds by a US multinational giant. …

6.   PUBLIC PROCUREMENT

Arbeitsbedingungen bei der Herstellung von Olympia-Werbeartikeln

Frage an die Bundesregierung von MdB Viola von Cramon, 26.06.2012,

Welche Schlüsse zieht die Bundesregierung aus den in dem Bericht “Kein Spiel mit Arbeitnehmerrechten” der Kampagne Play Fair an das IOC und nationale Organisationskomitees gemachten Empfehlungen (S. 23 und 24) und wie beabsichtigt sie, deshalb auf den DOSB einzuwirken, dass dieser seine Einflussmöglichkeiten nutzt, um die Berücksichtigung von Umwelt- und Sozialstandards bei allen mit der Marke Olympia verbundenen Prozessen einzufordern?

Die Antwort der Bundesregierung finden Sie hier.

7.   RECYCLING

Die Masche mit den alten Kleidern. Das Geschäft mit entsorgten Kleidungsstücken ist undurchsichtig

ZDF Mediathek, 19.8.2012

Über eine Million Tonnen Textilien werfen die Deutschen jedes Jahr weg. Das meiste landet allerdings nicht im Müll, sondern in der Altkleidersammlung. Immerhin 750.000 Tonnen jährlich.  Würde man die LKW mit den gesammelten Kleiderbergen aneinanderreihen, ergäbe sich eine Schlange von München bis Kiel. Aber kaum jemand weiß, was mit den Sachen wirklich passiert.

8.   FAST FASHION

Billigmode. Das Paradies der Damen

Berliner Zeitung, 8.8.2012

Und die Hölle der Wühltische. Zahlen wir einen zu hohen Preis für billige Mode?

GREEN FASHION SPECIAL FR

Frankfurter Rundschau, 07/2012

9.   REGIONS

BANGLADESH

China may emerge as a bigger market for BD apparels than US

Financial Express, 17.8.2012

China is likely to emerge as the ‘US plus’ market for Bangladeshi apparel products as export of the items to the second largest economy is rising fast, stakeholders say.

In the last fiscal year (FY 2011-12) apparel export to China crossed US$ 100 million, doubling from $ 52.81 million in FY 2010-11. The apparel export to China was only worth $ 18.95 million in FY 2009-10.

Poorest people buy one kilo cloths at Tk 150 in Rangpur

The Independent, 13.8.2012

Poorest of the poor in the city are buying Eid cloths for their kids from a market that sells wears by putting on a scale. Most of these unfortunate parents will celebrate the largest Muslim festival wearing old attires.   Near the Rangpur Stadium, there is a market, named Hanumantala market. It is the place where the cloths are sold by putting on scale and measuring their weights. …

“Productivity to end BD garment woe”

Banglanews 24, 13.8.2012

If the country wants to stop Western clothing brands and retailers from shifting their sourcing elsewhere, factory owners must improve productivity so they can afford higher wages and bring an end to recurrent labour unrest, industry experts believe. “However difficult, Bangladesh has to learn to copy China,” Mike Flanagan, CEO at UK-based consultancy Clothesource, argues. …

RMG workers agitate for wage, bonus
FE Report, 12.8.2012

Several hundred workers of a garment factory staged demonstration demanding wages and festival bonuses in the capital’s Kalyanpur area Saturday, police said. …

Workers scream rape, murder; govt denies

BD News 24, 12.8.2012

Thousands of Bangladeshi female workers, working for a readymade garments factory in Jordan, have claimed suffering from acute sense of insecurity, raising allegations that 23-24 of their colleagues have gone ‘missing’ over the last one year.

The workers also alleged that the Indian owner of ‘Classic Fashion’ and the Bangladeshi authorities there are tied to the ‘disappearances’ and ‘killings’. The female workers are also unable to return home as their passports have been taken by the owners. …

Govt trying to increase rates of RMG workers’ allowances

The Financial Express, 11.8.2012

The government has moved forward to compensate the ‘low paid’ apparel workers by raising the rates of allowances as the factory owners are reluctant to raise wages now, sources said.

Last week the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) has asked the Labour Director and the Chief Inspector of Factories to sit with the apparel factory owners and convince the latter to raise different allowances like house rent, and over-time work rates. …

RMG workers hold protests for wages, allowance

New Age BD, 10.8.2012

Labour unrest continued in different apparel factories in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj on Thursday to push for the payment of their outstanding wages and festival allowance before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Several hundred workers of a factory at Dhakeshwari in Shiddhirganj blocked the Narayanganj-Adamjee road and vandalised some vehicles as they found their factory closed without being paid wages and the festival allowance. …

Causes of RMG Unrest

Daily Star FORUM, Volume 6 | Issue 08 | August 2012 |

REFAYET ULLAH MIRDHA brings out the whole gamut of real causes that trigger incidents of frequent labour unrest in Ashulia and suggests ways to quell them. …

CAMBODIA

Mass fainting occurs at garment factory in northwestern Cambodia

DAP News, 16.8.2012

At least 50 garment workers at the M&V manufacturing factory in Kampong Chhnang province got fainted and were admitted to hospitals on Wednesday due to overwork and exhaustion, officials said. …

Asian Development Bank maps Cambodia’s needs

Phnom Phen Post, 14.8.2012

The private sector and industry professionals were engaged yesterday in the first consultation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government in an effort to understand the factors affecting Cambodia’s economy, and ultimately determined that human capital, infrastructure, innovation and regulatory issues as the key areas on which to focus.
The workshop was part of a year-long study being conducted by the ADB, in conjunction with the government, to help determine the needs that should be prioritised, such as human capital, infrastructure, governance, macro- and micro-economic policy, public sector delivery, poverty and inequality, among others in the policy advice that the ADB will provide to the Cambodian government. …

In The Life Of A Cambodian Garment Factory Worker

NO Sweat, 10.8.2012

While visiting the cluster of multinational garment factories in Phnom Penh’s EPZ (Exporting processing zone or Special Economic Zone), I dropped in with a group of workers as they were sitting down to dinner after their long day (between 10-12 hours) at the factory. …

The workers here tell me they pay $35 per month between them for their modest accommodation, in an attempt to save their wages for essentials; things like food, gas for their motos and the money they send home to their impoverished families in the countryside every month. …

CHINA

Unions target Fortune 500 firms over wage talks

China Daily, 20.8.2012

About 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies operating in China will have collective wage bargaining by the end of 2013, a senior union official said.

Approximately 80 percent of the 4,100 enterprises set up by Fortune 500 companies in China had introduced collective bargaining by the end of 2011, Zhang Jianguo, director of the collective contract department at the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, told China Daily. …

Chinese apparel makers eyeing Bangladesh as outsourcing hub

The Financial Express, 11.8.2012

Bangladesh’s apparel industry is likely to get a big boost as the world’s largest textile producer China has started outsourcing the job to the South Asian country due to the higher labour costs there, officials said Friday. …

Chinese apparel makers eyeing Bangladesh as outsourcing hub

CTEI, 13.8.2012

Bangladesh”s apparel industry is likely to get a big boost as the world”s largest textile producer China has started outsourcing the job to the South Asian country due to the higher labour costs there, officials said Friday.

Local garment manufacturers said China had placed some orders for manufacturing apparel items in Bangladesh as the labour cost is cheaper here than in the world”s fastest growing economy. …

H&M, Zara stuck in quality scandals in China

People’s Daily Online, 10.8.2012

… According to the China National Radio, the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement that 43 batches of clothing failed its recent spot check, including the clothing from famous brands such as H&M and Zara. The problems with the clothing include excessive PH levels, low color fastness, weak crack resistance, and lower fiber content than claimed as well as non-standard product identification. …

China’s social security system

China Labour Bulletin, Date?

During the era of China’s planned economy, social welfare, especially for the elderly, was primarily dependent on two pillars, the “iron rice bowl” of state-owned enterprises that provided workers with employment, healthcare and pensions, and the firm belief of parents that their children would provide for them in their old age. …

With the reform of state-owned enterprises, growth of the private economy, and implementation of strict family planning policies in China, those pillars began to crumble. The promise of lifetime employment was replaced with performance-based labour contracts at state-owned and private enterprises, while the one child policy severely limited the ability of children to care for their elderly parents in the future. These policies brought about immense societal changes and clearly amplified the need for a new, wide-ranging and effective social security system. …

Pakistan

Challenging status quo: Does the rule of law work?

The Express Tribune (with IHT), 17.8.2012

While the rule of law is pertinent to a country’s smooth functioning, our laws have to change to encourage equality, and not just benefit the elite population. This was the crux of a Workers Party Pakistan’s (WPP) tribunal held here on Thursday.

USA

Is New York City’s Garment Center Worth Saving?

by Anthony Lilore and Erica Wolf, Save the Garment Center, 08/14/12

At this very moment, thousands of people in Midtown Manhattan are designing and manufacturing apparel all within a 10-block radius in New York City’s Garment Center. The innovation, opportunity, and jobs that the Garment Center provides is essential not only to the New York City economy but also to the American fashion industry as a whole. In this 100-year-old neighborhood, the trim-and-fabric suppliers, pattern-makers, sewers, pressers, and finishers act as a self-sustaining ecosystem, providing support for established and emerging designers all over America. …

Sweatshops Are Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret. But They Don’t Exist in L.A. — Do They?

LA Times, Thursday, Jul 26 2012

“Sweatshops,” says Ilse Metchek with obvious distaste. “That word. You don’t even hear it anymore.” President of the California Fashion Association, Metchek is a shrewd and charming woman in her 70s, known in garment-industry circles as “the class historian.” Holding court at a manufacturers luncheon in an upper floor room at the California Market Center (aka “the CMC”) building downtown, she greets everyone by name and with a kiss on the cheek.

