Any change in textile manufacturing starts with corporate social responsibility. There are countless websites and organizations that want to help – giving the consumer the information and tools to allow them to join the fight. According to Fibre Fashion, the World of Textile, Garment, and Fashion, “Social responsibility is “an organization’s obligation to maximize its positive impact and minimize its negative impact on the society”. In other words, it is “the concept that businesses should be actively concerned with the welfare of the society at large. Social responsibility can be broadly divided into two parts: human responsibility and environmental responsibility.” With the textile production industry I want to look at the human responsibility aspect.
Human responsibility refers to the responsibility of the organization towards the various parties associated with it, which are known as ‘stakeholders’ in business parlance. These parties include employees, shareholders, the government, customers, investors, suppliers, competitors and the society at large.
Making a change can begin with corporations:
- Having ethical recruitment, remuneration, promotion and other policies.
- Providing opportunities to employees to voice their opinion and complaints and have an effective policy for the solution of these complaints.
- Ensuring a safe working environment for the employees.
- Having fair policies for the solution of employee disputes.
- Providing the necessary information to the government as and when required.
- Abiding by the laws and regulations of the area in which the firm operates.
- Contributing to the economy through exports.
- Undertaking community development and area development programs.
- Undertaking charity work for the underprivileged sections of the society.
- Creating job opportunities.
- Eliminate those purchasing practices that depress wages and foster abuse.
- Urge the government of Bangladesh (or any other location where there are unfair work practices) to protect workers’ freedom of association and expression.
- Reform its own auditing practices to be able to accurately monitor human rights and labor rights violations in contract factories.
Through the consumer:
- Do your homework; educate yourself on the companies you purchase from and how their products are made.
- Be an Ethical Consumer!
- Buy second hand clothing.
- Make your own clothing; research where your fabric and accessories are made.
- Make the move towards becoming a “Sweat Free Community”.
- Donate to companies like the International Labor Rights Forum in order to “help end forced labor, child labor, and other workers’ rights abuses around the world”.
- Shop using the consumer guide to “Sweat Free” stores
- Finally, you know how I love a good app! Free2Work claims to allow users to be able to “Learn how your favorite brands relate to trafficking and other labor abuses. Free2Work provides consumers with information on forced and child labor for the brands and products they love.” Simply scan the bar code on your product and get detailed information on the product’s journey to you – a well as recommendations and brand comparisons!
Peace, love, and an ethical (and fashionable!) you!