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Editorial: Counting the Human Cost of Cheap Clothing
published in Issue 163, July 2013
The collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in April 2013 sent a shockwave through the textile and apparel industry. More than 1,100 lives were lost in the incident, and Bangladesh's reputation as a reliable low cost location in which to manufacture clothing suffered a severe blow in the eyes of consumers and the major brands. The tragedy of Rana Plaza also raised much wider concerns about worker exploitation in the clothing industry worldwide -- including wage levels and factory safety -- and these concerns show no signs of abating. The danger for the industry in Bangladesh is that buyers will simply avoid the problem by placing orders in locations which are not under the spotlight. This would deprive Bangladesh of its main source of export earnings and employment and lead to hardship among, potentially, millions of families. In this report, Robin Anson questions whether leading clothing brands are taking adequate steps to help improve the working conditions of their supplier factories. In addition, he analyses the findings of recent research into global wage trends for apparel workers and discusses the impact of low wages on apparel workers in low cost apparel producing countries. Robin Anson also provides information on issues relating to factory safety, and provides suggestions as to how national governments, major brands and workers' unions can work together in order to improve working conditions in the clothing industry.
Six times a year, Textile Outlook International provides up to 200 pages of expert comment and analysis. A subscription provides an overview of the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. It is essential reading for senior executives in the fibre, textile and apparel industries – and for anyone who is not involved in the industry, but needs to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues.
Reports in Textile Outlook International include:
country profiles – providing a comprehensive guide to the textile and clothing industries in a range of countries and regions. The reports include an economic and political profile together with a comprehensive overview of the main issues, plus an outlook for the future.
company profiles – giving you the opportunity to learn from strategies employed by others. Companies profiled recently include retailers, manufacturers, innovators and sourcing companies involved in textiles and apparel as well as smaller companies which illustrate the opportunities for firms which are interested in selected sourcing locations.
trends in world textile and apparel trade and production – taking into account current issues facing the industry – such as global fibre prices; competition from China and other low cost countries; the elimination of quotas and imposition of selective new ones; relocation of production operations; the impact of economic factors affecting trade; international trade agreements; trade promotion agreements (TPAs); and much more.
trends in EU and US imports of textiles and clothing – providing comprehensive statistical data and analysis of the