Shoppers urged to question fashion retail supply chain on Rana Plaza anniversary

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Shoppers are being urged to challenge fashion brands over where their products are made and how much workers in the supply chain are paid.

A new report was launched to coincide with Fashion Revolution Day today, the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in which more than 1,000 workers died.

A campaign running in 71 countries, including the UK, encourages fashion lovers to challenge global brands to demonstrate commitment to transparency across the supply chain.

“If companies don’t know how and where their products are made, then there’s no way for them to ensure their workers are protected. Transparency is important because it shows a company’s willingness to be held accountable for its supply chain and this builds up public trust,” said Orsola de Castro, co-founder of Fashion Revolution Day.

Fellow co-founder Carry Somers added: “We don’t know the true cost of the things we buy. In Bangladesh, for example, the current minimum wage of 68 US dollars per month falls short of the 104 US dollars per month, which is considered a fair living wage.

“But it doesn’t take much for the end-consumer to make a difference to the lives of those making our clothes. Research shows that an additional 30 cents per T-shirt would ensure living wages are met in Bangladesh.

“The fashion industry supply chain is fractured and producers have become faceless. This is costing lives.

“Brands and retailers may not know where their clothes are made, or be listening to what the people in their supply chain are saying, but they will most certainly be paying attention to what their customers are saying. We have incredible power as consumers, if we choose to use it.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Two years after 1,129 workers died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse, not enough has been done to make sure that such terrible events never happen again.

“Workers must be able to join a union without fear of attack, and companies must accept their moral duty to provide compensation to all workers harmed in their global supply chains.”