Over 1,100 garment workers died seven years ago in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. This tragedy shocked the industry and increased the profile of worker’s rights. Companies were pressured to review their entire supply chain and consumers were made more aware of how (un) ethical the fashion industry was.
One organisation that has been at the forefront of this awareness has been World Baptist Aid. They reported that, “The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are presently 24.9 million people in forced labour exploitation and 152 million child labourers scattered across the global economy. Many of this number are forced to work in the farms and factories that resource the apparel industry. For millions of others working in the industry, wages remain so low that they are unable to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.” World Baptist Aid understand the problem and have provided a solution.
World Baptist Aid produce a yearly “ethical report” on the state of the fashion industry. Since 2013 there have been significant changes to the 130 fashion companies - reviewed on how they protect their workers. Their reports encourage consumers to “vote with your wallet and encourage more companies to end exploitation in their supply chains.”
Being part of the solution
So here are some tips from World Baptist Aid on how to be part of the solution to a more ethical fashion industry.
Firstly, they suggest being vocal on your social networks. This includes checking out the report and fashion guide ratings when you shop https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/2019-ethical-fashion-report/
Secondly, research your favourite brands on their report. The grades awarded by the Ethical Fashion Report are a measure of the efforts undertaken by each company to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry.
Thirdly, why not organise a clothes swap party? https://baptistworldaid.org.au/action/clothes-swap-guide/
Fourthly, host a screening of The True Cost https://baptistworldaid.org.au/host-screening-true-cost/
Fifthly, start your small group or family on a topical Bible study https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resource-category/bible-studies/
Baptist World Aid have provided some well researched reports and practical guides to making a difference to an industry we are all part of.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html