‘Cost of fast fashion is being paid by supplier’s workers’

The cost of fast fashion is being paid somewhere—but it’s not by the consumer or the brand, but by the supplier’s workers and their communities. It takes real vision and boldness on the part of brands to engage their suppliers on an equal footing, listen to their needs, and take them seriously, says Jeroen Douglas, executive director, Solidaridad Network.

“Outdated ideas that fashion supply chains are a zero-sum game are disproved by the frontrunners in this field, who are able to realise win-wins for themselves, suppliers, workers, communities, the environment, and of course consumers. They are able to enhance the quality of materials earlier in the supply chain, improve productivity, and bring down the unnecessary costs born from unsustainable practices by ensuring the workforce in their supply chain are trained, rewarded, motivated, not overworked, and feel safe,” writes Douglas in an article in the hard bound fifth edition of the Sustainability Compendium – ‘Going Circular’ brought out by Fibre2Fashion.

“Companies who are performing well in this area are also actively engaged with sector initiatives that involve suppliers, such as the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), as shown in our recent Sustainable Cotton Rankings, or the Social and Labor Convergence Project (SLCP),” Douglas adds in his article ‘From the bottom up’.

Netherlands-based Solidaridad Network works towards sustainable production of cotton, apparel and other commodities. Its mission is to bring together supply chain players and engage them with innovative solutions to improve production, ensuring the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximises the benefit for all.

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