UZBEKISTAN

Uzbek PM bans child labour

14.08.12, UZNEWS

Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev has issued an order to ban the use of child labour during the 2012 cotton harvesting campaign. On 11 August, the education departments in the Uzbek regions received the minutes of a meeting chaired by the prime minister in Tashkent. The minutes carry a number of instructions by the prime minister about the forthcoming cotton harvesting campaign. …

People do not take seriously Prime Minister Mirziyayev’s yet another instruction, realising that this is another case of eyewash. …

10.       BRANDS

Hessnatur: Ausverkauf der Werte

15.8.2012, Bio Markt, Karin Heinze

Der langjährige Geschäftsführer des Öko-Textilhauses hessnatur Wolf Lüdge ist nicht mehr im Unternehmen. Er ist nicht freiwillig gegangen, davon gehen Mitarbeiter aus. Sein Ausscheiden ist für die Mitarbeiter ein Schock und für viele ein deutliches Zeichen, dass der neue Eigentümer Capvis seine Versprechen nicht hält. Die Schweizer Private Equity Firma Capvis hat den Mitarbeitern noch bei der Vorstellung Mitte Juni 2012 versichert, mit dem Management zusammenzuarbeiten. Nicht einmal zwei Monate später musste nun Wolf Lüdge, der seit 2001 das Unternehmen geführt hat, seinen Hut nehmen. Seinen Platz nimmt kommissarisch der Beiratsvorsitzende Marc Sommer ein. Vielen stellt sich die Frage, wie es bei hessnatur weitergeht. …

Hessnatur: Capvis entlässt Geschäftsführer Wolf Lüdge und holt “Bonus-Boy” Marc Sommer

Dreigliederung Blog, 12.08.2012 – Johannes Mosmann

Der langjährige Geschäftsführer von Hessnatur, Wolf Lüdge, ist mit sofortiger Wirkung von seinen Aufgaben entbunden worden. Der Betriebsrat bedauert diese Entscheidung und erklärte, Lüdge sei maßgeblich für den erstaunlichen wirtschaftlichen Erfolg des Ökomoden-Marktführers verantwortlich gewesen.  …

11.       NGO CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS

Another Young Woman Disappeared at the Classic Factory in Jordan Sewing Jeans for Wal-Mart

Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, 15.8.2012

Workers fear that 20-year-old Ms. Nazma may have been kidnapped, raped and either murdered or sold into the sex trade.  Nazma disappeared on Wednesday morning, August 8, and has not been heard from since.  She sewed blue jeans for Wal-Mart. …

Undercover in India’s garment industry…

Six Items Challenge, 14.8.2012

We have teamed up with the wonderful Dear Clare human rights photography project by photojournalist Claudia Janke to show you a photo essay about the exploitation of India’s garment workforce.  Going undercover with a camera into Delhi’s garment sweatshop underbelly, harsh realities were thrown into perspective…

Don’t blame the whistle-blower: Mirrai responsible for loss of orders

Clean Clothes Campaign, 8.10.2012

Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL reproach the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon for lashing out at the trade union FTZGSEU.

The federation blamed the union for J Crew’s withdrawal from Mirrai PVT in Sri Lanka, rather than firmly placing responsibility for the exit with Mirrai. In a letter to Mirrai, J Crew explains that the reason it will no longer place orders at the factory is not the allegations brought by the union, but rather Mirrai’s failure to partner with J Crew to remedy the violation of workers’ rights. …

12.       WORKSHOPS ETC.

AUGUST 2012

The Importance of Fiber Selection in Textile Production Webinar

28.8.2012, 8pm

Textile Exchange is collaborating with North Carolina State University in this free webinar.

SEPTEMBER 2012

Munich Fabric Start mit „Eco Village“ und „Organic Selection“

München, 04. – 06.09. 2012

Ethical Fashion Show Paris

Paris, 06. – 09.09.2012

oeko-foire (fair)

LUXEMBURG, 14.-16.09.2012

Wear Fair

Linz, 28. – 30.9.2012

OKTOBER 2012

Sustainable Textiles Conference. Messe Frankfurt, Textile Exchange, Ecotextile News

HONG KONG, 04. – 05.10.2012

Ethical Fashion Night 2012

GENEVA, 28.10.2012

NOVEMBER 2012

Future Fabrics EXPO

London College of Fashion, 04.-07.11.2012

DEZEMBER 2012

Exposure and Dialogue Programme in Zambia. Social Impulses through the Cotton Trade II (HERE: German Version)

ZAMBIA, 01. – 10.12.2012


NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 14 | 8.8.2012

Dear readers,

there are tons of fashion & sustainability news in our new newsletter (PDF):

  • The German consumer magazine Stiftung Warentest examined outdoor clothing and found that working conditions are miserable. Also Oekom Research, an agency that rates the sustainability of industry sectors’, published an interesting rating of the textile industry: overall the sector has really bad marks, as compared to other sectors – there still is a lot to do.
  • Help might be provided by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which published its Higgs Index, a collection of indicators for measuring environmental impacts of textile factories.
  • The German consumer magazine Ökotest critically examined Fair Trade – and the Kölner Stadtanzeiger had a very critical look at Fair Trade cotton.
  • Wages are still a hot topic in many Asian countries. Interestingly, it is predicted that labour costs in China might be as high as in the US in 5 years time – whereas other articles deny this hypothesis. The FWF is launching a project with some brands from the European Outdoor Group to tackle the living wage issue.
  • The large German newspapers Frankfurter Rundschau and Die Welt had a closer look at Primark, which starts its expaning tour in Germany: One heading reads: „buy – wear – trash“.
  • NICE Fashion Summit now published all speeches online and a new „Scharzbuch Baumwolle“ was published.
  • And many reports about Olympia and sweatshops.

Kind regards

NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION

1.   WORKING CONDITIONS

Nike gegen Adidas – Olympisch schwitzen im Sweatshop-Shirt

Der Standard, 26.7.2012

Olympia 2012 in London wird als besonders fair gepriesen. Die Zustände bei der Textilproduktion wird dabei wenig beachtet … Der Frage, wo Sporttextilien dieser Olympischen Spiele gefertigt wurden – und unter welchen Bedingungen -, ist die Clean-Clothes-Kampagne in ihrer Studie “Fair Games?” nachgegangen.

175 Arbeiterinnen und Arbeiter von zehn Fabriken, die insgesamt 32.750 Personen beschäftigen, wurden von Oktober bis Dezember 2011 im asiatischen Raum interviewt. Acht dieser zehn Fabriken stellten Produkte für die Olympischen Spiele her – und lieferten an Unternehmen wie Adidas, North Face, Nike oder Speedo. …

… “Geld ist nicht das Problem der internationalen Markenfirmen”, lautet auch die Analyse von Michaela Königshofer, Leiterin der Clean-Clothes-Kampagne. “Es wird aber auf unfaire Art und Weise verteilt. Unternehmen investieren das Maximum in die Präsentation der Marke, jedoch das Minimum in die Produktion der Ware. Für die Näherinnen und Näher bedeutet das ein Leben in Armut trotz täglicher Schufterei.”…

Jackenhersteller zahlen oft nur miserable Löhne

Die Welt, 26.7.2012

Dumpinglöhne und Mängel beim Arbeitsschutz: Laut Stiftung Warentest drücken sich Hersteller von Outdoor-Mode vor der sozialen Verantwortung in den Produktionsländern. Es gibt aber auch Ausnahmen.

… In puncto Unternehmensverantwortung gaben die Tester 8 von 17 Textilherstellern lediglich die Note “ausreichend”. Zwei weitere Marken, nämlich Maier Sports und The North Face, wurden mit “mangelhaft” bewertet. Alle untersuchten Jacken seien in Asien, meist in China, gefertigt worden.

In erster Linie bemängelt die Stiftung, dass dort von vielen Anbietern Löhne gezahlt werden, “die kaum zum Leben reichen”. Überstunden seien an der Tagesordnung. In einem untersuchten Fall hätten fast alle Arbeiter zusätzlich zu ihrer 48-Stunden-Woche 87,5 Überstunden gemacht statt der gesetzlich erlaubten 36 Stunden. …

Sweatshops Are Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret. But They Don’t Exist in L.A. — Do They?

LA Weekly, 26.7.2012

… Sweatshops are fashion’s dirty little secret. For years they supplied the majority of the clothes being manufactured worldwide. But the answer to whether they still exist in Los Angeles depends on whom you ask.

And to ask in a room full of manufacturers is to insult the bride at her own wedding: uncomfortable, vaguely repulsed expressions all around. In fact, the California Fashion Association started 17 years ago because of sweatshops. Specifically, the El Monte crisis of 1995. …

Olympic mascots made for Locog in Chinese ‘sweatshop’ factories – report

guardian.co.uk, 24.7.2012

Olympics merchandise for London 2012 is being produced in sweatshop conditions with staff earning as little as £6 a day, despite organisers promising to clean up its supply chain, according to a new report.

Activists in China spoke to dozens of factory workers and discovered staff were forced to work up to 120 hours overtime a month, nearly three times the legal limit.

… The report added that a sustainable and ethical sourcing code issued by Locog in 2008 was inadequate. It said: “The rampant rights violations reveal that Locog codes are really no more than lip service with no commitment to the enforcement of labour rights standards.

“The IOC should establish a policy and action plan for future Olympic Games … adopt a code of conduct for the suppliers which should include terms like living wages, freedom of association and the right to remedy.”

Child labour: A necessary evil?

Deccan Herald, 7.8.2012

… ‘The Economist’ carried an article ‘Sweating for Fashion’ which says “Nike, for example, has been accused of using child labour in Cambodia; Adidas of using prison labour in China; Benetton of using child workers in Turkey.” Where is the public outrage, where are the tears by human rights organisations in India and abroad for this kind of inhumanity? Why cry foul only at those children in the fireworks factories of Sivakasi; the diamond polishing factories of Surat, the silk reeling yards in Karnataka or the carpet weaving godowns of Punjab? They have made world headlines (and blockbuster films too) even though it has not reduced the sale of crackers or diamonds or silk or carpets in countries which condemn the practice. …
… The problem of child labour is a complex issue, something that cannot be solved through legislation or with simplistic solutions. It is driven mainly out of poverty and in societies where women have limited choices in questions of marriage or family planning. Desperate for money, and unable to feed their families, they sometimes inevitably place their offspring in bonded labour or worse. The next best thing they can do is to hand over the elder siblings to factories, hotels or even homes where they are assured of at least one proper meal every day.  …

2.   WAGES

FWF launches living wage study with the European Outdoor Group

FWF Blog, 27.7.2012

… The Fair Wear Foundation-European Outdoor Group Living Wage Study is designed to address one of the main questions – What is the relationship between product pricing and wage levels. The study will examine what happens to prices of typical products when wages are increased to meet a variety of living wage benchmarks.

… The FWF member companies that will participate in the project are: Deuter Sport and Vaude Sport (Germany), Haglöfs (Sweden), KTC Limited (Hong Kong), KJUS, Mountain Force and ODLO Sports (Switzerland).

