Ethical Fashion Challenge

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Day 7: Environmental management

Today is your final opportunity to encourage your community to sponsor you… and to join you in your stand against worker exploitation in the global fashion industry.

TIP: make one, final appeal to your friends and loved ones to sponsor you $7 for each day of your challenge – that’s $49 for the week!

Thank you so much for your incredible efforts and for all you have done over the last seven days… from seeking to learn more about the issue of worker exploitation, to raising funds.

Today’s topic is ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

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.

The negative impact of the global fashion industry on the environment is both widespread and complex. Environmental issues are increasingly becoming an issue of great importance to both companies and consumers, and at Baptist World Aid we recognise that a “truly ethical” company manages its footprint to keep waterways, the earth, and the atmosphere healthy.

Much has been documented about the significant environmental impact of the global fashion industry, noting that this starts from the raw materials stage and continues across all stages through to the end-of-life of a garment. The breadth of environmental issues that the industry touches on is also wide, from carbon emissions to water consumption and waste concerns.

The type and severity of impact that an item of clothing will have depends significantly on the material that it is made from. Cotton, polyester, neoprene and recycled fibres are made and processed in very different ways and require different solutions to mitigate their effect on the environment. Companies therefore need to take tailored approaches to reducing their impact, however there are some common themes of environmental impact across fashion supply chains. Chemical use, water use, and the treatment of wastewater are vital considerations when managing inputs facilities, such as dyeing and finishing facilities.

It is important to note that most of the environmental impact of the fashion industry occurs within the supply chain stages, most notably at the Raw Materials and Input stages. Companies which have put significant effort into tracing facilities deep in their supply chain are therefore at an advantage to understand and improve environmental management practices.

So… how is the global fashion industry tracking?

Although industry progress in this area is slow, an increasing number of companies are assessing the environmental impact of the fibres they use, with over one third of companies investing in more sustainable fibres in their product design and production as a result!

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 shares the final instalment of her story about her life as a worker in the global fashion supply chain.

“After two years of 12-hour days in that awful spinning mill, my health had deteriorated so badly that I could no longer work.

I was still just a young girl. Only 17.

And so, I left that place. Three year’s short of my promised 50,000 rupees, though, I now understand that was just another lie that the labour broker sold me.

I was exploited for two years and I have nothing but sickness to show for it. I fear for my family’s future.

I need you to know that I don’t like telling this story. I hate having to re-live those terrible years. I hate being reminded of everything that I’ve lost. But I am compelled to share it, nonetheless.

It is my hope, that in hearing this story, you would be encouraged to pass it on to others… and that something would finally be done.

It is my hope, that by sharing this story, other young girls will be saved from this same fate.

It is my great hope that they will never have to live the life that I have lived.” 

Challenge yourself to go deeper still.

To learn more about this issue of environmental management, why not finish your challenge today by renting and watching “RIVERBLUE”? This documentary follows international river conservationist, Mark Angelo, and considers the impact of the fashion industry on our rivers: riverbluethemovie.eco/trailers/


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