Why should you adopt ethical manufacturing practices for your brand in 2021?
It is no secret, today’s compulsive shopping habits and overconsumption have brought demand in the garment industry. It has pressured brands and manufacturing to practice mass production. In addition, the continuous surge in mass production has made an ongoing threat to the garment industry worker’s living and working conditions which has caused a series of ongoing tragic incidents and the rise of labor rights violations in the garment industry.
By now, you have probably heard about sweatshops. This occurs when employees are forced to work in a poor working environment to meet the high demand in a short period of time with, of course, very low wages, especially in the fashion industry when the manufacturers are just focused on maximizing profit.
One of the famous examples of the workplace, violations is the deadliest Rana Plaza incident in Dhaka,2013. It is the worst accident in the history of garment manufacturing where 1,132 people’s lives were lost and more than 2,500 workers were injured, just to meet the demand of the consumers like us. Just 5 months before the incident at least 112 people were trapped and lost their lives in another serious incident, Tazreen.
The real truth is, these incidents could have been avoided if the right measures were taken into consideration. Unfortunately, Incidents like this happen every day in different parts of the world, yet this issue remains unreported in the mainstream media due to the complexity in the supply chain of dominant global fashion brands.
These events have also brought an online global movement of #whomademyclothes by Fashion Revolution, to encourage and to revolutionise the fashion industry towards greater transparency and to anyone who is on the journey towards ethical and sustainable fashion.
Consumers today are more aware of the ethical implications in the garment industry and have understood being ethical starts with them. Thus, there has been a high demand for ethical consumerisms, and brands are forced to change their perspectives, and look out for ethically sourcing and manufacturing. Hence, there has been a rise in ethical clothing manufacturing yet there are still questions as to what it really means.
What does the term ethical mean?
The term ethical is a set of morals. Ethical manufacturing means reducing any negative impacts on people and the planet throughout the manufacturing process. If a Manufacturer is ethical their values and principles could comply with the following list:
- Employees are treated well with respect
- They receive fair living wages for the employee
- Health and Safety for the workers – no bonded labor, no underage employment, and employees are free to leave at any time.
- Good working conditions
- No Child labour and enforced labour
- No long working hours
- Aims to lower their carbon footprint whenever possible
- Sourcing sustainable materials and supports the ethical sourcing process
- Reducing waste
So, is ethical manufacturing the driving force to sales?
The simple answer is no, ethical manufacturing is not and should not be the USP for your products. Even though research has shown consumers are willing to purchase ethically sourced and manufactured products there is no guarantee it will drive your sales and maximize profits.
Your brand should always aim to produce high-quality garments with a competitive price point with your competitors, alongside ethical procedures. Also, although there is no manufacturer that is 100% ethical, your manufacturer should always aspire to be one in their long-term goals.
Why should you care and adapt to ethical manufacturing?
Ethical fashion manufacturing is on the rise, and we should care about ethical implications. It starts with small brands to change the perspectives of the bigger brands. When you make a decision to opt for an ethical manufacturer you are building relationships with people who actually respect the time, effort for each individual alongside the process of finishing products without harming the environment.
You should also adopt ethical manufacturing:
- For a better future, the fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry and we have the power to reduce it.
- Employees can get a fair wage to support their families.
- You will be able to sleep better knowing exactly how and where your products are being made.
- Better brand equity: Research shows as more consumers are leaning towards circular fashion, and having ethically sourced products improves your brand equity in the long run.
Overall, Having the right attitude, the right values, morals, and principles not only helps your brand but will also inspire future generations and have a positive impact on society. Consumers today are savvy more than ever. Consumers are smarter when purchasing a product.
Having ethical transparency with your consumers will gain trust from your consumers and gain brand loyalty which will help your brand in the long term. We are moving towards a conscious future and each small decision you make shows what type of business person you are and your company values.
If you would like to read further about ethicality within production and the fashion industry – click to check out our range of blog posts featuring sustainability including greenwashing and packaging.