This is possibly one of my favorite action-oriented articles I've read and was the inspiration for the Buy 5 Initiative. It lists 6 distinct ways for you to get involved and change the dynamics of sweatshop labor.
You can read all 6 points in the article by clicking the photo below but these are my comments...
1. Reduce and Reuse
The article suggest buying less clothing overall, purchase high quality long lasting items or to opt for secondhand clothing.
I have questions about the second hand. Here's my torment... I get that it is environmentally responsible to purchase used. But it is really Ethically responsible? At what point does the social price no longer apply?
If something is made with toxins in a sweat shop and someone buys it, it supports that business. And then they turn around a resell it, it still gives that item value, encouraging others to purchase the brand new.
Like fur...at what point is the vintage fur acceptable to PETA? Never right? So why is second hand any more viable an option if the end goal is changing the industry.
Eco-Friendy...YES. Ethically responsible? Not sure
2. Buy Fair Trade
Currently, there is no US Fair Trade label for clothing. Which brings us to...
3. Beyond "Made in the USA"
This rocked my foundation. The article lists that looking for a UNITE label means that the garment was made here by workers who are in a Union for workers rights.
Seems like an extra step that I was going to bypass until I read this "The union label is a much better indicator of fair labor conditions than the “Made in the USA” label is. First, explains Trina Tocco of the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), there are many illegal sweatshops operating within the US and in US territories; also, it’s likely that a non-union “US-made” garment was produced overseas and only had the finishing touches, like buttons or embroidery, applied in the US."
So just because it says Made in the USA doesn't mean that it's Ethical or actually made in the US. It's like Pandora's box
4. Check the Source + 5. Do A Little Digging
Links to Green America's National Green Pages and their Responsible Shopper Website are included here.
"“It’s hard to find companies producing completely responsible garments,” explains Tocco, “because there are so many stages in the supply chain: gathering raw material, spinning it into cloth, dyeing the cloth, and cutting and sewing the garments. You could have a union-made garment made of cotton picked by a child laborer.”
Overwhelming really. So start by avoiding the worse of the worse and go from there...
6. Change the System
Let companies know you're concerned about their practices and of course - commit to buying five responsible clothing items this year...
Click the photo below to read the full article.
Any one of the six action items above would be amazing but if you did ONE thing it would be...
COMMIT TO PURCHASING FIVE ITEMS THIS YEAR THAT ARE ETHICALLY RESPONSIBLE. Need support? Join me on my own personal journey in the Closet for Change FB group HERE