Ethical trading is a big issue within the fashion world, although it is hardly spoken or heard about. Working conditions are poor and unhealthy and there is still the issue of sweatshops being used to produce products at a low cost, which are then sold for bigger profit margins. Sweatshops exploit workers in countries such as Bangladesh, China and in some cases North of Africa.
After researching about the issue,I have subtracted the fact that around two million workers get paid as little as two american dollars a day, with no breaks throughout the whole of the day and in ‘desperately’ poor working conditions. Young, mostly women workers are paid 1.6 cents to produce a ‘Havard’ baseball cap that is retailed at $17 and 5 cents to produce a ‘Disney’ t-shirt that is retailed to consumers at $17.99. Further research shows that around 6,000 human beings, people with families and children are dying daily due to work related illnesses or accidents.
We need to stop this from happening, it is a disgrace, there is nothing humane about any of this. In 2013 a fire caused around 1,000 deaths in a factory in Bangladesh. Companies such as Mango, Walmart, Benetton and Disney made ‘financial contributions’ but did not offer the families any compensation for the deceased.
It is heartbreaking to think of the many young children working in disgraceful conditions at such a low wage, a wage that can’t afford them to pay rent, let alone a loaf of bread.
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is an organisation that promotes ethical trading, among many others. The organisation has many members including some well known high street fashion retailers such as River Island, H & M, ASOS and even Sainsbury’s. The organisation expects certain duties from the joining members, which include
*Integrating ethical trading into the business
*To demonstrate a commitment to trade ethically, and
*To report activities openly and accurately.
If enough of us know about the situation ‘behind the scenes’ of the fashion world, then it is enough for us to try and make a difference. It’s a mystery to me as to why we don’t hear enough of these stories on the news or read it in newspapers, are big corporations paying newspapers to keep it quiet? This is probably and almost certainly not the case, the case is that these ‘sweatshops’ are unknown of. Even if we gathered enough evidence that a company is using a sweatshop, we cannot locate it to prove such accusations, and of course the company would never admit such a thing.
I also read a report of Fair-trade and how much of a difference they make, according to them Fair-Trade is a ‘Partnership’ between producers and traders, which is what we like to hear, they aim to help the ‘excluded’ and ‘disadvantaged’ people in developing countries. The report also gives the thought of having Fair-Trade clothing, but I think that may take a while to develop. At least there is some humanity in the world, there are people out there trying to improve the working lives of others and whom are aware of these issues.