Located in Savar, Bangladesh, Rana Plaza was an eight-story building that housed five garment factories which manufactured clothing for major global brands. Despite workers reporting cracks in the building, an indication of potential structural issues, factory owners demanded they continue working or face termination. On the 24th of April 2013, Rana Plaza collapsed, resulting in a preventable tragedy and death of more than 1,100 garment workers and injuring over 2,600 others.
A decade has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster. The catastrophe served as a catalyst for change, inspiring the global Fashion Revolution movement and prompting the fashion industry to re-evaluate its practices. The fashion industry has undergone a significant transformation as consumers and buyers have started to consciously consider the impact their choices have on the world.
As a buyer, you can contribute to a more sustainable and ethical industry while meeting the growing demand for conscious fashion. Let’s explore the progress made over the past ten years and inspire you to continue supporting fair trade brands.
- Embracing the principles of Fair Trade
The WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) has established ten Principles to ensure that Fair Trade organizations prioritise workers’ rights, fair wages, safe working conditions, and environmental sustainability. By sourcing from WFTO members, you support a global network of businesses committed to fostering ethical practices in the fashion industry.
- Meeting consumer demand for ethical fashion
In the past decade, there has been a significant shift in consumer attitudes towards sustainability and ethical production. By choosing to work with WFTO members, you meet the growing demand for transparent and responsible fashion while positioning your brand as a leader in the movement towards a more ethical industry. As a buyer, you can meet this growing demand for ethical fashion by sourcing from WFTO members who adhere to the ten Principles of Fair Trade here.
- Building a positive brand reputation
By demonstrating your commitment to ethical sourcing and supporting organizations that prioritize the well-being of workers and the environment, you showcase your brand as an agent of change in the fashion industry.
- Encouraging industry-wide change
Sourcing from WFTO members sends a powerful message to other businesses within the fashion industry, encouraging them to adopt more ethical and sustainable practices. This collective effort can inspire meaningful change, fostering a fairer, more responsible, and more transparent fashion landscape.
- Strengthening supply chain resilience
By working with WFTO members, you invest in supply chains that prioritize long-term relationships, community development, and environmental stewardship. These practices contribute to a more resilient and stable supply chain, reducing the risk of disruptions due to social or environmental factors.
- Supporting artisanal craftsmanship and cultural heritage
WFTO members often work with artisan communities, preserving traditional craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Sourcing from these organizations allows you to offer unique, high-quality products that celebrate the rich history and skills of artisans worldwide.
- Pioneering innovative business models
The WFTO and its members are constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional fashion business models. From embracing circular economy principles to fostering collaborations between artisan cooperatives, these organizations are paving the way for a more inclusive and sustainable industry. By partnering with WFTO members, you can showcase the innovative side of ethical fashion to your customers.
- Participating in the Fashion Revolution
Finally, by aligning your brand with the principles of Fair Trade and sourcing from WFTO members, you become an active participant in the Fashion Revolution. This global movement, inspired by the Rana Plaza tragedy, aims to create a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry.
As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, it is essential to recognize the progress made while continuing to push for a better future. Are you ready to join the #FashionRevolution?