Comment: Apparel costing for a living wage

Just Style, Doug Miller, 23.7.2012

The vexed question of a ‘living wage’ continues to tax some of the major apparel retailers and brand owners. But how can a sourcing company calculate a living wage, let alone ensure its implementation? Doug Miller, Professor (Emeritus) of Worker Rights in Fashion, has some suggestions.

… However these are in essence all benchmarking tools, and none of them actually provides a sourcing company with a method for the actual implementation of a ‘living wage’ increase. …

Two see the first three articles in this discussion on the cost of labour, follow the headline links below:

·     Comment: It’s not about the cost of labour
·     Comment: Why it is all about the cost of labour!
·     Comment: Caught in the cost of labour trap

Garment workers demand basic salary at Tk 7,000

Daily Star Business Report, 26.7.2012

A platform of garments workers’ associations yesterday submitted a demand to the minimum wage board to raise the minimum basic salary of the workers to Tk 7,000 from Tk 3,000 now.

… The major expenses include house rent at Tk 3,000, daily commodities at Tk 5,100, medical and transportation costs at Tk 1,100, children’s education expenses at Tk 1,500 and others Tk 2,250, they said. …

China will maintain labor cost advantage in foreseeable future

People’s Daily, 2.8.2012

It is an exaggeration to say China’s labor costs will catch up with the U.S. and European countries in short term.

Certain foreign chambers of commerce and financial institutions recently published reports saying that many foreign companies have felt pressures from increasing labor costs in China, and are considering relocating their production facilities to certain Southeast Asian countries where labor costs are much lower. The French bank Natixis forecast in a recent study that labor costs in China would match those of the United States within four years, catching up with eurozone countries in five years and with Japan in seven years.

China labour costs like US ‚within years’

9news, 29.7.2012

Rapid wage increases are threatening China’s competitiveness, but improved productivity and other advantages mean it will continue to attract investors, analysts say.

Labour costs in China would match those of the United States within four years, catching up with eurozone countries in five years and with Japan in seven, the French bank Natixis forecast in a study last month.

China “will soon no longer be a competitive place for production given the strong rise in the cost of production”, the bank said. …

Adidas pullout highlights rising labor costs

Shanghai Daily, 25.7.2012

SPORTSWEAR giant Adidas last week confirmed the closure of its only wholly owned factory in China, citing a “realignment of its global resources” but more likely signaling the reality of rising labor costs on the Chinese mainland.

The German-based athletics sportswear company said it would shutter manufacturing operations in the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province in October, affecting 160 employees.

Adidas said it will continue to source goods from about 300 factories across China.

… About 80 percent of 1,856 export companies surveyed by the General Administration of Customs late last year reported a significant rise in costs.

The monthly minimum wage in China rose from US$59 in 2005 to US$160 in 2011, exceeding wages in Vietnam and Indonesia. Does this signal the demise of China as the “world’s factory?”  …

Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Ministry of Commerce, said there’s no reason to look askance at the Adidas withdrawal from Chinese manufacturing. Rather, it is an acknowledgement on their part, that it’s cheaper to source products in China than to manufacture themselves. …

Increase in minimum wages for 41 industries proposed

The News (Pakistan), 29.7.2012

The Sindh Minimum Wages Board on Friday proposed an increase in wages proportionally by 14.2 percent with effect from July 1, 2012, of all other categories of workers.

The categories include skilled, semi-skilled and highly skilled workers employed in 41 categories of industries as specified in Sindh Labour Department’s notifications numbers (SO(L-II)-13-4/78 dated 15th Nov, 2010 and SO(L-II)-13-22-2007 dated 13th Jan, 2012).

3.   ENVIRONMENT

Clothing and footwear industry races towards sustainability

BusinessGreen Com, 26.7.2012

New industry body-backed index will allow companies to track environmental impact of their products down the value chain

Nike, Marks & Spencer, Levi’s, and Walmart are just some of the high profile brands to confirm they are backing a new tool designed to measure sustainability across the clothing and footwear supply chain.

The Higg Index is set to be unveiled today by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a trade body made up of brands, retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics and government representatives, which claims to represent more than a third of the global apparel and footwear industries. …

Round Table on Organic Cotton – blog discussion

TE Blog, Liesl Truscott, 3.8.2012

To build on the momentum set by the webinar we thought we would keep the discussion active through the Farm Blog. Please feel free to write directly into the comments box at the end of this page or send your contribution to us at farm@textileexchange.org and we will post it for you.

Our first blog comes from Dr. Monika Messmer, a plant breeding expert and organic specialist at FiBL in Switzerland. Monika is working closely with organic cotton growers in India and has experience in participatory seed programs. She has put forward the following comments about the issues we raised in the webinar – and I believe Monika’s contribution makes a very good start to an open and active discussion on the challenges we face and how the Round Table holds so much promise for a truly multi-stakeholder approach to finding workable solutions.  …

Nachhaltigkeit der Textilindustrie Textilindustrie vernachlässigt Umweltschutz

FR, 25.7.2012

Die Textilindustrie bleibt eine ökologische Sünderbranche. Die Firmen zahlen Hungerlöhne, erwarten Überstunden und nutzen giftige Chemikalien. Umdenken Fehlanzeige. Eine Studie identifiziert ausgerechnet die Konzerne Nike, Adidas und Puma als Vorreiter. …

Ratingsieger mit C+ ist der weltgrößte Sportartikler Nike, gefolgt von Adidas mit derselben Note. Das gilt auch für Puma auf Rang fünf. In anderen Branchen erreichen die Besten B-Noten. Das zeigt, dass in der Textilindustrie noch einiges im Argen liegt.

An der Tagesordnung seien ungebrochen Löhne unterhalb des Existenzminimums, extreme Überstunden, giftige Chemikalien speziell in chinesischen Textilfabriken und enorm hoher Wasserverbrauch, kritisiert Oekom. …

Zero discharge progress criticised

Ecotextile 31.7.2012

Greenpeace has given a luke-warm reception to the latest update on the plans by leading apparel brands for zero discharge of harmful chemicals from their textile supply chains by 2020.

Leading apparel brands such as Nike, adidas, Puma, G-Star, C&A, H&M, Li Ning and now also Levi Strauss have updated the textile industry on their latest progress towards the zero discharge of harmful chemicals from their supply chains by 2020. But details of their progress to date has been criticised by Greenpeace as being too focussed on discharge testing instead of looking more closely at the type of chemicals being used. …

Life Cycle Assessment: an effective or overly complex solution?

TE Blog, 31.7.2012

With growing concerns surrounding the environmental impacts of goods and services there has been a rising interest in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).  Exponents of this approach claim that it can help companies identify environmental ‘hot-spots’ in their supply chain and work towards addressing  these (Maung, 2008).  Data acquisition is however notoriously difficult when the supply chain is long and the approach has been questioned on the basis of cost (González et al., 2002). …

… with the recent announcement by Caroline Spelman MP that companies on the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions, we are likely to see further expansion in this area.

There are, however, some concerns over the application of LCA to agricultural systems …

Empowering the people with information on pollution

By Sarah Zheng, 5.8.2012

… Ma along with his staff and volunteers established an unprecedented, easy-to-use database of 97,0000 cases of air, water and hazardous waste pollution, based on government data and reports (http://ipe.org.cn/en/).

… Ma and his team spearheaded a drive to persuade IT companies, including Apple, the world’s biggest technology firm, to commit to making its suppliers cleaner and details about its suppliers more public.

… “Our aim is to expand information disclosure to allow communities to fully understand the hazards and risks in their environment, thus promoting widespread participation in environmental governance.”

Inside the Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Marc Gunter Blog, 25.7.2012

The story of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition begins with a letter designed to get the attention of even a busy CEO. At the top: the logos of Walmart and Patagonia. John Fleming, who was then Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, and Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, signed the letter, which invited chief executives of some of the world’s biggest clothing companies–fierce competitors, ordinarily–to join together to develop an index to measure the environmental impact of their products. …

Their pitch, in part, read like this: Creating a single approach for measuring sustainability in the apparel sector will do much more than accelerate meaningful social and environmental change. Standardization will enable us to maximize sustainability benefits for all buyers without investing in multiple sustainability technologies and certification processes, and ultimately empower consumers to trust claims regarding sustainably sourced apparel. …

·     Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Higgs Index

4.   COTTON and other fibres

High rates give hope to cotton farmers

TNN 6.8.2012

NAGPUR: After going through a tough phase last year, cotton farmers can expect slightly better rates for their produce in 2012. With the current outlook for prices, farmers would be spared an absolute loss even if they may not reap good profits by sowing cotton as it happened a couple of years ago. Cotton, which has been linked to the region’s farm crisis, is harvested from November to February. However, their fortunes would crash if the government once again imposed a ban on exports. …

The cotton conundrum

The Hindu, 6.8.2012

It is a strange thing for a country that is the second largest producer of cotton in the world to do. Yet, India is now importing a large quantity of cotton using precious foreign exchange, and exerting what could have been an avoidable pressure on the trade deficit. And, it does this after exporting large quantities in the same season just a few months ago.In the ongoing cotton season (October 2011- September 2012), India exported 120 lakh bales, significantly higher than the Cotton Advisory Board’s (CAB) estimated exportable surplus of 80-85 lakh bales. And now, together, the mills are likely to import more than 15 lakh bales. Incidentally, the current season’s exports and imports are the highest in the last seven years!

5.   STANDARDS & CERTIFICATES

Fairer Handel. Unfaire Geschäfte

ÖKO-TEST August 2012

… wer nach fairen Klamotten sucht, landet in einer unüberschaubaren Welt: bei der Social Fashion Company und T-Shirts mit dem Etikett Fair, bei El Puente (Fair Fashion), bei der Bio Shirt Company (menschenwürdige Produktionsbedingungen), beim Otto-Versand (Cotton made in Africa), bei Pants to Poverty (Fairtrade Certified Cotton) oder bei http://www.fairbleiben.com, wo es Klamotten von Fairliebt oder Earth Positiv gibt. Als wäre das nicht schon verwirrend genug, gibt es ganz unterschiedliche Standards und Zertifizierungssysteme, die Fairness belegen sollen. Auf der einen Seite zum Beispiel die Fair-Wear-Foundation und die Ethical Trading Initiative mit hohen Anforderungen, auf der anderen Seite die Business Social Compliance Initiative und die Worldwide Responsible Accredited Produktion. Das sind zwei Unternehmensinitiativen mit niedrigen Vorgaben.

