Is ethical clothing really not the norm? How big is the challenge we face, and how can we replace abuse with caring, respectful practice in the fashion industry?
Garment manufacturing has been called an exploitative system at its very root, with mistreatment of workers at the core of fast fashion. Our mission at Positive Outlook is not complete without helping to make ethical clothing the default, turning the tables on such a corrupt system. We refuse to prioritise either profit or our environmental goal over the lives of our employees, which is why we are showing you a window into our practices.
Avoiding The Smoke And Mirrors of Non-Ethical Clothing
Manipulation and abuse are horribly rife, whether they are an open secret or obscured by the lack of visibility that plagues the supply chain. Unseen has shed some light on the disgusting truth: the workers who witness mistreatment, whether it relates to being locked in factories or being given little or no pay, have no voice with which to protest. With the Modern Slavery Helpline and the Fashion Transparency Index in your armoury, you as buyers can track different clothing brands and cut down unfair practices, making way for ethical clothing.
We were aware of the challenges from the very beginning, which is why we work with local suppliers who we know personally. Their family-run business works closely with us to ensure workers are given everything they need and every opportunity. In our line of ethical clothing, any of our employees’ issues or concerns are heard by us, first-hand.
Let Us Show You
We guarantee every worker good living wages, safe working conditions, fair working hours and a voice - something unheard of for many workers. There is no manipulation of the facts or barefaced lies, as each of our suppliers participates in the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit or SMETA.
SMETA exists to verify that businesses are following ethical practices, as related to their four pillars of labour standards, health and safety, environment and business ethics. Their labour standards assess every aspect of potential malpractice, from ensuring no forced or child labour is taking place, to establishing that discrimination is completely absent from the workplace. Health and safety requirements not only cover physical risk from the surroundings and particular tasks, but also threats to mental health and wellbeing, with businesses made to enforce measures to protect against any threat.
With SMETA regularly checking up on our practices, you can be sure that ethical clothing is the only type that we will ever produce and cared-for workers are the only kind in our employ.
The Perks Of Working For An Ethical Clothing Company
We’re not just about ticking off items on a checklist! Our suppliers and manufacturers often go above and beyond to appreciate those who are instrumental in making our business happen. For example, our Turkish suppliers offer a drop-off and collection service and one free hot meal a day, cooked in their on-site canteen. It makes us not one more penny of profit, but at Positive Outlook we will go the extra mile for the people, whether that’s in the supply chain or as part of our Give Back Pod.
People matter, as much as the planet.
Blog Author: Ben Oliver - May 15th 2022