If not the oldest and largest industry, the garment industry is certainly one of the oldest and largest export industries. The industry exemplifies the challenges associated with global manufacturing: low wages, "flexible" contracts and sweatshop conditions. In addition, the garment industry is the second largest polluter in the world - second only to oil...
Behind the racks of clothes in your local store lies a $1.000 trillion global industry created by your wants and needs. The primary objective of the fast fashion is to quickly produce a product in a cost-efficient manner to respond to fast changing consumer preferences in as near real-time as possible.
When you think of pollution, you probably envision smoking coal power plants and raw sewage piped into our waterways. We don’t often think of the overall impact of the fashion industry on our planet. It's quite grim.
Child labour is a particular issue for fashion because much of the supply chain requires low-skilled labour and some tasks are even better suited to children than adults. In cotton picking, employers prefer to hire children for their small fingers, which do not damage the crop.
There is a vast mismatch between the earnings in the garment industry and the wages paid out to the workers who produce the garments. It's estimated that the average percentage of the final retail cost of a garment made in the developing world, which goes to the garment worker, ranges from 0.5- 4%.
Widespread corruption makes it possible for crooks to escape inspection and sanctions. This intensifies the responsibility of foreign buyers to strengthen CSR in order to compensate for inefficient Government control and impunity.
Workers in factories in Bangladesh making clothes for western firms continue to suffer from poor working conditions years after a factory collapse that killed 1,100 people and prompted widespread promises of reforms.