Three Years After Rana Plaza, Has Anything Changed?

Business of Fashion, April 19, 2016, By Kate Abnett

"Sunday will mark the three-year anniversary of Rana Plaza, the worst disaster in the history of the garment industry, which killed 1,134 people when a building in Bangladesh housing several garment factories collapsed.

Many saw this event as a wake-up call for fashion. And yet, the industry is still plagued by systemic issues: uneven and poorly enforced legislation on wages, working hours and health and safety; and opaque supply chains, where sub-contracting makes it easy for factories and brands to pass on responsibility for the conditions in which their products are made. The sheer scale of the garment industry — the market for apparel is worth $1.3 trillion and employs tens of millions of people — means the social impact of these problems is vast.

Fashion’s environmental record raises more red flags: the clothing industry has been cited as the world’s second biggest polluter after oil. Its businesses churn out clothes at an alarming rate — Americans now buy five-times as much clothing as they did in 1980. According to the WWF, it takes up to 2,700 litres of water to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt. And many simply go to waste: in the US alone, 10.5 million tonnes of clothing is sent to landfills each year. ..."

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"Truly eye-opening."
Julie Kosin, Harpers Bazaar