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Certification update 
 
Last week, we certified 57 facilities in 16 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lao, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
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Bangladesh
New wage board for Bangladeshi garment workers
Apparel industry leaders urge ILO to promote ethical pricing in global forums

49 killed and more than 200 injured in Chattogram container depot fire

Cambodia
EuroCham in Cambodia urges garment factories to switch to solar power

China
Chinese scientists develop “smart” clothing that monitors vitals

India
Shirts constitute 31 percent of India's total apparel exports
Panic over alleged gas leaks calls into question factory safety standards


Japan
Japan's apparel makers tap into desire for ethical consumption

Mexico
Mexican apparel makers are matching up to Indonesian suppliers

Vietnam
Vietnamese garment and textile exports to EU up by 34.6 percent
Special content 
 
WRAP's President and CEO, Avedis Seferian, was a featured speaker in a recent webinar hosted by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) on the prospective implications of mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence (mHRDD) requirements. 

AAFA subscribers can download the recording here.

 
AAFA's President and CEO, Steve Lamar, recently sat down with WRAP's President and CEO, Avedis Seferian, to discuss the role of government in the human rights arena, the increased importance of conducting proper due diligence, and what stakeholders can expect from our partnership over the next year.

Tune in here.

 
As facilities settle into production conditions shaped by a post-pandemic world, we are pleased to share updated guidance developed alongside our friends at the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) for ensuring continued factory safety

Read our full guidance here.
A joint publication by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and WRAP offers guidance for understanding and eradicating forced labor in the supply chain.

Click here to read it.

(Requires an AAFA membership)



 
Learn more about symphonization, WRAP's proposal to reduce audit fatigue and establish a truly harmonious social compliance paradigm.

Click here to read the full paper.





 
News from the past week 
 
Bangladesh
New wage board for Bangladeshi garment workers
(The Daily Star, June 6, 2022)
At a recent press conference, Shajahan Khan announced that the government of Bangladesh will form a new wage board for the garment sector in response to protests from factory workers across the country. He indicated there are plans to distribute ration cards that will allow workers to purchase basic commodities at lower prices, though he did not include specifics regarding delivery dates and logistics. Prior to the announcement, Khan held a tripartite meeting with union representatives, government leaders, and factory owners to discuss the recent labor unrest across the sector and strategize pathways forward. The monthly minimum wage for Bangladeshi garment workers was last hiked to Tk 8,000 (or 87.21 USD) in December 2018. Before that, it had been fixed at Tk 5,300 (or 57.78 USD) since 2013.

Apparel industry leaders urge ILO to promote ethical pricing in global forums
(The Financial Express, June 1, 2022)
Representatives from the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF), the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) are urging the International Labour Organization (ILO) to push for better pricing of garment items in different global forums. They emphasized the need to encourage sustainability across the apparel sector and underscored the subsequent implications for worker wellbeing. Production costs in the garment manufacturing industry have increased due to the rising prices of yarn, chemicals, and other raw materials. Additionally, rising shipping and logistical challenges across the global supply chain have increased the cost of supplying to foreign brands, but international buyers are not willing to pay higher prices for finished goods. Calls for modified pricing are predicated on the need to accommodate higher production costs as well as recognition of the sector’s advanced workplace safety standards, labor practices, and environmental initiatives. 


49 killed and more than 200 injured in Chattogram container depot fire
(The Business Standard, June 5, 2022)
At least 49 people were killed and more than 200, including several emergency responders, were injured after a fire broke out at a container depot in Chattogram's Sitakunda on Saturday night. It is believed that the fire originated from a Cambodia-bound container of hydrogen peroxide and quickly spread to more containers, but this has not been confirmed. Witnesses state that many containers of unidentified chemicals exploded simultaneously, reportedly shattering the windows of multiple buildings nearby, and were felt as far as four kilometers away. Injured facility workers were admitted to CMCH, Parkview Hospital, and Combined Military Hospital; approximately 30 of them are in critical condition. The Civil Surgeon of Chittagong has instructed all certified doctors in the region to come to CMCH to provide assistance. Facility management has also issued a statement indicating it will cover all costs related to medical care for survivors. 


Cambodia
EuroCham in Cambodia urges garment factories to switch to solar power
(Fibre2Fashion, June 3, 2022)
The European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Cambodia recently called on garment factories to expedite their adoption of renewable energy and rooftop solar panels. EuroCham representatives emphasized that advancing environmental efforts would help the sector become more competitive in the global market at an event hosted by the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC). There are over 6,000 Cambodian garment exporters that directly employ more than 700,000 workers. Rooftop solar panels could attract new, modern suppliers and increase production. Coal, gas, and oil prices are continuously rising as a result of logistical hurdles and geopolitical pressure. Coal-fired energy currently costs 7.7 cents per kWh, but solar energy only costs 2.67. Energy demand across the country is estimated to triple by 2040; its share of global solar power has grown from 10 megawatts to 400 since 2019, a growth of approximately 4,000 percent.


