There’s lots of buzz about fair and ethical trade, conscious fashions and green, but how much do you really know about what you wear?
Fair Trade is a trading agreement or partnership if you like. This is based on transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade and its well needed, especially in the fashion industry. Many just don’t realise it, but people are being exploited daily on account of the things we buy and wear; factory workers are being exploited, people are being undermined, working long hours and being underpaid. Working conditions are poor and some use underage workers to meet their margins and load.
Consumers world wide buy products not knowing any of this and unconscious of the process it’s taken to create the very items they wear daily. Some, surprisingly with very well known labels.
Over four years ago, the Rana Plaza tragedy saw 1,130 garment workers in Bangladesh killed and over 2,500 more injured.The building's owners ignored warnings to avoid using the building after cracks had appeared the day before. Garment workers were ordered to return the following day, and the building collapsed during the morning rush-hour.
The incident left consumers all over the world questioning who made the clothes they wear everyday and what kind of conditions those workers live and work in, but long after the incident has passed, where are we today?
But 4 years on, limited progress has been made and deadlines in meeting change is slow. A report on supply chain transparency released by Human Rights Watch finds only 17 of 72 apparel and footwear companies contacted by a coalition of labor and human rights groups and global unions have agreed to implement a transparency pledge by the end of this year.
We believe that consumers are beginning to realize our responsibility in being more aware of their purchases. We live social lives are are well informed in social communities about what’s going on in the world quickly these days and we all have a responsibility to recognize the power of our purchase together.
The interest of conscious clothes purchasing grows together with many other ethical products. This proves the consumer care ladder is growing. The more we learn, share and expose, the more influence and power we have as consumers.
New research indicates a growing consumer demand for information about how and where goods are produced. A study last year by professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard showed that some consumers — even those who were focused on discount prices — were not only willing to pay more, but actually did pay more, for clothes that carried signs about fair-labor practices.