Was aber macht ein T-Shirt zu einem fairen T-Shirt, was zeichnet einen fairen Orangensaft aus?

BCI and CmiA form new partnership

Ecotextile News, 30.7.2012

The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), have signed an interim partnership agreement that should see increased effectiveness and efficiency in promoting greater sustainability to African smallholder farmers while also allowing CmiA verified cotton to be sold as Better Cotton. …

… As of 1 July 2012, CmiA verified cotton (from the 2012 harvest onwards) can be sold as Better Cotton.

Fairtrade. Das Baumwoll-Dilemma

Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 30.7.2012

Bananen, Kaffee, Kakao: Der Handel mit Fairtrade-Produkten floriert. Nur bei Kleidung ziehen die Verbraucher nicht mit. Indische Bauern müssen ihre als Fairtrade-Rohstoffe angebaute Baumwolle verramschen. …

… Das zeigt sich in Südindien. Für die Baumwollbauern in Tamil Nadu ist der faire Handel eine Geduldsfrage – eine Investition, die sie langsam überfordert. Sie haben auf Subventionen der Regierung verzichtet, weil sie sonst genmanipulierte Saaten hätten einsetzen müssen, was dem Fairtrade-Konzept widerspricht. Sie haben sich vor vier Jahren dem Fairtrade-Programm der Firma Agrocel angeschlossen, weil es hieß, die großen Händler in Europa würden bald nach der “sauberen” Ware rufen.

Doch seit Jahren haben sie hier kein Gramm Baumwolle mehr als Fairtrade-Cotton losgeschlagen. Weggefallen sind damit auch die Fairtrade-typischen Prämien: Geld, das die Bauern in Infrastruktur, Gesundheit und Bildung investieren. “Wir haben die Kosten, aber nicht den Nutzen”, sagt Krishnan Sainathan von der Firma Agrocel, die das Programm hier einführte. Und doch will man den Glauben nicht loslassen: “Wir wollen Landflucht bekämpfen, eine Alternative zur Gentechnik bieten – aber wir brauchen Unterstützung.” …

6.   COTTON

Raw cotton export touches all-time high level

Business Recorder, 29.7.2012

With a substantial growth of over 78 per cent, raw cotton export has reached all time high mark of 1.66 million bales at the end of last fiscal year 2011-2012 (FY12) mainly due to bumper cotton crop in the country and high demand in the world market. Exporters told Business Recorder on Saturday said that bumper cotton crop during the last cotton season has supported to post all time high export.

While cheap availability of cotton in the domestic market and high demand on international front has also contributed to achieve this milestone. In term of volume, Pakistan has exported some 1.66 million bales during last fiscal year as against 0.937 million bales in fiscal year 2010-2011, showing an increase of 77.8 percent or 0.729 million. In term of dollar, raw cotton export has registered a healthy growth of over 26.65 per cent at the end of last fiscal year. The country has exported raw cotton worth $462 million in FY12 compared to $365 million in FY11, depicting an increase of $97 million.  …

7.   PUBLIC PROCUREMENT

Mindestlohn und ökologische Standards im Vergabegesetz verankern

Bundestagsfraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, 30.7.2012

“Der Mindestlohn ist nur ein Baustein des künftigen Vergabegesetzes. Wer die Diskussion darauf verengt, hat die Herausforderungen der Zukunft nicht verstanden”, kommentiert der wirtschaftspolitische Sprecher der Landtagsfraktion von BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, Christoph Erdmenger, die gegenwärtige Diskussion um die Inhalte des künftigen Vergabegesetzes des Landes. Es müssten soziale und ökologische Aspekte in das Gesetz aufgenommen werden und gleichzeitig müsse die Vergabe entbürokratisiert werden.  …

8.   REGIONS

BANGLADESH

Call for better labour relations. Transcom Chairman Latifur Rahman suggests sincere effort to improve working conditions

Daily Star, 31.7.2012

Winner of Oslo Business for Peace Award Latifur Rahman yesterday called for bringing about improvement in labour relations in industries for sustainable business.

… He called upon entrepreneurs in the garment sector to rethink trade unionism, which he said is a part of sustainable business.

He said the BEF, which is also connected with the International Labour Organisation, should play a proactive role in improving labour relations. …

B’desh assures garment importers of solving workers issues

Fibre2Fashion, 28.7.2012

The Government of Bangladesh has assured leading purchasers of its garments in the West that it would address

Earlier in 2010, months of unrest compelled the Government as well as the factory owners to hike wages by 80 percent to a minimum US$ 37 per month. …

Labour issues cloud bright RMG future. Mozena dwells on ‘perfect storm’ at Star discussion

Daily Star, 27.7.2012

Bangladesh has every prospect to be the world’s largest garment seller, but its exports to the US may land in deep trouble unless the government sincerely resolves a number of issues mostly relating to improving labour rights within this year.

Dan W Mozena, US ambassador to Bangladesh, made these remarks yesterday. …

… “The US is trying to convey a clear understanding of the reality of the market in America for Bangladesh’s readymade garments. That market is currently under threat due to a perfect storm,” the ambassador said during a discussion at The Daily Star office.

Devaluation of euro against Taka, US dollar hits hard RMG exporters

Financial Express, 27.7.2012

The devaluation of euro against Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) and the US dollar has hit hard Bangladeshi exporters.

The exporters’ profit margin has fallen from EU export as they are paying for imported raw materials in US dollar while receiving a significant amount of payment for exports from European customers in euros.

The European buyers, who pay in dollars, are also bargaining to reduce the price of Bangladeshi items following fall of euro, businesses said.  …

Bangladesh Government Linked to Illegal Blacklisting of Apparel Workers

Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, 26.7.2012

Bangladesh’s Government operates a blacklist targeting and firing garment workers seeking their legal rights, according to new information obtained by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.

Institute director Charles Kernaghan stated today, “The Bangladesh Government is in direct violation of many of the International Labour Organization’s core worker rights conventions, which the country ratifiedin June 1973, including Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (ILO Convention 87), and the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining (ILO Convention 98).” …

Trade unions in Bangladesh always ‘politicised’

The Independent Bangladesh, 26.7.2012

The local industry owners differ with the concept of freedom of expression in the factories prescribed by the Western diplomats. “We differ with their concept because of our geopolitical perspective which is very much different from the Western societies,” said a leading industrialist and president of an association. He told the Independent that they did not have any objection to forming trade unions in their factories but the problem is that trade union in Bangladesh country has always been politicised. …

… Mozena mentioned the progress achieved on labour issues but reminded the business leaders that the employers need to develop greater attention for freedom of association.

Garment workers’ leaders for steps to fix minimum wage at Tk 7,000

Financial Express, 26.7.2012

Seven workers’ organisations in the readymade garment (RMG) sector demanded effective measures to fix minimum monthly wage for labours at Tk 7,000 to help them lead a normal life meeting minimum civic amenities.

They made the demand to protect the poorly paid communities as frequent increase in house rent in the densely populated workers-intensive residential areas takes away a major portion of their income. …

OPINION. Labour unrest in the RMG sector

Financial Express, 26.7.2012
… A reason behind the labour unrest is the absence of legal and institutional arrangements to ensure labour rights in the RMG sector. Many of the garments factories in Bangladesh are alleged not to comply with the Labour Law and ILO conventions. The Labour Act-2006 (Labour code) clearly mentions that the wage of a worker must be paid within seven workings days [Section 123 (1)]. Many garments factories do not allegedly provide appointment letters/contract letters, identity cards and employee handbooks. Proper health safety and security arranegements for the workers are absent in many garments factories. Besides, the workers do not have clear idea about their rights and labour laws.

The main reason for labour unrest is inadequate wages of the workers. The sector employs about 40 per cent of the country’s industrial workforce. …

The writer is a student of the Department of Business Administration, East West University. rahat344@yahoo.com

RMG Worker Unrest. Buyers want wage review. Labour minister for ration system

Daily Star, 26.7.2012

The wages of garment workers should be immediately readjusted in line with inflation and the consumer price index to quell persistent unrest in the industry. This was the demand of top buyers of Bangladeshi garment products yesterday. …

… The minister invited the buyers to raise their purchase prices. “If you can increase Tk 25, I will give Tk 20 to workers and Tk 5 to manufacturers,” said the minister in a lighter vein. The buyers remained silent in response. …

‘House rent hike caused labour unrest’

bdnews24, 25.7.2012

Dhaka, July 25 (bdnews24.com) — Labour Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain has marked uncontrolled hikes in house rent as the key reason behind demonstrations by workers.

“House rent is being increased twice even thrice in a year. This is sparking unrest among the workers,” the Minister told journalists following a meeting with local and foreign buyers and business leaders at the Secretariat on Wednesday. …

CAMBODIA

Decent work in Cambodia: how far have we come?

Phnom Phen Post, 3.8.2012

Cambodia has come a long way since the early 1990s, with peace and macroeconomic stability ushering in a period of economic “catch up” with its neighbours.

However, while rapid economic growth has clearly raised incomes and improved livelihoods in many corners of the country, recent questions have emerged over how “inclusive” this growth is, and indeed, what else is needed beyond growth for people to live a full and productive life. …
… This is why Cambodia, with the help of a joint EU-International Labour Organization project, Monitoring and Assessing Progress on Decent Work, has established a set of decent work indicators (DWIs), the first collection of which were published in a Decent Work Country Profile, launched this week in Phnom Penh. …

MoU the key to compliance

Phnom Penh Post, 26.7.2012

Amid a spate of garment factory strikes – including one at Tai Yang Enterprises that has lasted more than a month – Cambodia’s Arbitration Council yesterday said it wanted the industry to renew a memorandum of understanding on industrial action that has been in limbo since November.

“[The MoU] is something we would like the industry to come to the table on,” Arbitration Council Foundation executive director Sok Lor told the Post. …

CHINA

Economic slowdown in coastal provinces forces migrant workers to go home

China Labour Bulletin, 27.7.2012

… Observers in Guangdong have said large numbers of small and medium-sized factories have closed their production lines, leading to a very noticeable migration of workers back to their home towns, especially workers over the age of 45, who are at a disadvantage when they try to find a new job. …

INDIA

New technology to save Tirupur knitwear industry

Fibre2Fashion, 31.7.2012

To save the domestic knitwear industry from waning further, textile units in Tirupur, a city in the south-Indian state of Tamil Nadu, have decided to reduce emission of pollutants during dyeing through adoption of a new technology.

