LONDON – Remake World is calling on apparel brands which made sizeable profits during 2020 to donate 1 per cent of their net revenues towards garment worker relief funds. The NGO is targeting 12 brands which it calculates have collectively earned US$11bn in profits during the coronavirus pandemic. The likes of H&M, Nike, Gap Inc., Levi’s, and Zara are all in the firing line of the new campaign, which is also asking for brands to invest ten US Cents for every unit of apparel sourced into a Severance Guarantee Fund for garment workers.
The new campaign, which follows on the back of the highly influential #PayUp initiative, arrives as data shows garment workers globally have suffered significant drops in wages in the past nine months amid cancelled orders and declining business for factories. Estimates from the Worker Rights Consortium show roughly one in four laid off garment workers have not received legally mandated severance pay and have no safety nets to fall back upon.
Said a statement from Remake: “By 3Q2020, at least 20 publicly traded fashion brands and retailers have roared back to life and recorded pandemic profits. We are campaigning against [these] brands and retailers, which have made big profits and big promises about being ethical and sustainable.”
Retailers being targeted by the campaign include Adidas, Amazon, ASOS, Gap Inc. (Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta), H&M, Inditex (Zara), Levi Strauss, Lululemon, Nike, Primark, Under Armour and Fast Retailing (UNIQLO).
Added a Remake statement: “Even in good years, fashion retailers are the most profitable of all retailers, according to McKinsey & Co. and have produced some of the world’s richest men. The pandemic has revealed how a core part of fashion’s profitability is achieved by consistently underpaying suppliers and garment workers.”
Remake notes that even during the pandemic, the market capitalization of the most profitable 20 fashion brands grew by 11 per cent while average garment worker wages declined by 21 per cent according to analysis by the WRC.
Remake also rightly points out that the majority of our these brands are part of international initiatives such as the ILO Call to Action and USAID MOU, including Levi’s, H&M, Zara, Adidas, Gap Inc., Lululemon, Nike, and Under Armour, that made big promises to get money to garment makers, “and yet these initiatives have largely devolved into inaction or have released woefully insufficient sums.”
Adds Remake: “Other companies like ASOS, Amazon and UNIQLO are on the list for posting record earnings during the pandemic or having billionaire owners while contributing nothing to fashion’s essential workers – the women who make our clothes. Globally less than US$300m in relief has been released for garment workers, while the need is estimated to be in the billions.”