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May 11, 2020

Financial support and worker safety top industry concerns

A survey carried out by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to determine areas that the industry most needs support and guidance in the wake of Covid-19 has found the biggest areas of concern are financial support to prevent or alleviate facility layoffs and how to protect workers once factories reopen.

By Hannah Abdulla

A survey carried out by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to determine areas that the industry most needs support and guidance in the wake of Covid-19 has found the biggest areas of concern are financial support to prevent or alleviate facility layoffs and how to protect workers once factories reopen.

The SAC has launched a weekly pulse survey where members and facilities can report the impact the pandemic has had on their businesses. The information is then collated and updated on its website so organisations can learn from and support each other, and institutions in a position to support the industry can direct resources to those who are most in need. 

Of the 74 members that responded to its 29 April survey, the most affected areas were found to be sales, manufacturing and sourcing.

27% of member respondents had closed all of their stores and 23% had closed more than half of their facilities, while 19% had closed all of their facilities. 15% of member respondents said more than half of their staff had been laid off.

Of the impacts reported by global facilities, 564 facilities participated in the survey. On the facilities side, the most affected areas were cancelled orders and paying employees.

23% of those reported all operations had been stopped. 5% said they had laid off more than half of their staff while 11% said they had laid off less than half of staff. 26% said more than half of their new orders had been cancelled by customers and 23% said more than half of their existing orders had been cancelled by customers.

SAC members said the most urgently needed support was in financial support to prevent or alleviate facility layoffs followed by reopening facilities. After this, high on the agenda was support in ensuring worker safety in facilities.

On the global facilities side, the biggest concerns are around how to ensure worker safety in facilities, financial support to prevent or alleviate layoffs, and how to socially distance workers in facilities.

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