Mills contract 10 lakh bales cotton for imports

India Times, 25.7.2012

Spinning mills in the country have contracted to import 10 lakh bales (170 kg) of cotton from African countries following tight domestic availability and delayed monsoon.

The supply squeeze is owing to lower stocks with growers. Delayed monsoon has led to fears of drop in acreage and production of cotton. Besides, parched US crops have prompted millers in the country– world’s second-largest cotton exporter – to import more. …

THAILAND

Wage hike not hurting job sector

The Nation, 2.8.2012

The Central Wage Committee yesterday revealed that more jobs were becoming available and that the government was doing a good job at controlling inflation and the price of goods. …

9.   BRANDS

Der Trick mit den Billig-T-Shirts aus Irland

Die Welt, 4.8.2012

Ein T-Shirt für 2,50 Euro, eine Jeans für 9: Die irische Modekette Primark erobert die Kleiderschränke deutscher Teenager. Kritiker sprechen jedoch von “katastrophalen Arbeitsbedingungen”. Von C. Bohmann, C. Dierig und H. Seidel …

Adidas launches waterless dyeing range

Ecotextile News, 1.8.2012

Sportswear giant Adidas has launched a range of t-shirts which, dyed in a process using pressurised CO2 instead of water, is said to use 50% less energy, and 50% fewer chemicals than normal processes. …

Primark Kaufen, anziehen, wegwerfen

Frankfurter Rundschau, 28.7.2012

Der irische Textildiscounter Primark wirbt mit niedrigsten Preisen für Trend-Klamotten – verführt zum hemmungslosen Shoppen und sorgt für Müllberge. Einige Kundinnen jubeln bereits darüber, sich nun „totshoppen“ zu können. …

10.       NGO CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS

A Chronology of the Investigation of the Murder of Labor Activist Aminul Islam

International Labor Rights Forum, 6.8.2012

Summary: Aminul Islam, 40, president of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers’ Federation (BGIWF)’s local committee in the Savar and Ashulia areas of Dhaka and a senior organizer with a well-known labor rights group, the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), was tortured and murdered in early April 2012. [1]  To date, nobody has been held responsible for this crime. …

Insulting offer of adidas food vouchers rejected by workers

Clean Clothes Campaign, 26.7.2012

An offer by adidas to donate food vouchers to Indonesian workers owed millions of euros has been described as downright insulting by union representatives and labour right campaigners.
The workers, previously employed at ex-addidas supplier PT Kizone, have been fighting for over a year to get adidas to pay the 1.5 million euros still owed to them in unpaid severance. Adidas’ offer: a food voucher worth just 43 euros. …

·     Background on PT Kizone & See video & read more.
·     Tell adidas: If you can afford to sponsor the Olympics, you can afford severance pay for your workers!

Fair Games? Human Rights of Workers in Olympic 2012 Supplier Factories

Playfair 2012

Workers making Olympic sportswear for London 2012 for top brands and high street names including Adidas and Next are being paid poverty wages, forced to work excessive overtime and threatened with instant dismissal if they complain about working conditions, according to a new report. …

11.       BOOKS, REPORTS, REVIEWS, SCIENCE

Schwarzbuch Baumwolle. Was wir wirklich auf der Haut tragen

Andreas Engelhardt, 221 Seiten
Deuticke im Paul Zsolnay Verlag, 2012
ISBN 978-3-552-06197-2
EUR 18,40

Higgs Index

Sustainable Apparel Coalition

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is an industry-wide group of over 60 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world.

The focus of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition is The Higg Index that measures the environmental performance of apparel products. Future versions will include footwear products and measure social performance.  …

12.       WORKSHOPS ETC.

SEPTEMBER 2012

Munich Fabric Start mit „Eco Village“ und „Organic Selection“

München, 04. – 06.09. 2012

oeko-foire (fair)

LUXEMBURG, 14.-16.09.2012

Wear Fair

Linz, 28.-30.9.2012

OKTOBER 2012

Sustainable Textiles Conference. Messe Frankfurt, Textile Exchange, Ecotextile News

HONG KONG, 04.-05.10.2012

Ethical Fashion Night 2012

GENEVA, 28.10.2012

November 2012

Future Fabrics EXPO

London College of Fashion, 04.-07.11.2012


NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 13 | 24.7.2012

Dear reader

These are the highlights from our newsletter Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 13 (PDF):

  • As every week, wages is a hot topic: Chinese news report that government wages in China are growing slower than last year, the Bankok Post reports that firms „ignore“ wage hikes, BBC writes that food prices in Bangladesh have increased by more than 50% with wages remaining the same, and the Pakistan Times explains why the government is incapable of even enforcing minimum wages.
  • Numerous news focus on Adidas: The company now closed its last own factory in China, and opens 600 new shops in China. On its blog Adidas explains what they understand as „poverty wages“, while the University of Wisconsin has launched a „historic challenge to Adidas over Sweatshop Conditions for College-Branded Apparel“. And a PhD student from Oxford has written an interesting special report about the „Rise (and fall?) of Adidas“.
  • We suggest clothing companies to look at what is happening in other sectors. The Guardian argues that getting the supply chains in order could also be an opportunity – as „US legislation will require companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals“ anyhow.
  • People working in public procurement have a new guide to „Good verification practices for social standards“ by the Landmark project.
  • There is an article in the Guardian about „how activism forced Nike to change its ethical game“ and the Financial Times shows how Jochen Zeitz envisions Puma’s phase out from leather soccer shoes.

If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com

Kind regards

NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION

Read the rest of this entry »


NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 12 | 17.7.2012

Dear reader

Due to the Berlin Fashion Week and our holidays we skipped one week and today issue our newsletter
Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 12 (PDF):

  • A must read is Jo Confino’s report from Rio+20, particularly the report on Tim Jackson’s talk. It nicely contrasts many of the other articles we refer to, which have a quite different understanding of economic growth. Reading his other articles might give you a good insight into the discussions in Rio around corporate responsibility.
  • A study from researches at the University of Göttingen on Bt cotton concludes that „… Bt cotton has created large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India.“ – which is quite surprising regarding the many critical studies about Bt cotton so far. To get a more holistic picture of Bt cotton please also look at the summary of a discussion in the Organic Cotton Community regarding Bt in Burkina Faso, the Indian movement Navdanya, which regards the invasion of Bt cotton in India as highly problematic – and GMWATCH.
  • If you have not read much about the Eco Textile Index, you might consult the Textile Exchange Blog, which started a series on this instrument.
  • What a waste: WRAP, the British leading agency on resource efficiency revealed in a study that the UK uses £30 billion worth in unused wardrobe.
  • We also collected some of the articles on the recent workers’ unrest in Bangladesh at the factory Ashulia, which made some brands worry about their investments in the country – and which made H&M and other companies write a letter to the President to ask her to increase the wages. This article seemed to provide the most comprehensive overview. The CCC also commented on the situation from a different perspective.
  • If you can read German, you should also read the interview with the founder of the Bread & Butter, Karl-Heinz Müller about his view regarding Berlin Fashion week and also regarding „dangers“ of eco fashion.

All below text are direct quotations from the articles we refer to. If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com

Kind regards

NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION

 

1.   RIO+20

Rio+20: Tim Jackson on how fear led world leaders to betray green economy

Jo Confino in Rio de Janeiro, Guardian Professional, Monday 25 June 2012

The author of Prosperity Without Growth says that despite a staggering lack of responsibility from politicians, there is still a route to a better economic system

… “The ‘G’ word is a signifier for not changing the system. It is synonymous with western consumerism which we are locked into. Green growth is the emperor’s new clothes, it is an empty concept. There is nothing there apart from aspiration and some of the modelling is vaguely supportive of getting a growth based economy more efficient in resource terms but there is no single piece of modelling anywhere really that shows you can have sustained growth, even in the richest economies, and get the poorest up to the level of the west and meet you CO2 targets.”

… “We are told continually there is no alternative,” says Jackson. “We are saying another world is possible. We have stood up and said continuing growth in the Western world is unjust, inappropriate and potentially destabilising. Having said that, we understand why governments do it, so there is an onus on us to show there are other stories and to identify the institutional innovations you might need in order to arrive at this other place.”

-  Also see more intersting reports by Jo Confino’s from RIO.

2.   CSR & SUSTAINABILITY

Business responsibility for its social impacts: moving beyond CSR

John Morrison for the Guardian Professional Network, guardian.co.uk, 25.6.2012

Businesses have a responsibility for all their impacts and for preventing human rights harms, whilst ensuring that adequate remedies are available when abuses occur

Can happiness be a good business strategy?

Tim Smedley for the Guardian Professional Network guardian.co.uk, 20.6.2012

… “People who are happier at work are more productive – they are more engaged, more creative, have better concentration”, says Marks. “The difference in productivity between happy and unhappy people at work can range between 10-50%. That’s 10% for non-complex repetitive tasks, or up to 40-50% in service and creative industries.” And that’s an awful lot in terms of business revenue. …

Understanding a company’s social impact is crucial to sustainability

Adrian Henriques for the Guardian Professional Network, 18.6.2012

The social impact of a business is easy to identify but difficult to measure, however understanding the effects a company has on society and the environment is vital to achieving sustainability

Where are the limits to business responsibility?

Oliver Balch, Guardian Professional, Tuesday 3 July 2012 13.02 BST

Often the majority of a company’s impacts on environment and society are indirect. Oliver Balch asks to what extent should they take responsibility for these?

… But what about companies’ indirect impacts? Are supermarkets responsible for the carbon that their customers emit when driving to their out-of-town stores? Should food brands be held accountable for the pesticide waste caused by the farmers that supply them? …

3.   WORKING CONDITIONS

Chinese workers unhappy with jobs

China Daily,10.7.2012

Only 49% surveyed say their employment is ‘ideal’ for them

Chinese workers are among the least likely in Asia to say their jobs are ideal, despite China having one of the region’s lowest unemployment rates, a report by an international research company has found.

A survey conducted by management consultancy Gallup Inc in 2011, the results of which were released last week, has found only 49 percent of Chinese workers think their job is the “ideal” one for them.

Unions threaten more street actions on outsourcing

The Jakarta Post, 13.7.2012

More than 30,000 workers from the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) marched on the Presidential Palace on Thursday, demanding that the government crack down on outsourcing. “We will give time to the government to prohibit low-wage policies and employee outsourcing until October, KSPI president Said Iqbal said on Thursday.

