Six years after the collapse of the textile factories in Rana Plaza, in Bangladesh' capital Dhaka, NGOs demand renewed attention for working conditions in low-wage countries. H&M leads the way, giving information about the production of each separate item of clothing.
Situation in Bangladesh "insufficiently improved"
When six years ago a building with several textile factories collapsed, over 1100 employees died. Now a group of NGOs are organising actions to keep the memories of that day alive, asking for continuing attention for the conditions the employees work in: the organisations say that there is still a lot of work to be done.
In Brussels, 27 organisations held a morbid fashion show where lined up next to a red carpet are body bags, representing the casualties of the fashion industry. On social media meanwhile, the global #whomademyclothes campaign by Fashion Revolution asks consumers to post a picture of them wearing their clothes inside out. By clearly showing the clothes' labels, the organisers want to let people think about where their clothes come from. Not enough progress was made in these six years, the organisations say: working conditions are still not monitored enough and wages have barely been raised since the disaster.
They also see a role for governments: "The Belgian government must legally force brand and chains to respect basic human rights in the fashion industry, and check if they really do", Sara Ceustermans of the Clean Clothes Campagne told Belgian news website VRT NWS. The activists also criticise the lack of consequences for companies that do not respect human rights abroad, and ask for an European legislation on the matter.
H&M releases all production information
H&M, also one of the first to sign a Rana Plaza declaration of intent, is launching a new "transparency layer": customers can now find all kinds of information about the origin of clothing on the website or via the mobile app. For example, the website does not only tell you which country items are from, it also lists the names of the supplier and the factory, with their address and the number of factory employees. The company also lists all the materials used for customers./p>
In the annual Fashion Revolution transparency ranking, H&M reached fourth even before this new measure. The other high-ranking companies, based on transparency and sustainability, are Adidas, Reebok, Patagonia and Esprit. All five achieved scores over 60 %, while the average of all 200 of the world's biggest fashion companies is barely 21 %. This means most of the big brands are still lagging behind terribly, the organisation states.