Key Issues of Sustainability in the Garment/Apparel Industry and Challenges Associated
management and leadership related task
management and leadership related task
management and leadership related task
management and leadership related task
management and leadership related task
Key Issues of Sustainability in the Garment/Apparel Industry and Challenges Associated With the Implementation of Sustainable Initiatives
Sustainable development is taking on greater importance in today's world. To be sustainable, as defined by Brinkmann and Garren (2018), means "to meet the demands of the present without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs." It has three foundations: an organization's people, its impact on the world, and its bottom line. If one of these three pillars is neglected, the organization will fail. Example Case Study Concerns about the industry's long-term viability are highlighted in the book The Garment Industry in Bangladesh: A Human Rights Challenge. It's an example of how one of sustainability's cornerstones—people—has been disregarded by major stakeholders.
When workers are forced to put in excessive hours without receiving overtime pay, it is a clear violation of their human rights. The case study illustrates how many people have lost their lives and how others have been injured to varied degrees as a direct result of the industry's purposeful failure to adopt occupational safety laws. An other rising problem is the lack of parity between the sexes in the workplace. Wages for men are often higher than those for women. Furthermore, the example demonstrates that the minimum wage paid to these employees is insufficient to cover even the most fundamental of their necessities. As it turns out, the industry is not particularly concerned with ensuring the safety of its employees, working conditions in such establishments are appalling.
A global standard for worker safety and health was established in 2006 with the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Convention (Jensen, 2020). The government of Bangladesh has only partially ratified this policy, making it possible for large firms to disregard the responsibility to protect workers. The garment industry in Bangladesh is booming now, but employees' rights are routinely violated. Large merchants, who rely on this business, and the international community have taken steps to guarantee workers' safety and fair compensation. The problem is that the vast majority of these pacts are not legally enforceable, thus violating them won't have any real repercussions.
Absolute poverty is the leading cause of these problems in the country. Due to the high poverty rate and lack of available jobs, these workers have no choice but to put up with the maltreatment, as explained by Stanwick and Stanwick (2015). This country is not yet at the same point in its economic development that it might successfully apply the policies that are standard in developed countries. Yet another issue is corruption, which leads to the neglect of these abuses by individuals who are supposed to safeguard workers but who take bribes instead. Another problem arises when politicians have to rely on corporate donations to fund their campaigns, which raises questions about the companies' potential political agenda.
UN Sustainable Development Goals of 'Reduced Inequality' and 'Responsible Consumption and Production, and the Garment Sector.
To encourage global society to take action to eradicate poverty, boost peace and prosperity, and safeguard the planet, UN member states created the Sustainable Development Goals (Wright, 2019). Its primary goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, improve the health and education of all people, close the gender gap, provide access to clean water and energy, ensure a safe and healthy workplace, and encourage the conscious consumption and creation of goods. Together with addressing climate change, promoting peace and justice, and forming alliances are some of the others. In order to accomplish these aims, we adhered to the idea that no one should have to bear the burden of another's suffering in order for society to progress. They're planned to combat social inequalities and promote environmentally responsible manufacturing and consumption.
The situation in Bangladesh's garment industry is indicative of a larger problem: the failure to achieve many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Most workers in the sector will never be able to afford even the most basic necessities since the industry has ensured this. Despite the best efforts of society at large to address the problem of inequality, these actors continue to ignore it. In these businesses, women are routinely given low-paying, time-intensive activities. They look for young, uneducated, and single women because they believe they can exert more control over them. These problems must be fixed and women's rights must be guaranteed. They must be afforded the same advantages as men, and their pay must be commensurate with the value they add to the economy.
Some of the aforementioned rules have been successfully implemented by the United Nations in the garment sector to assist address the exploitation of women's rights in other sections of developing economies, particularly in Africa. Brinkmann and Garren (2018) claim that the apparel industry in East African countries has advanced through time, and that women now have access to the same resources as males. The global community's efforts have resulted in vast improvements to the working conditions, pay, and quality of life of these workers. If local players, notably government and union leaders, are dedicated to addressing these issues, we can see the same results in our own economy.
