FIBERcast

 

Register for FIBERcast, taking place on Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 @ 1:30 pm Eastern. Registration is free, but if you miss it live it will be available for download afterwards:

 

“For our first FIBERcast, join Dr. Hye-Shin Kim of the University of Delaware in examining social responsibility’s role in transforming production and sourcing practices in the global apparel trade. Her guests include Marsha Dickson, University of Delaware professor and chairperson of the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, board member of the Fair Labor Association, and co-author of the new book Social Resonsibility in the Global Apparel Industry, and Doug Cahn, of the Cahn Group, LLC, who has been a corporate responsibility and public policy executive for the past 30 years, including vice president of human rights programs at Reebok International. Learn why social responsibility is still needed in the apparel industry and how industry practitioners can align social responsibility initiatives with core business, bottom-line goals.”

 

I will be attending and will post notes on this site.

 

Source: fiber

Here comes the ethical bride…

vera-wang-ball-gown-zea-ivory-5
Vera Wang, Ball Gown; Zea-Ivory

 

The current issue of Ethical Style has dedicated itself to brides to be: “Big day, big decisions — how to turn your white wedding green”

 

It offers simple suggestions toward some ethical options on your big day.

The greatest thing about the guide however is the wide range of resources it provides; including the 3D’s: diamonds, dresses and destinations.

A perfect illustration that an ethical choice doesn’t have to be

 

a) ugly

or

b) expensive (actually, in some circles the jury may still be out…)

 

You brides probably have enough on your mind, but you may be surprised at what you find inside this issue….so follow the link.

 

Source: Ethical Style

Photo: Vera Wang at Pre Owned Wedding Dresses

Sweated Labour, Dell, Transparency and this Blog

 

The issue of transparency is an important one. So, here’s a little blogging transparency … I write this ethical fashion blog on my ‘Made in China’ Espresso Brown Dell Inspiron 1525.

 

The National Labour Committee released a report today titled “High Tech Misery in China: The Dehumanization of Young Workers Producing Our Computer Keyboards” Sure enough, Dell is one of the companies manufacturing products in the Meitai Plastics & Electronics factory highlighted in the report in Dongguan City, Guangdong China.

 

According to the report, the base salary at the factory is 64 cents/hour. Minus room and board, workers take home 41cents/hour. Tax all in, my ‘made to order’ laptop set me back $620.48.

 

Other companies producing in the factory include Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Microsoft and IBM.

 

You can view the NLC report here

AHRC: Call for more attention for handloom weavers suffering from hunger and Tuberculosis in Varanasi‏

 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released a ‘Hunger Alert’ update today regarding the state of poverty and TB amongst handloom weavers in Varanasi, India. According to the report, the weavers are suffering from lack of medical attention, government neglect and extreme poverty and hunger. You can read the entire alert, as well as view a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and World Health Organisation calling for their intervention here

 

What does this have to do with sustainable fashion design?

To say that the textile sector in India is vast would be an understatement. A decline in India’s handloom weaving industry has left these weavers without work to provide for their family, and created a situation where they are too ill to change their circumstance. Human Rights violations against the handloom weavers in Varanasi cannot be ignored. Sustainable solutions must include all aspects of the industry.

 

On a related note, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion released information this week regarding the Shared Talent: India competition. This competition will showcase sustainable textiles in India. For more information on the competition, see here.

 

Source:  AHRC and CSF

 

Global Surplus in Organic Cotton Production

 

According to this article by Eco-Textile News, although 2008 saw an increase in demand for organic cotton by 33%, global production was left with an 8% surplus. The article cites information released by non-profit Organic Exchange, who also claim that demand for organic cotton will likely result in a 24% increase in 2009 an worry that inventory will remain too high.

 

The Organic Cotton Market Report will be available in Feb 2009 for review.

FEI Conference

 

Clean Clothes Campaign via FEI
A home worker's work bench in Belgrade, Credit: Clean Clothes Campaign via FEI

Fashioning an Ethical Industry: Putting Ethics into Practice March 11th, 2009

 

This is a one day conference that will bring together experts in ethical fashion, as well as students and tutors, to discuss the current state of the ethical fashion industry, and ways to put ethics into practice. There is no question this will be an excellent conference.

 

You can read more about this year’s conference and speakers here.

To read a report on last year’s event click here, or to listen to a podcast, click here.

Source: FEI

ZARA and the right to freedom of association

 

A recent campaign from UNITE HERE Canada claims that the right to freedom of association is at stake for employees at ZARA, in Montréal, Quebec. According to a recent press release, “ZARA has engaged in conduct which may have violated the Québec Labour Code. This has included demoting two employees who led a union drive at ZARA’s downtown Montreal store, firing four employees who supported the union at ZARA’s Rockland Mall store, and holding anti-union meetings at three Montreal stores, in one case telling employees that joining a union is ‘treason’ against the company.”

 

Click here to view the press release.

re: manufacturing TOMS

 

Unsatisfied with the available information on manufacturing on TOMS site, I send the company some questions via email on Dec. 4th. Sean Scott, Chief Shoe Maker, responded today with some answers. Attached to the email was the company’s Code of Conduct. This information is not available online. If you are interested in reading the Code of Conduct, I suggest you send a request to sean@TOMSshoes.com, or send me a message and I will forward it over to you.

 

MH: How does TOMS define fair labor standards?

 

SS: Fair labor standards are defined largely by the local government but mostly by TOMS collective conscience.  We easily exceed worldwide legal standards.  “Fair labor standards” covers a broad spectrum of issues.  Please refer to attached TOMS Code of Conduct required of all our manufacturers.

 

MH: How does TOMS define fair labor wages? 

 

SS:  Please refer to attached TOMS Code of Conduct required of all our manufacturers.

 
MH: How often are your factories monitored? Your site simply states ‘routinely.’

 

SS:  TOMS employees are in our China and Argentina factories virtually every day.  So we can be sure there are no egregious human, social, safety, or environmental violations.  That said, we are not experts in these fields.  Therefore we contract factory audits by well-established, independent firms 1 or 2 times per year to enlighten us of any important issues.  

 
MH: What are “TOMS strict standards”?

 

SS:  Again, Please refer to attached TOMS Code of Conduct required of all our manufacturers.

 

MH: Who is the third party monitor used by TOMS responsible for factory audits?

 

SS:  Intertek (ITS)   http://www.intertek-labtest.com

 

MH: Congratulations on the success your company has had with your “one for one” campaign. My concern here is with transparency with respect to manufacturing.

 

SS:  Good questions all.  The above and attached info is available to anyone: Grad student, street musician, competitor, whomever…

Take care,

Sean

 

 

The obvious question now is why this information is not available on the company site?