The one, single most important thing that you can do is to RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BUY.
See a lovely shirt and want to buy it? Pull out your phone and look up whether it may be contributing to slavery, before spending your dollars on it.
It can very challenging to know for sure that a product is slavery-free, Here are our Top 7 Tips to make it easy.
Many big and small brands are working hard to root out slavery and other human rights abuses. By supporting brands that make efforts to protect labour rights, we are encouraging more companies to follow suit.
An easy way to find them is to use the Good On You app. This app rates how well a company is doing in three areas, “Planet”, “People” and “Animals”.
It’s no surprise that companies that fare well on “People” also tend to do well with “Planet” and “Animals.” So you can hit three birds in one stone!
Simply search a brand name on the app. You can also check out their website.
If a brand that you’re interested in does not appear in the Good On You app, you can see if any journalists have discovered something.
To quickly see if the brand has ever been uncovered in wrongdoing, in your search, type the brand name and then a broad, negative word such as “scandal” or “sweatshop”.
(Note that journalists sometimes may not have used the words “human trafficking” and “modern slavery” in their articles, even though labour abuses may constitute trafficking and slavery, so using broader terms help you find more information.)
If nothing comes up in your search even after entering a negative word, you can feel a bit more assured. At least this brand is not a known offender. It may even have taken steps to audit supply chains and prevent scandals in the press, which is a first baby step towards sustainability.
If you are really devoted to a single brand and want to learn more, you can go to a brand’s website and look for their Corporate Social Responsibility section.
Does the brand simply list community projects that it has sponsored, or does it go further and mention its commitment to human rights in its supply chain?
As the trend for sustainability grows, many certifications schemes have appeared.
Many certs aren’t obviously about labour standards, for example environmental ones, but actually also keep slavery out of supply chains. For example, the Global Organic Textile Standard certifies a product to be organic, but also imposes social responsibility standards to ensure that workers are not subjected to forced labour.
To gain certifications, companies have to subject their supply chains to some form of external monitoring, which makes it much more unlikely for slavery to go unnoticed.
Explore ideas like Slow Fashion or Capsule Wardrobe, which are about making small lifestyle changes with big sustainability impact.
Slow Fashion is a concept to counter Fast Fashion. By being slow and thoughtful in how we buy and wear clothes, we can be sustainable and also feel happy and wholesome with the clothes you already own.
The Capsule Wardrobe is a wardrobe with a small number of pieces of clothing. It emphasizes quality over quantity. Instead of being dictated by trends and feeling pressure to buy clothes to fit trends, you only own and buy items that reflect your personal style. By sticking to a consistent colour palette, you can make endless combinations. Here’s an introductory video about this.
There are social enterprises that you can support. Some of them employ survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery.
Also check out Freedom Bound for T-shirts and other casual wear.
There are many more out there and we encourage you to search for them.
Start by buying your basic items from good brands, like socks and T-shirts – those are the easiest to find. You don’t have to change all of your wardrobe straight away!
These are our 7 tips. We hope you’ve enjoyed them and feel inspired to make a change in your wardrobe!
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