It is important to promote the idea of sustainable production in this sector. In order to make items available on the market without violating human rights, businesses must realize the importance of their position. The importance of promoting responsible consumption is rapidly growing over the world (Lo and Ha-Brookshire, 2018). People can be educated about the effort required to produce a product, both in terms of time and money, through both traditional and online media.
Effects of Sustainability on Supply Chains in the Apparel Industry
An efficient supply chain management system is an important factor in ensuring a company's long-term viability. Supply chain management, as defined by Nakano (2019), entails keeping track of products from their inception all the way through their creation, storage, and distribution to customers. Sustainable development, which is getting what you need in a way that helps the environment and other people while saving you money, is becoming increasingly mainstream (Meadowcroft et al., 2019). Large companies like Zara have a significant role to play in promoting sustainable sourcing in the garment supply chain. Management may benefit from a better understanding of these duties and responsibilities in order to create a more ethical workplace in which employees' rights are always protected.
Zara has a responsibility to avoid any infringement of human rights in the course of its product sourcing. Companies in this sector, for instance, should seek to end discrimination against and abuse of Bangladeshi women in the garment industry. The company's supply chain must insist that all vendors adhere to UN Sustainable Development Goal and other health and safety standards in the workplace. They have the option of only doing business with suppliers who share their commitment to ethical practices. They must show that they value their employees' worth and worthiness as people. In addition, they may stipulate that the suppliers provide evidence that the products they sell are obtained in a socially responsible and environmentally safe way. They can also advocate for recycling as a means to reduce harmful effects on the planet.
A beneficial shift can occur in the clothing industry as a whole when big players demand ethical sourcing practices. Big-box stores' indifference to the working conditions in Bangladesh's garment industry is a major factor in perpetuating human rights abuses there. Profit margins are the only thing on their minds, thus they don't care how they receive their products so long as they can get them for cheap. When big consumers express worry over the manufacturing process, producers may be compelled to rethink their approach to production (Stanwick and Stanwick, 2015). Some of these major retailers, such as H&M, have recently become more aware of the need of ethical sourcing and are exerting pressure on their suppliers to implement worldwide best practices in human resource management.
The Apparel Industry's Global best Practices with Respect to Ethical Sourcing.
As the idea of corporate social responsibility becomes ingrained in their best practices, the garment sector is developing. Companies in this sector are becoming more media-conscious about employee complaints, prompting them to reconsider their sourcing strategies. Companies in this sector of manufacturing have come to recognize they can no longer turn a blind eye to the plight of their employees. According to Sanders et al. (2019), the focus of ethical sourcing has expanded to include more than only reducing waste and avoiding damage to the natural world. The importance of safeguarding human rights is another major theme. Most of these factories' reputations have been tarnished because of the spotlight shone on the hardships endured by garment industry workers by international media. The company has come to the conclusion that it must rethink its production methods in order to improve its long-term viability.
As businesses around the world work to maintain ethical practices, a set of universally accepted standards has begun to take shape. Some of the largest companies in the clothing sector have reportedly implemented new policies and procedures aimed at safeguarding workers' rights, fostering a more equitable workplace, and guaranteeing the health and safety of all employees, as reported by Stanwick and Stanwick (2015). Adidas is one clothing company that has committed to using only sustainable materials in its production process. To prevent any of its partners, especially its suppliers, from engaging in activities that oppress employees, the corporation has been intent on monitoring the entire supply chain system. Patagonia, H&M, and Marks & Spencer are a few of the other industry heavyweights that have come around to these customer-requested best practices. Other big brands, such as Everlene, Polo RL, and Levi's, have also begun to implement identical policies. These businesses are making progress toward more eco-friendly fashion sourcing practices. This company is confident in its ability to promote ethical sourcing practices while maintaining a healthy bottom line.
