Summary: If you have a fashion brand or a company, taking action on social sustainability is not optional anymore, it is the need of the hour. Learn from the industry experts at Fashinza on the measures that can be taken to ensure that your brand remains socially responsible, sustainable, and loved by your customers.
The global fashion industry causes enormous environmental impact and fatal social mismanagement like violating labor laws in its supply chains or undertaking unethical practices. Multiple groups including consumers, NGOs, and investors have been putting pressure on big fashion companies and encouraging them to enforce appropriate social sustainability and risk management practices. In this blog, let’s explore a few ways in which fashion brands can step up to take action on social sustainability.
The International Accord is a legal agreement between fashion brands and global union federations. When companies sign up to become a member of the Accord, they agree to continue working to make factories safer for laborers. These factories then automatically fall under the follow-up of the Ready-Made Garment Sustainability Council.
When brands sign the Accord, they need to follow up with their suppliers to ensure that regular inspections and mediations are undertaken and that the factories cooperate with workplace programs. If more fashion brands sign the Accord, their collective influence can ensure that their suppliers are taking steps to improve safety at the factories.
Responsible purchasing practice is when buyers understand that the clothes they buy are made by workers who are respected and have a dignified life. Responsible purchasing practices are associated with Human Rights Due Diligence.
There are some buying practices that every fashion brand should seek to accomplish. For instance, when sourcing from a new factory, do an examination of the materials, how they value human rights, and if there is an intent to improve the status quo. Another way of making responsible purchasing practices is to ensure that laborers at the factories are paid at least minimum wage, and failing to do so has strict action.
Child labor persists worldwide in the fashion industry where young children are employed in the production of cotton, yarn spinning, and assembling garments at various phases in the production line. Any brand that is involved in the exploitation of children, ends up having a bad reputation, thereby affecting the consumers’ image of the brand and in turn the revenue. Brands that are socially sustainable should ensure that any stakeholders they engage with don’t employ child laborers and report if anyone is found violating child rights.
Social dialogue can sound like a rhetorical concept, but it is really straightforward. Setting an assertive social dialogue means that the workers, employers, and their representatives discuss and negotiate working conditions. It should be a safe space for workers to have a joint opinion in voicing their demands.
Maintaining a strong social dialogue helps avoid unmanageable and expensive conflicts by involving workers in administrative changes and raising their voices. A stronger, more reliable, and more profitable business materializes when workers and management work in a win-win situation.
A living wage is any compensation that fulfills the basic needs of workers and their families and enables them to have some savings. It is important that trade unions and labor representatives are involved in determining the living wage of a particular region or factory.
Living is a human right and access to a wage that is respectful and deserving of the laborer’s effort is of utmost importance. It is crucial to understand that as a brand, you don’t pay wages, you pay prices; however, factories you work with pay wages, and this remuneration should allow laborers to live a decent life. Brands should ensure that the suppliers they work with are honest, and reliable, and pay their workers fairly.
Taking an action toward social sustainability is the way forward for fashion brands. Practising ethical, sustainable, and environment-friendly ways of operating should be at the top of every fashion company’s agenda in 2023. Any brand that is socially sustainable will create a good image for itself in the market, thereby leading to better profits while remaining ethical and responsible.
Fashinza has a global network of suppliers that practice social sustainability. If you are a designer or a fashion brand that is on the lookout for manufacturers and suppliers that practice social sustainability, then partner with us.
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