Anyone who tries to be an ethical consumer will tell you it’s hard work. The reason for this put simply is that the majority of manufacturers have chosen to outsource production of their goods to countries in Asia, where employment law is lax and working conditions generally appalling. They have made the decision that human rights violations and environmental degradation are a price worth paying in return for huge profits.
The outsourcing revolution has no doubt enabled retailers to offer more styles at affordable prices. But increased choice in style has meant reduced choice for consumers concerned with wearing ethically produced clothing. The majority of consumers are aware of the sweatshops their clothes come from. But with the other high street alternatives employing the same manufacturing tactics. Many shoppers feel they have no choice.
Forty years ago the chance is that you would have known someone who worked creating garments of clothing. Now that manufacturing takes place in super de-regulated enterprise zones in South East Asia it has become harder for people to feel a connection with the clothes they wear. Just last month it was reported that Adidas have been subcontracting production of kit of the Olympics game where 65-hour working week is common place and pay is as little as 34 pence per hour. I think you would agree that over 10 years on from the publication of Naomi Kleins book ‘No Logo’ the continuation of mass human rights and environmental abuses are unacceptable.
Recently my friend Sally told me about the Environmental Justice Foundations fashion campaign focusing on ending the use of forced child Labour and harmful pesticides in the cotton industry. She was telling me that in Uzbekistan the worlds 3rd largest exporter of cotton, the government closes school and sends children from the age of 7 off to pick the annual cotton harvest. To help raise awareness of the campaign and much needed funds; EJF are inviting people to join them in cycling from London to Paris this July or September. And they are looking for some keen cyclists to help them in supporting this fantastic cause. Alternatively sponsor Sally she is very passionate about creating social and environmental justice and she is my friend.