The investment from Shein will be used to create a more sustainable production ecosystem by developing innovative lean production solutions for garment manufacturing through research and development at the Centre of Innovation for Garment Manufacturing (CIGM).

The CIGM will allow conducting of research, developing best practices for efficient and flexible production, and sharing knowledge with their manufacturing partners to drive organisational and process improvements, leading to the transformation of Shein’s garment manufacturing centres globally.

Shein will also provide training and upskilling of workers in the supply chain, and incorporate workshop courses and theoretical and practical applications to Shein’s garment manufacturing hubs around the world.

“Over the last ten years, Shein has been at the forefront of transforming the fashion industry by promoting our innovative on-demand production model that reduces redundant production and creates more value for our consumers, the industry, and society as a whole,” said Tony Ren, Shein’s general manager of supply chain. “Shein will continue to strive for the empowerment of the fashion industry using cutting-edge innovation exploration, research and training.”

The company will invest $15m to help upgrade hundreds of suppliers’ factories in its supply chain, $10m to provide accommodation and lifestyle facilities for workers, and $5m to build and staff 60 childcare centres, serving children aged 5 to 16 years of Shein supplier workers. The company aims to roll out 10 childcare centres within 2023 and will continue funding an estimated $216,000 annually to run all the centres. Childcare centre services will be offered at no charge to workers at Shein’s supplier factories.

Shein’s initiative aligns with its Responsible Sourcing (SRS) program, which ensures that employees working for its suppliers are treated fairly and with respect in safe and comfortable working environments.

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Under the SRS program, Shein requires all manufacturing suppliers to adhere to their Code of Conduct, which is in line with the International Labor Organisation’s core conventions and local laws and regulations. The Code covers various aspects like health and safety standards, environmental and energy standards, and human rights. Shein implements a systematic approach to supply chain management, and work with independent third-party audit firms such as Intertek, TUVR, and SGS to conduct surprise audits at these manufacturing facilities.

Adam Whinston, global head of environmental and social governance (ESG) at Shein, said: “The supplier community is the foundation for the sustainable development of the fashion ecosystem, and Shein will continue its efforts to empower this group, deepening the industry’s innovation capabilities, and promoting on-demand and lean production models for a more sustainable industry.”