“Work is central to people’s wellbeing. In addition to providing income, work can pave the way for broader social and economic advancement, strengthening individual, their families and communities. Such progress, however, hingers on work that is decent.”
- International Labour Organisation
Take a moment please, and reflect your life and what work means to you. Do you need to worry about money? Are you afraid of your safety? What if you didn't receive enough salary so that you can cover your living costs? For most of us, these questions are so distant that they sound even a bit absurd. Yet, this is the reality for millions of people in the world.
In April 2019, the world population had reached 7,7 billion  and close to half the world lived on less than 5,50$ per day . Constant worry about the money is daily life for 46% of the human population. Additionally, International Labour Organisation (ILO) wrote in its report in 2018 that 60% of world’s employed population worked in the informal economy, and 93% of the world’s informal employment is in emerging and developing countries. People working in informality lack social protection, decent working conditions and rights at work. 
You might wonder what this is to do with ethical manufacturing in the garment industry. The garment industry is, however, one of the most labour-intensive industries. There are roughly 40 million garment workers and approximately, 93% of all garments are produced overseas in emerging and developing countries where the minimum wage levels do not meet the standards of a living wage. 
Due to the globalisation, the supply chains of garments have grown long. In the past decades, the fast fashion brands produce more and more clothing with cheaper and cheaper prices. This has lead to a situation, where formally registered factories subcontract their work to informal enterprises and workers to meet the demands of cheap and fast mass production . The ignorance of the working conditions and workers rights can be due to the informal economy, different legislation in a country or some cases because of illegality.
Ethical manufacturing in the garment industry and beyond respects the human and animal rights during the whole supply chain from raw materials to recycling the worn-out item. The employees receive a living wage, have reasonable working hours and are allowed to take breaks. If an item is made ethically, no child or forced labour is involved. 
Garment workers have a right for a physically and mentally safe working environment. They have the right to negotiate and take part in trade unions. No discrimination what so ever is tolerated on the working place. If a brand uses animal-based materials, no animal should be killed just for the raw material. Animals are allowed to live according to their special needs and they are not hurt. 
So that you can recognise an ethically made item, we have created a checklist with the help of Anniina Nurmi’s Vihreät Vaatteet (Green Clothes) article. Remember, no clothing brand is 100% perfect but you can seek for transparency as a shred of evidence. The more openly a brand tells about its procedures, the less it has to hide.
Reasonable working hours & enough breaks
Safe working environment
No dangerous working methods
No forced labour
No child labour
No discrimination, threatening or sexual harassment
Right to take part of trade unions
Right to negotiate
Support for cultural diversity
No animals hurt
No animals killed just for raw material
What thought did this blog article bring to your mind? Share them on the comment box!
Ama & Essi
Photos by Julius Töyrylä
Wikipedia Article: World population
World Bank Press Release 17.10.2018: Nearly half of the world lives on less than 5,50$ a day.
ILO on Informal Economy 30.04.2018
Clean Clothes on Human Rights
Clean Clothes: Global Garment Industry Factsheet
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