4.   ENVIRONMENT

Making textiles sustainable isn’t as easy as it seems

Pamela Ravasio, Guardian Professional, 3.7.2012

Collaboration and innovation are vital drivers for scaling sustainability in the fibre manufacturing process, says Pamela Ravasio

… In sustainability, things are not always as they appear. In particular, thinking on sustainability and textiles is ripe with misconceptions, let’s start by busting a few of the most common myths:

• Across the full life cycle (growing, manufacturing and specifically usage) natural fibres are not necessarily more sustainable than synthetic fibres

• Natural dyes are not necessarily better than chemical ones

• Organic cotton currently only amounts to around 1% of the world harvest and production cannot be scaled sufficiently quickly to cater to the mainstream just yet …

WRAP reveals the UK’s £30 billion unused wardrobe

WRAP, 11th July 2012

UK consumers have around £30 billion worth of clothes which they haven’t worn for a year hanging in their wardrobes, reveals a new report by WRAP, the UK’s lead body on resource efficiency. The ground breaking report ‘Valuing our clothes’ provides the first big picture look at the impacts of clothing. It offers a fresh look at the financial and environmental aspects of the whole journey of all clothing; from raw material, to manufacture, purchase, use and disposal of our clothes.

… The report goes a step further than simply providing the economic and environmental facts, it also identifies potential new business models for industry that can add to the bottom line, increase the range of services or stimulate markets. … One such new business opportunity WRAP’s report identifies is retailers establishing ‘buy-back’ schemes. This would enable customers to sell retailer own-brand clothes they no longer want back to the retailer to prepare for re-sale. …

Eco-Indexing Organic Cotton

Posted by Liesl Truscott, 2.7.2012

… For those that are not yet up on this, the Eco-Index is being developed by the Outdoor Industry Association and the European Outdoor Group. It is an environmental assessment tool designed to advance sustainability practices primarily within the outdoor industry. It aims to provide companies throughout the supply chain with a way to benchmark and measure their environmental footprint, identify areas for improvement, and make informed sourcing and product life cycle decisions (See http://www.ecoindexbeta.org/content/about-project).

The Eco-Index can be applied to other industries as well and is the basis of the Sustainable Apparel Index tool. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is developing this industry-wide tool for measuring the environmental and social performance of apparel products and the supply chains that produce them (Visit http://www.apparelcoalition.org/1.html).

Never has there been a better opportunity for us to position organic cotton within a sustainability framework that has captured the attention and commitment of the textile industry at large. …

Might also be interesting:

- The Organic advantage through the lenses of the Eco-Index – Waste, Posted by Liesl Truscott, 9.7.2012
- The Organic advantage through the lenses of the Eco-Index, Posted by Liesl Truscott, 5.7.2012

5.   COTTON and other fibres

Trade policies behind farmer suicides: Survey

TNN, 13.7.2012

Irrational trade policies and shrinking farm holdings are among the reasons that lead farmers to commit suicide in Maharashtra.

Cotton producers face grim prospects

Global Times, 4.7.2012

The price gap between locally produced and imported cotton in China has been widening, weakening the international competitiveness of the country’s textile and garment industry, industrial bodies and analysts said Tuesday.

“The price difference between domestic and imported cotton is normally 1,000 yuan ($157) per ton but the gap has widened to an unprecedented level of more than 5,000 yuan now, putting pressure on local textile mills and garment industry,” Wang Qianjin, a senior analyst from webtex.com, an information provider for the textile sector, told the Global Times Tuesday. …

India’s area under cotton may decline in 2012-13

Fibre2Fashion, 10.7.2012

Farmers in India, the second-biggest cotton producer in the world, are likely to switch to other crops like soybean that gave them better returns this year, and this might lead to a fall in area under cotton cultivation during the 2012-13 season, Textile Commissioner AB Joshi has said.

Forscher der Universität Göttingen belegen positive Auswirkungen des Anbaus von Genpflanzen

Universität Göttingen, 2.7.2012

In einer Langzeitstudie hat der Göttinger Agrarökonom Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim mit seinem Team die wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Aspekte von Gentechnik in Entwicklungsländern untersucht. Die Wissenschaftler der Universität Göttingen haben dabei unter anderem erforscht, welche Effekte der Anbau von gentechnisch veränderter Baumwolle (sogenannter Bt-Baumwolle) in Indien auf die lokale ländliche Bevölkerung hat. … Die Göttinger Wissenschaftler fanden heraus, dass die Technologie den Kleinbauern erheblich nützt und sich positiv auf deren Erträge und Einkommen auswirkt. … Trotz des teureren Saatguts erzielen die Baumwollbauern mit der Bt-Technologie um 50 Prozent höhere Gewinne. … „Befürchtungen von Kritikern, die Gentechnik würde eine zunehmende Ausbeutung der Bauern durch Großkonzerne zur Folge haben, können wir mit unseren langjährigen und umfangreichen Daten widerlegen.“

Kathage, J., Qaim, M. (2012): Economic impacts and impact dynamics of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton in India. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Doi: 10.1073/pnas.1203647109 (published online)

GM in Burkina Faso – summary of a discussion

Organic Cotton Community by Ashley Gill, 7.6.2012

It was presented to the community that in Burkina Faso, after 4 years of the presence of GM (genetically modified) cotton, farmers were switching back to conventional, or non-GM seed. Many farmers in Burkina Faso experienced shorter fibre length which led to the cotton selling at lower prices than before. The GM cotton was introduced in the area with the promise of 30% higher yields, reduced pesticide use, and higher net income overall. After several years, none of these promises have been realized. Crop yields even dropped in some cases. All of this began with higher seed cost as well, and the result was debt and lower income for farmers. Other issues experienced with the GM cotton were waterlogging and smaller boll size. This was observed by the farmers themselves.

An experience was related of Burkinabe farmers visiting South Africa several years ago to view the positive and negative outcomes of GM cotton production there. These observations may be presented to the community at a later time. …

6.   STANDARDS & CERTIFICATES

Eco-labels ‘overwhelm’ consumers

EcoTextile, Wednesday, 11.7.2012

Prior to the launch of the latest 2012 version of the Eco-Textile Labelling Guide by MCL Global, a new study claims that the practice of eco-labelling may be on the brink of saturation with significant confusion among both consumers and industry due to the sheer number of standards available.

A new study by the Swiss-based IMD, the International Institute for Management Development, and EPFL, the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, suggests the process of eco-labelling has become so fragmented that the current industry perception is dominated by wide-ranging reappraisal.

The IMD and EPFL researchers surveyed more than 1,000 executives around the globe about their attitudes towards eco-labels. Major international companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Nestlé, Canon, Sara Lee and E.ON took part in the study, which first sought to investigate why firms adopt eco-labels.

… But they also expressed what the study called “substantial scepticism” over eco-labels’ enduring credibility and the rigour of some criteria and certification procedures.

In a market based largely on vanity and profit, can fashion really be fair?

Clare Lissaman, Guardian Professional, 5.7.2012

Clare Lissaman argues that fair trade fashion, when done with support and development input, can make a real difference

Open Letter to Fair Trade USA CEO Paul Rice

Fair World Project, 27.6.2012

We, committed fair trade stakeholders, have been disappointed by the historic actions of Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), especially in recent months, to the point that we can no longer consider FTUSA a valid fair trade certifier and partner without significant changes to its practices. The undersigned have outlined the most important actions that contradict fair trade principles and what FTUSA can do by specific times, to gain credibility and support again in the Fair Trade movement and marketplace.

7.   CONSUMERS & MARKETING

SC Johnson Wants to Change Consumer Behavior

Sustainablebrands, 25.6.2012

SC Johnson announced two new efforts focused on encouraging consumers to engage in more sustainable lifestyles.

… In partnership with Recyclebank, the company is launching the Green Choices Recycling Challenge, which aims to increase curbside recycling in 50 communities across the United States. This initiative is one way SC Johnson is working towards its goal of becoming landfill neutral by eliminating or diverting 480 million pounds of waste from landfills, which is greater than its U.S. waste footprint. …

Simultaneously, the company is beginning a research project studying how to inspire behavior change around sustainable choices. Over the next five years, the SC Johnson Sustainable Behavior Change Program will bring together academics, environmentalists and consumers to identify what drives behavior change around a number of sustainable actions. …

8.   REGIONS

BANGLADESH

US firms won’t take risk to buy Bangladeshi garments: Mozena

Daily Star, 10.7.2012

US Ambassador in Bangladesh Dan Mozena on Tuesday said many American companies have raised their concern of buying ready-made-garment products from Bangladesh after the killing of a labour leader.

… “US companies want to buy products from Bangladesh because Bangladesh is a good country, good products, good people, but they are very concern about labour issues, safety at work place and freedom of association in Bangladesh,” he said. …

Labour leaders want revision of workers’ minimum wage

New Age BG, 7.7.2012

Leaders of different labour organisations on Friday demanded to the government for revising the minimum wages of workers, including those of the RMG sector, considering the price hike of daily commodities. …

Basic RMG exports to shape the future

Daily Star, 5.7.2012

World Bank suggests efforts to improve trade logistics, workers’ skills and labour standards

… The exports of basic garments will continue to be important in future but Bangladesh’s competitive advantage in the area could erode over time, the World Bank said in a study yesterday.

