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PARIS – The G7 sustainable Fashion Pact of French President Macron should also have included pledges on worker conditions and wages in global fashion supply chains, according to labour rights group, Fair Wear Foundation. The group claimed the fashion industry will not sustainable unless workers can “do their jobs safely and address violations like excessive overtime, unsafe working conditions and poverty wages through trade unions or other organisations legitimately representing workers.”

Fair Wear makes a very interesting point. Labour rights are an urgent and pressing issue in garment supply chains. Surely Kering Group, whose CEO Francois-Henri Pinault presented the pact, could afford to give consideration to such issues?

48 fashion companies were involved in two agreements to create “more sustainable clothing” last week but neither of these agreements included commitments regarding the treatment of labour in apparel supply chains. The Fashion Pact signed at the G7 consists of 32 companies representing 150 garment brands, while in Mumbai, 16 Indian brands signed a similar pact.

Said a statement from Fair Wear: “The 1.7 trillion-dollar garment industry has the potential to lift millions of garment workers out of poverty. Yet, many workers are still paid below minimum wage and are often unwilling to address their management for fear of reprisals. They are also the ones directly affected by climate change, live in the areas most polluted by the industry and have little choice but to work in factories as the ecosystems around them suffer. 

“The ability of workers to earn a living wage and to have a say in the issues that affect them can only come to pass when garment brands within the Fashion Pact – and all other brands – make a real commitment to addressing human rights issues along with environmental ones. For inspiration, look at the national initiatives happening in the Netherlands and Germany that actively work towards improving labour conditions.”

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