Ethical behaviors consider the fair treatment of everyone in the supply chain: from working conditions and treatment to living wages. So why sustainability? Why ethical?
Pt. 2: Why Ethical?
It’s sometimes hard to come to terms with the old sayings of our elders, but as we carry out this human experience we are reminded that old sayings often reveal truth. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Sound familiar? So, the question here is, why not ethical? At ETC we understand that we are all connected to create the whole and that whole is the human family. With this understanding we choose to operate a business that honors and respects every hand that plays a part. We want to be more responsible in the ways that we produce and consume, while encouraging you to do the same.
Garment workers are a main ingredient in the production of apparel. No garment workers = no production. It’s that simple. But garment workers are also some of the most undervalued components within supply chains. Many are overworked and underpaid with most forced to work in inhumane conditions. Additionally, the demands to meet a variety of production quotas increase stress and oftentimes undermines safety.
In India, garment workers are feeling the impact. In her January 23, 2020 article, "India ‘Sourcing Squeeze’ Piles ‘Inhumane’ Burden on Garment Workers," Jasmine Malik Chua reports: "A survey of 560 workers indicated a ‘profound concern’ about the increasing workloads, which some referred to as an ‘inhumane’ pace of production. Production targets, they said, have moved from daily goals to hourly targets. Sixty-three percent of workers described overtime work as ‘sometimes or always’ obligatory, and 32 percent said they were not paid the legal overtime rate of 200 percent. Verbal abuse and sexual harassment have likewise intensified, with 64 percent of workers indicating they had been yelled at by their supervisors, often for not fulfilling their production targets. They complained of epithets like ‘donkeys’ and ‘owls.’ Female workers said they were often sexually harassed and the subject of physical abuse at work."
The report goes on to express, "Below-subsistence wages remain a concern. Male workers polled took home an average of $162.23 per month, including overtime payments and bonuses and after deductions. Female workers earned a monthly average of $113.69, which 96 percent said was insufficient for covering living expenses."
So how do we at ETC address these very real issues ethically? By focusing on what we can control and working hyper locally. We know that unethical and inhumane practices persist because more than 95% of clothing is manufactured abroad which could be extremely limiting to our control . By prioritizing ethical practices over cheaper costs, ETC aims to focus on local production. We’ll be able to ensure we don’t overproduce which minimizes our energy consumption and emissions and we’ll be able to provide humane working conditions that honors the skills and talents of our manufacturers.
For example, our highly anticipated spring collection will be produced by a local Brooklyn seamstress with over 10 years experience in the fashion industry. Our fair wages and the opportunity to work out of personal office spaces empower our makers, support local artisans and help build stronger communities. Local production also guarantees issues can be addressed directly and more timely which will limit production delays and support quality control.
At ETC, adhering to ethical principles guarantee that our garments are manufactured with care and love because our ethical principles are rooted in the ability to look beyond the self and consider another. ETC is a socially responsible company that genuinely considers how our business choices impact both life and environment.
So why ethical? Because ethical is right.