Ethical Clothing Australia is an accreditation body working with local textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) companies to ensure their local Australian supply chains are transparent and legally compliant.
Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA®) is an accreditation body that works collaboratively with local textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) companies manufacturing in Australia. The ECA voluntary accreditation program offers practical and affordable assistance to these businesses, and ensures that their Australian supply chains are fully transparent and legally compliant.
The ECA program maps a company’s Australian supply chain throughout the entire cut, make and trim process, including all value adding processes. This is done via annual third-party compliance audits conducted by the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Sector of the Manufacturing Division of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (the Union). By encouraging companies to view supply chain management as an integral part of business, ECA protects the rights of both local factory-based workers and outworkers (also known as homeworkers).
Outworkers are particularly vulnerable in the TCF industry as they often work in isolation and can be unregulated. They can face unrealistic deadlines, long hours, irregular flows of work and occupational health and safety issues. Other issues include lack of awareness of legal rights and entitlements, and powerlessness to speak out about problems in fear of losing work altogether. It is vital that a body such as ECA exists to ensure that workers’ rights are protected, and that they are receiving the Award rates and entitlements.
ECA is a not-for-profit organisation currently funded by the Victorian Government as represented by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. It is a joint industry and union initiative that embraces a multi-stakeholder approach and works towards a more transparent industry whereby supply chain management is the TCF industry standard. The ECA accreditation and labelling system also provides consumers and buyers with a way to identify and support ethically made Australian textile, clothing and footwear products.
ECA will continue to work with local businesses and promote onshore manufacturing opportunities, in the hope that the future of the Australian TCF industry is one that values transparency, third-party compliance and ethical business practices.