This is a topic which got more and more important to me. For others, this may not apply.
If you buy a t-shirt for 3 EUR, you may think “wow, a great offer!”. Many people would like to get everything as cheap as possible, no matter what. I don´t want to “shame” anybody, please don´t take anything personal! Sometimes I just think that we should realize something. If goods are extremely cheap, doesn’t there have to be something wrong? To stick to my example, how can you produce a t-shirt for 3 euro, including material, working, transportation and tax costs (and still make profit!)? It is impossible to cover the entire costs, unless you choose
- cheap & low quality resources.
- to pay the workers a bare living wage only.
- to produce in a way that is harmful to the environment.
Is this okay?
We tolerate this everytime we buy clothing from famous (e.g. Abercrombie, Tommy Hilfiger, Mustang, etc.) or cheap (H&M, Primark, Kik, …) brands. I think of it as modern slavery. Workers, for example in Bangladesh, have to work for more than 12 hours a day. Being caged in a factory, no breaks, no food, no safety, nothing. Would we support this if it happened right in front of our eyes?
Who´s fault is it?
If you do some research on this topic, especially on clothing, you´ll find out that the European / American brands (and their competitors) are to be blamed as they put a lot of pressure on the garment factories. If they can´t produce for the required price, they don´t get the order. Example: A Chinese factory owner has to produce jeans for 3,10 euro / piece (for the cheap brand kik). The same jeans are sold for 10 euro in Germany.
The more you think about it the less it is acceptable. Some people say: “This doesn´t make a difference, nobody buys fair-trade products.”. Well, what if we asked the child that produces your Iphone, the mother that works 14 hours / day to sew your shirt? In my opinion we don´t have the rights to treat anybody like this. There is so much that has to change. Everybody should earn as much as they need for a basic living, everybody should have regulated working hours and a save working environment. Everybody should be treated according to the human rights.
“Fair-trade” should be the standard, not the exception. It is a very sad reality that we have to mark products that are fair as something “different” or “special“, rather than identifying those who are not!
If you want to inform yourself about fair-trade I recommend watching “The True Cost” (Netflix) and “The price of Blue Jeans” (German: Der Preis der Blue-Jeans). Additionally, there are many online-stores with a great variety of fair-trade clothing and shoes (e.g. Greenality, Avocadostore, etc.); many organic supermarkets sell fair-trade products. Let´s try to make the difference, we have the power to change the world.
Soon I will upload a test, “Is fair-trade necessarily more expensive?”, stay tuned! If you have any questions or feedback feel free to comment below.