The Industry We Want has released its latest Industry Dashboard scoring progress in the apparel sector across a number of key pillars of change ranging from wages, and purchasing practices to greenhouse gas emissions.

The organisation called for a “collaborative approach” to solving the complex issues across its pillars, as it revealed a growing wage gap between legal minimum wages and living wages in garment manufacturing countries.

This was echoed by calls from the Better Buying Institute calling for better communication between suppliers and buyers to improve practices in the sector.

While its latest Better Buying Partnership Index (BBPI) results showed some progress, particularly for repeat subscribers to the index, Dr Marsha Dickson, president and co-founder at the Better Buying Institute, told Just Style exclusively that a bigger shift is needed in the longer term.

She admitted the cost of fashion will eventually have to increase to meet the increased costs associated with better practices, and stated: “We have to reconnect the actual costs of producing and supplying products with the price that’s being paid.”

Crucially, she highlighted: “If suppliers aren’t being paid enough to cover the costs, or if there are so many inefficiencies created and increased costs […] how in the world are they ever going to pay a living wage?”

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The cost of poor due diligence in apparel

An alleged attack on union organisers and activists at a garment factory in Bangladesh provided an example of the negative impact that poor relations between suppliers, brands and workers can have in reality.

The Clean Clothes Campaign said: “It is of vital importance that all brands that source from this factory ensure that the management halts all violence and threats against its workers, the union, and its organisers immediately.”

However, this story serves as yet another warning on what a lack of due diligence can mean in practice, but how many more examples do we need before we see real change?

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