Why the Garment Industry Supply Chain Matters for Everyone


Following the Thread from Start to Finish

In a new case study by Ethical Corporation, Ellen Delisio discusses recent efforts by companies and NGOs to assess and address conditions in the second tier of the garment industry supply chain. The second tier includes businesses that don’t provide supplies directly to a manufacturer and issues such as supplier management, product design, manufacturing rationalisation and distribution.

Wastewater disposal and forced labor are the two major issues being addressed. However, due to the complex nature of the garment industry, with one clothing company often working with multiple suppliers and factories, it can difficult to identify unsatisfactory conditions. Further, one company, even a large multinational, may not have sufficient leverage to make change happen because many factories produce garments for multiple companies.

Despite these barriers, companies such as H&M and Patagonia are taking strides to better their supply chains and produce more sustainable clothing. Further, businesses, consumers and workers are using their collective influence to manifest change. For example, the Ethical Trading Initiative is an alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes workers’ rights worldwide.

Our planet and our consumers are demanding cleaner, fairer and better supply chains. It is vital that companies listen, hold themselves accountable, and make real changes.

Gain access to the full case study here.