Published on 24/04/18
In support of Fashion Revolution Week (23 – 29 April), Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA®) would like to express its gratitude and respect for the hardworking and skilled people who make our clothes around the world. Thank you for your valuable contribution to the global garment industry.
Locally, ECA would like to highlight the positive steps being made by accredited companies to ensure their Australian workers are treated fairly and working in safe conditions. These brands and manufacturers recognise the importance of third-party compliance and understand that maintaining an ethical supply chain is their responsibility.
ECA’s governing body, the Homeworker Code Committee (HWCC), believes that supply chain transparency and accountability is critical to bringing about change in the garment industry. The HWCC has supported Fashion Revolution since the campaign launched in 2013 and continues to encourage ECA accredited companies to share the stories of their makers with customers as a way of raising awareness.
Michele O’Neil, National Secretary of the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) and HWCC Secretary notes that in the past five years since the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, there has been a shift in both consumer and business attitude:
“A lasting and growing legacy of the Rana Plaza collapse is a change in many consumer attitudes. An increasing number of people around the world want to know about the labour behind the label. Some brands have responded and taken the important step of becoming accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia. New companies are being founded on ethical and sustainable basis. Leading Australian companies are promoting that they make their garments ethically in Australia.”
Damien Peirce-Grant, Chief Operating Officer at Cue Clothing Co. and HWCC member, reaffirms Cue’s ongoing commitment to supporting local industry and protecting the welfare of its workers:
“Cue believes that fashion should never take precedence over the basic rights of those who are engaged to produce those same garments that are designed and intended to make people feel good. Fashion should positively impact people at every level – from the designer, through to the maker, and ultimately the end customer.
Greater transparency and accountability levels out the playing field and ensures companies trying to do the right thing are not competing with those who cut corners and attempt to profiteer from unacceptable treatment of workers. It sets a standard that consumers should expect to find irrespective of where they buy their garments, and gives them confidence that garment makers are respected, supported, and protected.”
The growing interest and participation in Fashion Revolution Week is a positive indication that the garment industry is beginning to recognise the need for greater transparency and consumer education. That said, ECA would like to see this conversation continue throughout the entire year and asks that customers look for brand claims that are verified by an independent body. Third-party compliance audits conducted by the TCFUA means ECA’s accreditation and labelling system provides consumers with a way to identify and support ethical and locally made products.
O’Neil says, “ECA provides an opportunity to make the Australian industry a global leader in unions and companies ensuring ethical supply chains. This changes workers’ lives and delivers fair pay and conditions and respect and dignity.”
Learn more via fashionrevolution.org