China
Chinese scientists develop “smart” clothing that monitors vitals
(Ukrainian News, June 6, 2022)
Research teams from Northwestern Polytechnical University and the Beijing Institute of Technology in China have developed a mechanism that, when applied to fabric, is capable of monitoring physiological signals. They embedded fibrous mechanical sensors in garments to create wearable health-monitoring systems. This “smart” clothing can provide real-time feedback on wearers’ vital signs and track their vitals throughout the day. It can also be submerged and is machine washable. This project marks a significant step forward in the advancement of apparel technology. Buyers around the world are increasingly emphasizing the need for innovation. Soon, garment manufacturers may be called upon to produce “smart” apparel in mass quantities for companies with niche audiences, such as healthcare providers, military agencies, and other uniformed industries. 


India
Shirts constitute 31 percent of India's total apparel exports
(Fibre2Fashion, May 31, 2022)
India has established itself as a preeminent sourcing destination for t-shirts and other knit or woven tops. A recent report found that shirts and t-shirts were the dominant export items for the nation’s apparel industry over the last fiscal year; they accounted for 31.62 percent of the sector’s exports and were valued at 4.51 billion USD. India’s total apparel exports reached 14.28 billion USD. 51.79 percent of its exported goods were knitted apparel (valued at 7.4 billion USD) and 48.21 percent were woven goods (valued at 6.88 billion USD). Out of all its knitwear exports, 29.87 percent were t-shirts (valued at 2.2 billion USD) and 9.39 percent were other types of shirts (valued at 694.8 million USD). 23.44 percent of all exports from the woven goods sector were tops, valued at a total of 1.61 billion USD. 

Panic over alleged gas leaks calls into question factory safety standards
(The Hindu, June 5, 2022)
On Sunday, reports of a gas leak at Quantum Seeds — a manufacturing unit for the Brandix India Apparel Company (BIAC) based in Atchutapuram, India — incited a panic. This incident follows closely on the heels of an accident that happened just three days before when 100 factory workers allegedly fell sick after inhaling poisonous gas. The origin of the gas and the cause of the leak have not yet been determined, but several floor workers were hospitalized. Since there was no staff in the facility over the weekend, the second incident was contained quickly. A security guard detected the leak and contacted authorities, who determined there was no cause for concern at that time, but the incident is prompting global discourse about respiratory safety and workplace conditions in Indian garment factories.


Japan
Japan's apparel makers tap into desire for ethical consumption
(The Japan Times, June 2, 2022)
Japanese apparel manufacturers are increasingly addressing human rights and environmental issues in their facilities as buyers and consumers around the world continue to prioritize ethical consumption. For example, Equaland Trust and Intimate attaches a “tag of trust” to its products which is inscribed with the signatures of its cotton producers and designers, affirming the company is determined to reduce its environmental impact and protect workers. Apparel production requires massive amounts of water and involves the incineration of waste, emitting high volumes of carbon dioxide. In 2019, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development claimed it was the second most polluting industry after oil, specifically citing issues with overproduction and massive waste related to low-cost fashion. Efforts to improve the industry’s environmental impact are slowly taking root. Goldwin Inc., which makes products under The North Face brand, plans to produce fleece and denim products using artificial protein yarns made from plants and discarded cotton clothing. Ryohin Keikaku Co. is collecting used garments, dyeing them, and reselling them at 18 select stores in Japan.

(Article requires unpaid subscription)

Mexico
Mexican apparel makers are matching up to Indonesian suppliers
(ASEAN Briefing, June 1, 2022)
With the trade war between the United States and China showing no signs of abating, Mexico and Indonesia are becoming increasingly valuable sourcing destinations to American companies. Both countries represent good investment destinations for brands with Chinese operations that are seeking to diversify their supply chains. While Indonesia’s garment sector has long been established as a key manufacturing hub for international brands, Mexico’s growing appeal is amplifying its competitiveness in the global market and local exporters are facing a growing rivalry with their Indonesian competitors. Mexico is one of the top 15 countries by manufacturing output and offers similar direct labor costs to those found in China. Its factories benefit from a free trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S. as well as notable proximity to buyers, lowering shipping costs, reducing delivery times, and cultivating familiarity with American markets. As its apparel sector vies for direct foreign investment, industry leaders must consider what else they can offer that will incentivize brands to reconsider Indonesian suppliers. 


Vietnam
Vietnamese garment and textile exports to EU up by 34.6 percent
(Fibre2Fashion, June 4, 2022)
Vietnam’s exports to the European Union (EU) rose between January and May with a trade surplus of 13.4 billion USD — an increase of approximately 47 percent — thanks to their bilateral free trade agreement. The nation’s garment and textile exports rose approximately 34.6 percent and footwear exports increased by 19 percent. The general statistics office (GSO) said that Vietnam’s exports grew despite the increasing costs of materials and fuel due to the lingering impacts of the pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Vietnam is now the EU’s biggest trade partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and one of the top 10 sourcing destinations in the global market. In fact, trade between the two regions exceeded 57 billion USD in 2021, an increase of 14.5 percent year on year. 

 
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