Blog: Sweat-free or spin?
Leonie Barrie | 12 October 2005
Jeans giant Levi Strauss has become the latest clothing brand to wear its sourcing credentials on its sleeve – following in the footsteps of Nike which in April this year published a list of the names and locations of its 715 suppliers. Partly in response to demands from consumers who want to know where and under what conditions their clothes are made, Levi’s list details more than 750 active owned-and-operated and contract factories producing Levi’s, Dockers and Levi Strauss Signature branded products.
However, the move is not only designed to make the company more transparent for ethical reasons; Levi Strauss sees corporate responsibility as a way of improving its performance rather than just protecting its reputation. For instance, it says it hopes similar levels of transparency will become the norm across the apparel sector, making it easier to devise common standards among brands using the same contract manufacturers.
And surely, when brands are working together on compliance issues the whole problem of factory monitoring becomes more effective and less burdensome, allowing suppliers to focus time and resources on making improvements that benefit workers – and making clothes of course. Attention to one aspect of staff management often leads to improvement in others. Which can’t be a bad thing. I’m sure we’ve all visited factories where a constant stream of inspections from each and every one of their customers or their nominated CSR agents, often several times a year, not only disrupts production but is a costly exercise for everyone concerned.
But if it’s really such a positive push, why hasn’t it been more widespread until now? Maybe criticism from human rights groups has had something to do with it in the past. Or fear of giving away too much information to competitors. It’s all too easy to be sceptical when companies boast how socially responsible they are – but is there really anything wrong with retailers and manufacturers adopting ethical sourcing as their new sales pitch?
As long as everyone benefits there will be more than enough of an incentive to continue.
Increasing competition for garment sourcing contracts is seeing China not only being challenged by other countries in Asia, but by sub-Saharan African and even Russian suppliers too. And it is pushing...
The monthly minimum wage for workers in Cambodia's textile, garment and footwear sector is set to rise to $153 from January next year, following a vote on the issue last week. The increase marks a ris...
The results of two highly-anticipated initiatives in the sportswear sphere were revealed last week: the launch of Under Armour’s new UAS lifestyle brand and the first pair of running shoes created at ...
The recent bankruptcy of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping, the world's seventh-largest container shipper, at the end of August, has left billions of dollars worth of merchandise in limbo, leaving the fal...
- Will new Vietnam wage hinder competitiveness?
- Under Armour Lighthouse will disrupt production
- Digitisation to drive new apparel-making models
- Fashion fit for the future – strategies for speed
- How TAL Apparel is staying ahead of the game
- Marks & Spencer top for modern slavery reporting
- MAS Holdings shares commitment to sustainability
- Gap to shutter all UK Banana Republic stores
- Bangladesh garment workers rally for higher wages
- M&S "unappealing" clothing a barrier to growth
- Africa-Med strategic sourcing review – comparing East Africa, North Africa and Turkey
- REPORT BUNDLE: Africa-Med, Southeast Asia and Central America strategic sourcing pack
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Apparel (GLOBAL) - Industry Report
- Global Sports and Fitness Wear Market 2016-2020