LONDON: To mark the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh where over 1,100 people died and a further 2,500 were injured, the Fairtrade Foundation has called for greater transparency and better connections across the textile supply chain.
The organisation has joined Fashion Revolution, a coalition of agencies, key figures from the fashion industry, press and academics in 52 countries to highlight ongoing issues in the US$1.2 trillion global garment industry with the question: 'Who Made Your Clothes?'
Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation commented: 'Fashion Revolution Day is the good that has come out of that tragic day last year. Then, people were horrified that they might have been buying clothes made in such terrible conditions. That has sparked a determination that this should never happen again, with people in their thousands looking to hold clothing companies to account."
Fairtrade cites research by Deloitte last year that found 61 percent of companies didn't know where their garments were made and two out of three fashion companies were not focused on engaging consumers with regard to Sustainability.
Gidney added: 'The links in the garment supply chain have been broken. People have become disconnected from the people who make their clothes. This makes it all too easy for farmers and workers at the far end of supply chains to become marginalised. Fairtrade focuses on the plight of the cotton farmer at the very start of a garment's life, in countries such as Mali and India. Cotton farmers are amongst the poorest farmers in the world and are too often overlooked. Ensuring they are treated fairly is not only a moral imperative but also the only way to ensure long-term sustainable supplies of cotton.'
More than 20 of the biggest names in ethical fashion have put their names to the Fashion Revolution - from retail expert and broadcaster Mary Portas to entrepreneur Jo Wood and eco-journalist Lucy Siegle along with Fairtrade ambassadors Anita Rani, Louis Smith, Mica Paris and Cheska Hull.
Fairtrade was founded in 1992 by a number of aid organisations to work with businesses, community groups and individuals to improve the trading position of marginalised producer organisations and to deliver sustainable livelihoods for farmers, workers and their communities.