… To accelerate exports, the study suggested consolidating existing strengths in basic garments and at the same time, diversifying into other products such as higher-value garments and services sector. …

Minimum wage in RMG sector cannot eradicate poverty : says Wahiduddin Mahmud

New Age BD, 5.7.2012

Economist Wahiduddin Mahmud on Wednesday said wages of the readymade garment workers should be increased to help them come out of the poverty. The RMG workers cannot get rid of the poverty trap with existing minimum wage, he said at a report launching ceremony by the World Bank in the capital. He pointed out that low wage was an advantage for the country’s ever growing RMG sector which employs around 3.5 million workers. But the advantage was not enough to fight poverty, he added.
… The comments by the noted economist came weeks after thousands of workers went on rampage and clashed with the law enforcers in a series of protest in demand of pay hike. …

Compliance failures can imperil RMG sector: WB

Financial Expresss, 5.7.2012

Bangladesh needs to improve its trade logistics and infrastructure, more skilled manpower, and ensure compliance with the government’s labour standards to accelerate export growth, said a new World Bank report, reports UNB. Stressing the compliance, the report said compliance failures can jeopardise the entire garment sector. “Compliance important because of potential negative externality…it is increasingly important for Bangladesh,” the report added. …
… “Bangladesh’s current cost advantage in the garment sector may not be adequate to compete globally as the country moves up the value chain. The country must improve logistics to ensure that exports as well as imported inputs are shipped on time, cost effectively and reliably, and this is important to even ensure sustained growth in the existing areas of strength,” said Sanjay Kathuria. …

Bangladesh – Garment Labour Panel Demands Higher Wages

Yarns and Fibres, 2.7.2012

Garment SramikSongramParishad, a platform of six associations of workers, demanded a minimum wage of Tk 7,000 against the backdrop of rising inflation and house rents.
… On a 12-month average basis, the inflation rate accelerated to 10.76 percent in May, up from 8.67 percent in the same month a year ago, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. A five-member family needs Tk 12,950 monthly to maintain their daily life and education of children, they said. On November 1, 2010, the wage board for garment industries nearly doubled the minimum wages to about Tk 3,000 a month at the entry level. …

Statement CCC on Bangladesh: CCC is gravely worried about the violent repression of garment workers and their labour leaders in Ashulia in Bangladesh

CCC, 21.6.2012

On June 11th, thousands of garment workers took to the streets demanding a pay hike. Instead of increasing the wages, the factory owners closed down over 300 units, leaving the workers with no prospect to an income. Since then, 25 people have been arrested and many have been wounded during severe clashes with the police and union leaders are fearing brutal treatment by the intelligence agencies in Bangladesh. Although the factories have reopened again, the demand for higher wages remains a pressing issue and the level of repression unacceptable. …

Bangladeshi clothes factory shutdown ends after four days

Reuters, 21.6.2012

… “We decided to reopen the factories after the government assured us of adequate security while the workers agreed to ensure peaceful operation and the owners said they will consider the workers’ demands,” said Muhammad Iqbal, managing director of clothes maker the Skyline Group.

… Workers are demanding a 50 percent wage increase to meet rising food and rent prices, but factory owners say they are unable to afford pay rises as a consequence of the impact of global downturn on exports. They said they would consider the workers’ demands when appropriate. “We welcome the move, but urge the government to mediate with the owners to review wages as the prices of almost all daily necessaries, along with house rent, have gone up,” said Nazma Akhter, president of the Garment Workers United Alliance.

Explain RMG factory closure, HC asks owners

The Independent, 20.6.2012

A High Court bench on Tuesday asked the two leading associations of apparel sector owners to explain why their decision to shut down more than 300 factories in Ashulia, on Dhaka’s outskirts, should not be declared illegal. It asked the authorities to explain why they should not be directed to cancel the impugn decision and keep open all factories in the Ashulia industrial zone.

… Dr Kamal Hossain, counsel for the petitioners, told the court that as per Section 13(1) of the Labour Act, the association could not impose shut-down orders on the factories. The association had done so violating relevant laws, he added. He also said that several lakhs of people depend on the sector for their livelihood. But the decision to shut down the factories hampered their fundamental rights, he added.

Massive protests planned if RMG units not reopened by June 20. Uneasy calm prevails in Ashulia after days of violence

Financial Express, 18.6.2012

… “Even if we consider the depreciation of Taka against US dollar since the time when the minimum wage was fixed at US$ 43, the minimum wage stands at Tk. 3,650 that means the workers are now getting at least Tk 650 less than the minimum wage in real terms, he added. …

MUST READ: Violence in RMG sector: An ominous sign

Financial Express, 17.6.2012

… The government has formed a three-member committee to look into the cause of frequent clashes in the garment sector. In fact, the workers wanted a raise between Tk 1,500 and 2,000 in their pay packages. Currently, a garment worker gets between Tk 3,000 and 5,500 a month. Workers claim that their salaries are too little at a time when house rents and prices of essentials are increasing sharply. As of now, owners of the houses in which the garment workers live are raising rents thrice in a year.

… Agitation for arrears and bonuses before Eid is not a new phenomenon in Bangladesh. Garment employees bring out such rallies before Eid every year. Successive governments have since the early 1990s doled out some Tk 74.24 billion as cash incentive to exporters to help them run their factories efficiently and earn more foreign exchange for the country. But allegations have it that unscrupulous business houses abused much of this hefty sum. Reports say the readymade garment sector, the top foreign exchange earner, was the prime beneficiary of such generous government largesse. About 70 per cent of the total amount disbursed since the scheme was introduced went to the RMG sector. Officials alleged that many business houses in the RMG sector, which did not qualify for getting such incentives, resorted to unscrupulous means to avail themselves of the easy cash. …

PM orders ‘fair price cards’ for RMG workers

New Age BD, 19.6.2012

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday ordered the authorities concerned to issue ‘fair price cards’ to the readymade garment factory workers in industrial belts near Dhaka city to provide rice at a subsidised rate in an effort to curb labour unrest.  … workers holding the ‘fair price cards’ to be issued soon as per the directive of the prime minister, would be able to buy 20 kilograms of rice at Tk 24 a kg every month.

Workers’ woes

Daily Star Blog, 19.6.2012

Saidul Islam, a knitting worker, always wanted his wife to be a housewife. He wanted her to stay at home and raise their only child, which was of foremost importance to both of them.  … Last year he was earning between Tk 12,000 and Tk 14,000, but this year it fell down to Tk 8,000 to Tk 9,000. So, earlier this month, he had to resign to the circumstances and reluctantly send his wife Shahana Akhter to work, at a garment factory in their neighbourhood. She now chips in with Tk 3,000 a month. What is more unfortunate is that the couple had to send their son to Islam’s parent’s house in Pabna. They do not have anyone in the industrial belt to mind the three-year-old when they are away at work.  … “Because we purchase everything on credit we have to pay over and above everyone else. For instance, four pieces of eggs cost us Tk 45. But the garment owners and the government refuse to see it,” she said yesterday.

RMG sector set to incur Tk 500cr loss. Workers’ unrest derails export orders

The Independent, 18.6.2012

Workers’ unrest in the Ashulia garments belt has cast a deep pall of gloom in the ready-made garments (RMG) sector.The conflict—between workers fighting for what they believe is their just cause and an industry that’s trying to compete globally in an uncertain economic environment—has already claimed its first major victim—the ambitious USD 20-billion RMG export target for this fiscal year.

… BGMEA president Mohiuddin said that the loss of foreign buyers’ confidence, can not be measured in terms of money. Many orders have already been cancelled and many RMG companies would have to ship their product by air, to meet deadline, which would cost them a huge amount of money, he added. Mohiuddin also explained that when factories of big entrepreneurs are attacked, they would, naturally, become demoralised and would become discouraged from investing further. “How can one expect foreign investment to come in, when our own entrepreneurs are getting demoralised?” he pondered. ..

… However, RMG factories inside the Dhaka Export Processing Zone remained open and production was normal in these units.

Azad: RMG workers deserve pay hike

Star Business Report, 15.6.2012

The president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce Industry (FBCCI) yesterday hinted that garment workers deserve a pay hike against the backdrop of rising inflation and house rents. “House rents increased three times in Ashulia; non-food inflation marked a rise. So I have decided to hike salary for my workers from June instead of November,” said Azad, also the owner of Ha-Meem Group, a leading player in the sector. But Azad came under fire from other garment makers due to his decision of increasing salary of his workers. “It was my personal decision,” he defended himself.

Azad also said, only the workers are not responsible for the unrest in the sector, some other groups are also playing behind the scene.

… Turning down the workers’ demand for raising their salary, BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said food inflation declined to 7.4 percent recently from 11.91 percent in December. “So there is no logical reason for a pay hike,” he said.

More articles on Ashulia:

Ashraf blames ‘foreign stooges for RMG unrest’, The Independent, 21.6.2012
Bangladesh pay row shuts Ashulia garment factories. Police and garment workers have clashed as the pay dispute becomes increasingly bitter, BBC News, 17.6.2012

BGMEA, BKMEA oppose hike in tax at source

FE Report, 9.6.2012

Garment manufacturers are worried over the proposed hike in tax at source for export-oriented industries in the budget proposal for financial year (FY) 2012-2013, saying that it will have a negative impact on the sector.
…  According to the budget proposal for the next fiscal (2012-2013), which was placed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday last at the parliament, the government proposed 1.20 per cent tax at source on all types of export for the coming FY. Apparel makers are now paying 0.60 per cent tax at source in the current FY (2011-2012).
… “Cent per cent tax hike at source on export-oriented industries like us is completely detrimental to the industry. The normal progress of the textile industry will seriously be hampered if such increase is imposed,” BGMEA president M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters in a post-budget reaction at a press conference in city.

… US ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena in a meeting with the apparel producers last week expressed the same apprehension, saying that the present labour situation in the country’s garment sector could undercut Bangladeshi RMG (readymade garment) export to the US.

… The BGMEA president said people think that the export-oriented industry earns 12 per cent profit. According to the budget, the industry will have to pay 10 per cent tax and 1.20 per cent tax at source. But, garments industries and factories make 0.50 to 1.0 per cent profit on its export price.

CAMBODIA

Cambodia’s garment manufacturers, union leaders reach agreement on wage hike

Xinhua, 11.7.2012

Cambodia’s garment and footwear manufacturers on Wednesday agreed to add 10 U.S. dollars to the monthly wage of the workers in the country’s garment and footwear industries.

… According to the deal, the manufacturers agreed to provide 7 U. S. dollars a month for house rent or transport fee and another 3 U. S. dollars as attendance bonus for garment and footwear workers.

… With the increased amount, from Sept. 1 onwards, a worker will receive the monthly minimum salary of 73 U.S. dollars plus 10 U.S. dollar attendance bonus.

CHINA

Xinjiang raises minimum wages

China Economic Net, 29.6.2012

Western China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has raised its minimum monthly and hourly wages, local authorities announced on Friday.

After the wage hike, which took effect on June 1, minimum monthly salaries — before deductions for pension, unemployment, medical insurance and housing payments — were raised to 1,340 yuan (211 U.S. dollars), 1,140 yuan, 1,060 yuan and 980 yuan under four subdivisions. They have been increased by an average of 18.95 percent, according to a press release issued by the regional human resources department.

Minimum hourly wages, which have been upped by 1.8 yuan, now range from 9.8 yuan to 13.4 yuan across the region.

