Ethical Fashion Challenge

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Day 5: The power of an audit.

It’s Day 5 of your challenge!

Take a moment to remember again why you’re taking this challenge… and who you’re taking it for. Why not include your reflections in your social media update today?

TIP: Share WHY you are taking this challenge with your friends and family.

Today’s topic is AUDITING AND SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIPS!

Our prayer is that this takes you deeper in your understanding of the global fashion industry and gives you the ability to speak even more confidently about the role we as consumers can play in ending exploitation.

It’s one thing to have the policy in place… but enforcing it is quite another matter entirely! That’s why it’s essential that companies invest in auditing and supplier relationships, so that they can ensure that their policies and codes of conduct are implemented properly across the breadth of the supply chain.

Once a company has traced the location of its suppliers, audits (which involve factory visits and checks) are a useful tool for better understanding working conditions. Audits are also helpful in identifying instances of worker exploitation.

However, the quality of audits in the global fashion industry varies greatly. Audits work best when coupled with strong corrective action plans, training programs on worker rights, and (very importantly) mechanisms to hear worker voice and feedback… which is why an investment in supplier relationships is so crucial. Because strong supplier relationships make it possible to take action on the audit results and continue improving conditions for workers through further adjustment and training.

So… how is the global fashion industry tracking?

In 2019, the Ethical Fashion Report found that while 57% of final stage production facilities are audited over a 2-year period by trained social auditors, this number drops to 17% for inputs facilities… and just 2% for raw materials. To ensure ethical and safe working conditions, improvement must continue to be made.

The Christina Jessica diaries.

We met Christina Jessica when we visited Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India. Tamil Nadu is at the heart of India’s textile production and Christina Jessica’s experience is one shared by thousands of girls just like her in this region. Today, Christina Jessica continues her story about her life as a worker in the global
fashion supply chain.

Working in the spinning mill has severely impacted my health.

Conditions were terrible. The bathrooms were filthy and unhygienic and the food I was provided with was often
contaminated – not safe to eat. None of my supervisors seemed to care.

They just kept demanding my work, in spite of all that.

I was never given any protective gear to wear during my long shifts and there was nothing in place to protect my health
or my safety. As a direct result of my constant inhalation of cotton fibres, I now have ongoing respiratory issues… as well as problems with my heart.

I have never been compensated for these injuries, though they make it impossible for me to work… to this day.

Challenge yourself to go deeper still.
Help your community engage with the issue of worker exploitation. By running the “Who Makes my Clothes?” simulation game, you’ll help those who take part to learn more about ethical fashion… in a deeply personal way. Download it here: baptistworldaid.org.au/action/who-makes-my-clothes/


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