Fair wage assurance is one of the major pieces missing in garment factories and it's no secret that not all brands have that on their checklist when sourcing or they don't know how to ensure it's met. The Bangladesh Embassy held an event by Faruque Hassan who is the president of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, to discuss the importance of giving workers better jobs and safer work environments. Here's what we know about the event:
Who is STAR
STAR network or the Platform on Sustainable Textiles of the Asian Region is making big waves in the garment factory sector by bringing together suppliers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Turkey and Vietnam to present a united front in terms of pricing and delivery times and therefore shift the power imbalance in the industry. As it stands, brands can pit suppliers against each other until they find the cheapest price pushing the price expectation of the whole industry down despite rising costs.
What was discussed
This event held in Washington DC highlighted the fact that production costs has risen more than 30% in the last five years while somehow the cost of apparel has gone down and this is because factories are taking the hit. (Source: Sourcing Journal). The pandemic created mass cancellations across the industry as brands tried to stay in business. With many factories locked down and loads of unpaid orders, it's been nearly impossible to stay in business. This has resulted in many garment factories taking any orders they can get this year, many below cost.
STAR called on US lawmakers to lower their import taxes. Bangladesh is currently one of the leading countries of exports to the U.S. yet it has the highest import duties. It's reported that they exported $6 billion worth of goods to the U.S. last year and 90% of them were apparel and footwear. (Source: Sourcing Journal) Factories have no control on these export fees and material prices and with brands often unwillingly to increase their prices, studies have shown, that this often takes a toll on the garment workers.
By exposing these holes in the supply chain, and forming this supplier alliance, STAR hopes to even the playing field and empower brands to make safer, more informed decisions to protect all workers across the supply chain.
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