Unmaking the Global Sweatshop

Unmaking the Global SweatshopHealth and Safety of the World’s Garment Workers

Rebecca Prentice and Geert De Neve, Editors

The 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh, killed over a thousand workers and injured hundreds more. This disaster exposed the brutal labor conditions of the global garment industry and revealed its failures as a competitive and self-regulating industry. Over the past thirty years, corporations have widely adopted labor codes on health and safety, yet too often in their working lives, garment workers across the globe encounter death, work-related injuries, and unhealthy factory environments.

Unmaking the Global Sweatshop gathers the work of leading anthropologists and ethnographers studying the global garment industry to examine the relationship between the politics of labor and initiatives to protect workers’ health and safety.


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Conference title: Fair Trade and the SDGs: Investigating the fairness of sustainable development

Conference date: 26 - 28 June 2018 - Venue: Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3AH.

"Fair Trade is an example of the active and inclusive partnerships we need in our pursuit of the SDGs. Fair Trade promotes sustainable and equitable production and consumption patterns that keep our planet healthier and our societies more inclusive.'

Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Sustainable Development Goals require the combined action of government, civil society and business in order to develop solutions to the complex challenges of poverty, inequality and climate change. Fair Trade has been recognised as a socially focussed business model that can promote and support the roadmap to a sustainable food and agriculture system (Business and Sustainable Development Commission, 2017).

The aim of this conference is to investigate the ethics and practice of fairness that constitute the processes, goals, and indicators of sustainable development. Researchers and practitioners are encouraged to use the SDGs as a lens to explore and assess Fair Trade's contribution to date and potential to support a global agenda towards sustainable development.

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Purchasing practices and working conditions in global supply chains: Global Survey results


The International Labour Organization (ILO) and its constituents, at the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC), discussed the need to further assess working conditions deficits as well as governance issues that may hinder the achievement of decent work in global supply chains (GSCs) (ILO 2016a). Specifically, the Conference asked the ILO to “take a proactive role in generating and making accessible reliable data on decent work in GSCs” and to “carry out research … to better understand how supply chains work in practice … and what their impact is on decent work and fundamental rights” (ILC, 105th Session, Resolution concerning decent work in GSCs, ILO 2016b).

The Inclusive Labour Markets, Labour Relations and Working Conditions branch (INWORK) took action to contribute to fill this gap by carrying out a Global Survey on purchasing practices and working conditions in collaboration with the joint Ethical Trading Initiatives (ETIs). This Global Survey was sent out between July and October of 2016 to a pool of 41,387 suppliers, provided mainly by SEDEX, but also by the ETIs. In total 1,454 suppliers from 87 countries responded to the questionnaire.

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Bangladesh Accord’s binding arbitration process scores legal win

A unanimous decision by an arbitral tribunal in The Hague bolsters the legally-binding enforcement mechanisms of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The ruling, announced last night, allows complaints lodged by IndustriALL and UNI against two leading fashion brands to proceed to the next stage of arbitration, where they will be judged on their merits.

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Call for papers: Transnational Food Security

TRANSNATIONAL LEGAL THEORY INVITES SUBMISSIONS FOR ITS INAUGURAL ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM 2018. Food security is a significant policy concern for all. International institutions are struggling to keep up with the rapid changes in food safety governance. Access to food, whether through production or consumption, is increasingly a hotbed of friction and uncertainty. Additionally, global supply chains, influential multinational corporations, and the effects of climate change, result in greater pressure upon already fragile processes and marginalised peoples. On January 20, 2018, thought leaders and stakeholders will come together for a one-day international conference at King’s College London to engage in a dialogue and shed light on some of those tensions in an effort to further constructive and lasting solutions to this pressing issue.

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