China adopted a minimum wage system in 1993, under which base rates in different provinces, municipalities or autonomous regions are decided by local governments.

Textile profits shrinking

Global Times, 8.7.2012

China’s textile industry, which contributes significantly to the country’s exports, experienced a slowdown in the first five months of 2012, mainly due to weakening global demand and decreasing competitiveness compared to other Southeast Asian countries, industry experts said Sunday.
Domestic textile companies with annual revenue of at least 20 million yuan ($3.14 million) saw total gross profit of 91.7 billion yuan from January to May, down 2.4 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in a statement on its website Friday.

INDIA

ATMA, TLA likely to settle for Rs 2,000 hike in wages for textile workers

Business Standard,

Even as the negotiations are still on between Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association (ATMA) and Textile Labour Association (TLA) for wage hike of textile workers, the same may be settled for a Rs 2,000 per month.

“We are yet to meet for a final negotiations. While we have been pushing for Rs 2,500 per month which amounts to 40 per cent hike, ATMA has been informally offering a final settlement around Rs 1,800-2,000 per month. …

UZBEKISTAN

Corporate Responsibility and Forced Labor in Uzbekistan

Central Eurasia Project, 11.7.2012

… The Centre for Governance and Geopolitical Studies recently released “Forced child labour in Uzbekistan: Some Changes – But Not For The Better” which documents alarming trends from Uzbekistan’s most recent cotton harvests. The Centre’s research, supported by the Open Society Foundations, reveals that civil servants are routinely forced to pick cotton and that children are made to work the most difficult part of the harvest in late autumn, when the weather condition are the most severe. …

9.   BRANDS

‘Plan A’ Report Confirms M&S as First Carbon Neutral Major Retailer’

TE, posted by Victoria Richards on Tue, Jul 10, 2012

TE Member, Marks & Spencer, has become the first major UK retailer to go fully ‘carbon neutral’ five years after launching its sustainability project, ‘Plan A.’  Since the launch of Plan A, M&S has reduced waste by 31 percent or 80,000 tons and 100 percent of waste is now recycled. Nothing ends up in the landfill.

Nachhaltigkeit Patagonia – Bio-Spinner gesucht

Financial Times Deutschland, 26.6.2012

Patagonia verzichtet auf einen klassischen Nachhaltigkeitsbericht. Statt sich selbst zu feiern, macht die Outdoormarke die Lieferkette transparent. Solche Aktionen inspirieren auch H&M und Zara.

How Timberland is building a better life for factory workers’ children

Leon Kaye Guardian Professional, Thursday 5 July 2012

A decade ago, Timberland was among many apparel companies dogged by accusations that some of its products were manufactured by children. Since then, the company has emerged as a leader in social responsibility and transparency. Extensive quarterly sustainability reports and factory audits are among the steps Timberland has taken towards progress on responsible sourcing and factory conditions. …

H&M urge Bangladesh government to raise wages

H&M and other brands, 18.6.2012

.. As buyers, we do not support violent protests, nor do we believe that this is the correct way forward. But we recognize and understand that the unrest has become a way for workers to raise their problems and vent their frustration, and we are looking to the Bangladeshi government to solve the current worker unrest in a peaceful, swift and humanitarian manner.

With regard to the issue of workers’ wages, the minimum wage in Bangladesh was last revised in November 2010. Since then, there has been an increase in the inflation rate that has been recorded by the World Bank data in 2011 and 2012. (As per World Bank data, the inflation rate in Bangladesh was recorded at 9.93 percent in April of 2012). We believe that, at a minimum, the Bangladeshi government should consider an annual review of the local minimum wage that takes into consideration to the national inflation and the Consumer price index. The mechanisms to adjust the minimum wage are varied, but what we believe is important is that some mechanism be considered. If a functional review system is created and enforced, these revisions will help address the basic needs of the workers. This in turn will also help the employers and buyers to work together and address the issues of productivity, and work towards a constructive framework to improve the resource efficiency in the textile and garment sector.

10.       FAIR

Grün und edel. Mode im Adlon. Der Branchenriese Messe Frankfurt organisiert die beiden wichtigsten Berliner Messen für grüne Mode.

Tagesspiegel, 7.7.2012

Wenn einer der größten Messeveranstalter der Welt einen vergleichsweise winzigen Showroom übernimmt, der noch dazu ein sehr spezielles Publikum bedient, muss ein besonderer Plan dahinterstecken. Und so war es auch, als die Messe Frankfurt im Frühling 2011 den Green Showroom übernahm, die auf grüne Luxuslabels spezialisierte kleine Messe, die seit 2009 während der Fashion Week in einigen Suiten des Hotels Adlon am Potsdamer Platz stattfindet. …

Dieser Umbruch in der Berliner Messelandschaft ist auch ein Symptom für den einen grundlegenden Wandel in der grünen Mode. Es geht nicht mehr um Konsumverzicht, sondern um verantwortlichen Konsum. Mittlerweile denken auch Weltmarken wie Puma ökologisch. Und die Kunden, die sich für die hochwertigen, individuellen Designermarken interessieren, die im Green Showroom zeigen, wollen erst einmal eines: gut aussehen. Das aber eben mit gutem Gewissen.

Mode „Es gibt ein Comeback der Blue Jeans.

Tagesspiegel, 5.07.2012

Bread & Butter-Chef Karl-Heinz Müller über die Nachwirkungen der Chino-Hose, die Gefahren der Öko-Mode und den neuen Wettbewerb auf dem Berliner Messemarkt.

11.       NGO CAMPAIGNS & PROJECTS

Faire Uniformen für Schweizer Beamte. Ausbeutung darf nicht durch Steuergelder finanziert werden!

Clean Clothes Campaign Switzerland

Uniformen verschaffen Respekt. Aber was ist mit den Menschen, welche die Uniformen herstellen? Schweizer Berufsbekleidung wird hauptsächlich im Ausland, u.a. Mazedonien hergestellt. Dort verdienen NäherInnen 70 Rappen pro Stunde – was gerade mal 20% der Haushaltsausgaben deckt. Das ist Ausbeutung!

Berufsbekleidung wird auch mit Ihren Steuergeldern finanziert. Fordern Sie deshalb gerecht hergestellte Schweizer Berufsbekleidung!

Die (fast) nackte Wahrheit über Uniformen, Kampagne für Saubere Kleidung Deutschland

Light the flame for workers’ human rights

Playfair 2012 Campaign

The Olympic torch relay and the symbolism of the Olympic torch, respect, excellence and friendship, provide a fantastic opportunity for us to demand a Games that truly respects the human rights of all the workers who make it possible.

12.       BOOKS, REPORTS, REVIEWS, SCIENCE

Economic impacts and impact dynamics of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton in India

Jonas Kathage, Matin Qaim: PNAS 2012 : 1203647109v1-201203647

Despite widespread adoption of genetically modified crops in many countries, heated controversies about their advantages and disadvantages continue. Especially for developing countries, there are concerns that genetically modified crops fail to benefit smallholder farmers and contribute to social and economic hardship. Many economic studies contradict this view, but most of them look at short-term impacts only, so that uncertainty about longer-term effects prevails. We address this shortcoming by analyzing economic impacts and impact dynamics of Bt cotton in India. Building on unique panel data collected between 2002 and 2008, and controlling for nonrandom selection bias in technology adoption, we show that Bt has caused a 24% increase in cotton yield per acre through reduced pest damage and a 50% gain in cotton profit among smallholders. These benefits are stable; there are even indications that they have increased over time. We further show that Bt cotton adoption has raised consumption expenditures, a common measure of household living standard, by 18% during the 2006–2008 period. We conclude that Bt cotton has created large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India.

Please also also read the introduction to the newsletter.

13.       WORKSHOPS ETC.

AUGUST 2012

Innatex

HOFHEIM / FRANKFURT, 04-06.08.2012

SEPTEMBER 2012

Munich Fabric Start mit „Eco Village“ und „Organic Selection“

München, 04. – 06.09. 2012

oeko-foire (fair)

LUXEMBURG, 14.-16.09.2012

Wear Fair

Linz, 28.-30.9.2012

OKTOBER 2012

Sustainable Textiles Conference. Messe Frankfurt, Textile Exchange, Ecotextile News

HONG KONG, 04.-05.10.2012

Ethical Fashion Night 2012

GENEVA, 28.10.2012


NEWSLETTER FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY NO. 11 | 25.6.2012

Dear reader

Here are some highlights from our Newsletter Fashion, Textile & Sustainability No. 11 (PDF):

  • Most news we received were generated in Bangladesh, where workers were demonstrating for 50% wage increase. We collected a lot of newspaper articles and we are putting them together for a Bangladesh Special to be released later this week. And look at the section „REGIONS“ to see that in many Asian countries workers demand higher wages.
  • Are you confused about standards?  The “International Trade Centre” just came up with a very handy tool for linking ‘ethical’ suppliers with global buyers: the all new “ITC Standards Map”. According the ITC homepage, “Standards Map provides users with information enabling them to analyse and compare information on more than 70 voluntary standards operating in over 200 countries, and certifying products and services in more than 80 economic sectors.” As nearly all essential fashion and textile standards are listed this tool might become a big success.
  • Marks & Spencer announces a big deal: “The world’s most sustainable suit.” Being made solely from sustainable materials and in very close teamwork with all involved suppliers and partners this itme could really be a milestone for the british retail-giant. Or, in their own words “This suit is a key learning tool for M&S to learn how to be more sustainable but also for our suppliers so we can work together to find better ways to minimise our impact for the environment.” We really appreciate this aim and we hope that M&S will make a hit out of this product, but as Netzwerk Faire Mode seldom uses superlatives, we might prefer the term “the world’s almost sustainable suit.”
  • The Swiss television reported about a campaign by the Clean Clothes Campaign / Declaration of Berne on Swiss work wear companies sourcing from Macedonia, where workers earn only 100 Euros minimum wages. Swiss politicians were particularly shocked that the Swiss Army is also supposed to produce under the same conditions.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) on textile products is a long discussed issue. An initative driven by the Swedish Chemicals Agency may now ultimately lead to a total ban on the EU market for the sale of textile products containing NPE. Something undeceived consumers could only look forward to.

If you have any wishes, please do not hesitate to contact us ms(at)netzwerkfairemode.com

Kind regards

NETZWERK FAIRE MODE & KERN KOMMUNIKATION

Read the rest of this entry »


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