In light of consumers' evolving views on child labor, the fashion industry is become increasingly concerned about ethical sourcing. These businesses have come to terms with the fact that some customers may defect to competitors if they learn about the unethical policies and procedures employed by their current supplier. Learn the truth about what's behind the barcode with the help of the ethical fashion report (Sanders et al., 2019). The industry's major participants are working together to establish procurement guidelines. Most of the concerns voiced about the Bangladeshi garment industry can be solved by adhering to the sourcing guidelines laid out in this case study.
Sustainable strategies to permanently improve the working conditions of garment workers in Bangladesh, and corporate social responsibility philosophy related to global outsourcing issues
Various difficulties are affecting the social and economic life of Bangladeshi garment workers. Finding a long-term answer to the problems that these individuals face is crucial if they are to continue making clothing that are sold all over the world. Thorbeck (2015) argues that making shared value is a great strategy to address the issues that matter to those involved in an industry. Value creation for customers is the goal of this strategy, and it is designed to safeguard the interests of all parties involved. This can be further understood by looking at picture 1 below, which depicts the shared value framework. Concern for the environment is a cornerstone of this framework. Continual dedication to environmental protection should be a core value for any company. The approach also emphasizes the need of training and education for employees. According to the case study, most people working in this field have not completed higher education. Fixing these problems will increase their efficiency. Organizational leadership can invest in their employees' professional development in two ways: through classroom instruction and through structured training opportunities.
The management must also adhere to the idea that the health of all stakeholders is an integral part of this framework. The health of workers is apparently not a priority for many businesses in Bangladesh's textile sector. Each company in the business sector is responsible for addressing such problems. Furthermore, the framework places an emphasis on worker safety, an area that, according to the presented case study, has been neglected by the sector as a whole. Workers' access to low-cost housing could boost their standard of living and economic security. According to the framework, firms should also priorities fostering economic growth in their local communities. When carrying out their CSR initiatives, businesses should work toward strengthening the communities in which they operate. Companies should also pay close attention to the other two pillars of this framework: water efficiency and energy savings. Renewable energy sources should be promoted, and water should be used responsibly and recycled whenever possible.
The government of Bangladesh needs to commit to solving the problems faced by workers in the garment sector. The business community as a whole, or individual companies within it, may decide to adopt the global best practices of companies located in other countries. While having well-thought-out policies on paper is important, Kramer and Pfitzer (2016) contend that it is not sufficient. It's important to figure out how to put them into practice for the benefit of the intended audience. The government needs to keep tabs on these businesses to make sure that workers' rights are being upheld and that they are paying their employees fairly.
The Strategies Mentioned Brands have implemented to Manage Sustainability in Their Business Activities.
Cato Corporation, doing business as Cato Fashions, is one of the most well-known American retailers specializing in women's apparel and accessories. Rona Plaza has been a reliable supplier to the corporation up until its demise. Most of Rona Plaza's customers were blamed for not being concerned with ethical sourcing before the building collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people (Stanwick and Stanwick, 2015). In the eyes of many, the firm cared only about preserving its profits at the expense of the people who helped bring those items to market. Cato Fashions, as one of the companies involved in the case, was ordered to pay a sizable sum of money as part of the compensation paid to the families of the deceased. The case provided further evidence that Catco was careless in its oversight of its suppliers' compliance with ethical standards. It harmed the company's reputation and the way customers saw the brand. But that had no effect on the company's revenues.
Since then, the company has implemented measures to ensure that it is committed to ethical sourcing and prevent a recurrence of the incident. The corporation has adopted a number of tactics, one of which is to take an active role in monitoring the working conditions of its suppliers' personnel. Cato's HR staff has been conducting surprise site visits to gather information about morale and productivity. These vendors have stipulated in their contracts that the company's continued commercial involvement is contingent on the supplier's compliance with worldwide community standards for workplace safety. To prevent another incident like this and to guarantee the well-being of its employees, it has been conducting regular inspections at these locations. The marketing team has also been quite active in trying to defend the brand's reputation in the market