Friday 1 May 2015

Scoring Slavery

No-one wants to think that their clothes are products of slavery. Regardless of how cheap the item is, if you offered it to customers with a big sticker saying that it was made under sweatshop conditions, it's likely that you'd get very little takeup... and possibly reported to the authorities.
There's a wilful blindness at the heart of fast fashion, an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" attitude that means consumers have to be clouted repeatedly over the head with the idea that there is a good reason that cheap clothes are so cheap. It's most likely going to be labour costs in the form of fair wages that have been crossed out of the costing analysis.
What we really need is a list of how different fashion brands stack up on this important issue. Maybe even something like a league table. The ability to see at a glance how they compare on this most basic of ethical issues could really enable we the consumers to put pressure on the underperformers.
Australian campaigner Matt Darvas has just released a report that does exactly that. Using a scoring system based on how open different brands are at documenting and implementing fair labour relations, they've come up with a league table that goes from A+ (for brands Etico and Audrey Blue) to a damning F for the PAS group. These scores are for the Australian market, but it gives a fair idea of how the global players are sitting when it comes to fair treatment of their overseas workforce. Here's the list:

Matt is careful to note that having good ethical practices in place is no guarantee that these practices are being adhered to. But at least we're in a position to make a judgement based on more than price or look.
For more, check out Matt's blog post:

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