The collapse of a garment building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killed over 300 people. This factory made clothing for a number of western brands, including Joe Fresh, a Canadian company. Bangladesh has the lowest labour costs in the world, with the national minimum wage at $38 a month.
Here are just a few things to look for when buying clothing if you are concerned about the ethical side of it, though its not easy:
- A strikingly low price on an item of clothing might suggest that it’s the product of sweatshop labour, but it’s not a precise indicator, as there are many conditions that could lead a store to settle on a sale price.
- One of the best signs that a garment was not made in a sweatshop is a union label; UNITE is an international union which makes sweatshop free clothing, for example. Look for a label which is clearly sewn into the garment, as some unscrupulous merchants may add union tags to garments produced in sweatshops. You can also also seek out clothing with fair trade labels.
- Fair trade consumer goods are a great consumer choice because the supply chain is short and tightly controlled.
Sources: 1 2