Thanks to the insanely low costs in developing countries and the rise of fast fashions, the world is getting addicted to cheap, crappy clothes from brands that outsource the manufacturing at rock bottom prices. Over the decades, clothes have evolved from valuable possessions to seasonable disposable items. Fast fashion brands like H & M, Zara, Forever 21are leading the way to set new lows for the fashion industry with their business model of producing inexpensive, trendy clothes that buyers would only wear a few times. To share a slice of the pie retailers like Walmart also enroll in the game to meet up with customers’ expectations. The never ending cycle of fast fashion consumption is disastrous to human beings and the planet in the long run.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written extensively about the clothes industry in China. And I’ve found out that the local government and some China clothes manufacturers are fighting back to produce clothes in a more ethical, sustainable way. I’ve also received many inquiries from fashion brands that want to bring their clothing lines to a new level but a bit anxious about rising of prices. Shopping ethically has been considered as more expensive because the price points of ethical brands far exceed the ones of fast fashions. It does cost more to produce clothes in an ethical way. Ethical manufacturing involves paying workers more, using premium quality recyclable materials and make sure that the complete process of manufacturing is environmental friendly. For consumers shopping from ethical brands means being able to train themselves to buy more sustainable, long lasting clothes than cheap, throw away ones. The good news is there’re more and more Chinese clothing factories shifting more on ethical, sustainable manufacturing, stimulated by the local government’s stringent environmental crackdown on manufacturers. That’s why we’ve looked into ethical manufacturing in China and put this guide together.
What You Will Learn
- What’s ethical clothing manufacturing?
- Why should you go with ethical clothing manufacturing?
- China’s environmental crackdown on manufacturers
Now let’s go into the details.
# What’s ethical clothing manufacturing
Ethical clothing manufacturing is a sustainable and ethical approach to clothes production process that focuses on the best interests of all involved.
An ethical clothing manufacturer cares about every part of the supply chain, the best interests of workers, whether they’re treated well, balance of working hours, allowances, high quality recyclable materials and manufacturing with minimum wastes as well as energy consumption.
There’re three factors:
* Ethical manufacturing practices
An ethical clothing manufacturer enforces regulations of the best interests of their workers, clean, safe facility, fair wages, allowances, balanced working hours, setting up programs to aid workers in need, giving back to the community, etc. China used to get lots of flak in media for its manufacturing practices. Workers suffering from hazardous working conditions, labor unrest from terrible treatment, etc.
* Ethical raw materials
An ethical clothing supplier produces clothes from natural, recyclable materials without any harmful contaminants or effects. When you buy clothes from ethical brands, you can be sure it’s safe for your family as it’s strictly tested.
* Ethical energy
Ethical businesses usually go far and beyond to explore alternative technologies to minimize waste and emissions. The production is carried out in an environmental friendly approach.
# Why should you go with ethical clothing manufacturing
* Fast fashion’s the second biggest source of pollution
Many fast fashion brands produce cheap, throwaway clothes that are designed to wear several times, while others use non-recyclable petroleum-based fabrics and accessories that wouldn’t biodegrade for centuries. A severe issue fast fashion creates is the sheer amount of waste that fail to handle properly. According to a McKinsey report, three-fifths of garments end up in incinerators or landfills. It’s time to put the brakes on fast fashion. Worse, to get rock bottom prices some brands outsource manufacturing to sweatshops that treat the workers badly or employ child labor. If you’re like us, you would not like anyone of the factors stand in the way of a clothing brand for people and the environment.
* Growing awareness of ethical fashion
As with organic food/vegan food, consumers have become more aware of what happened to the clothes they wear, who made them, do they contain any dangerous chemicals, are there any environmental damages, what about the working conditions of the workers, etc. A more holistic approach has been formed regarding workmanship, ethnics, environmental and humanitarian concerns of the clothes. It’s a trend more and more consumers would choose to stand on ethical fashion.
* Branding benefits. One of the greatest benefits of ethical clothing manufacturing is branding benefits. Developing, manufacturing and distributing cloths in a way that represents the planet and its inhabitants is a sure fire way to build up a good brand image and stay away from negative press or unethical manufacturing practices.
* Sell with confidence. Taking a stand on ethical manufacturing practices and environmental sustainability would put you in connection with dedicated manufacturers who take responsibility for their products and consumers who care about people and the future of the planet. You can always sell the clothes with confidence.
* Stable supply chain. It happened to many clothing importers that their clothing manufacturers dump them for bigger orders. When you go with ethical clothing manufacturing with manufacturers of the same mindset, fair, integry business practices are employed and the ethic manufactures wouldn’t turn you down when they get bigger orders.
# China’s environmental crackdown on manufacturers
Over the past decades of the country’s policy of putting economic growth ahead of the environment, China has faced international criticism for lackluster regulations and excessive energy consumption, which results to air pollution levels far surpassing World Health Organization standards for safe. Read more about environmental policy in China.
Since 2014 the Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s declaration of war against pollution especially industrial pollution, stringent regulations and rules have been put into practice to monitor, prevent and reduce pollution. It’s said that the Central Government plans to send 200 air pollution inspection teams of 18,000 inspectors through April, 2019.
China’s massive crackdown of industrial pollution is driving thousands of factories out of business while creating huge opportunities for ethical, sustainable manufacturers.