Blog: Michelle RussellCall for safe Bangladesh garment factories continues

Michelle Russell | 4 May 2021

The eighth anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed over 1,000 garment workers and injured thousands more, took place at the weekend. To coincide with the event there have been calls for consumers to campaign for safe factories for garment workers.

While Fashion Revolution has been calling on the industry and governments to recognise the interconnection between human rights and the rights of nature as part of its annual Question Time event.

To coincide with the 51st anniversary of World Earth Day, just-style took a look at the ways in which the footwear and apparel industry marked the event. Highlights include a pledge by the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) for zero hide waste, new technology from Jeanologia that could help scale sustainable production, and an open-source version of Allbirds' Carbon Footprint Calculator.

US President Joe Biden also announced a new target for the United States to achieve a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030 to tackle the climate crisis.

In the retail space, a number of retailers have been working to tackle the problem of waste. Lululemon Athletica is launching the brand's first-ever re-commerce programme, while Urban Outfitters has extended its partnership with Fabscrap to help reduce the fashion industry's impact on the planet.

VF Corporation's action sports brand Vans has pledged a series of new global sustainability commitments that will see it move towards creating circular products and systems that use regenerative and recycled materials, designed to reduce waste and keep products in use and out of landfills.

And The North Face is waking up to the practice of regenerative farming in its cotton supply chain. Carol Shu, senior manager of global sustainability, explains, it not only has a positive impact on nature and resources, but is another critical step in addressing climate change impacts.

Plans by UK based online retailer Boohoo to set up a UK model factory should be applauded – and the initiative should provide inspiration to other retailers and brands considering investing in their own domestic supply chains.

The Suez Canal disruption had a ripple effect throughout global supply chains. And perhaps that's the point, says industry consultant Robert Antoshak, who asks: What to do when the unpredictable disrupts supply chains built on just-in-time predictability?

As India records the highest number of daily coronavirus cases globally, researchers are warning a full recovery of the apparel sector to pre-Covid levels might only be seen by 2023. On 22 April, India reported 314,835 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours – the biggest one-day total seen anywhere in the world since the pandemic began.

In other news, Bestseller urges EU guidance for firms working in Myanmar; M&S is to boost its online capacity with an automated warehouse; and Primark hails record sales as stores in England and Wales reopen.

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