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May 9, 2013

Infographic: What does that $14 shirt really cost?

It’s time companies we support support fair labor. Made in the USA—or as close as possible to wherever we’re at—everything we buy should be ethical, fair, from beginning to end—or we shouldn’t buy it. Count yourself a feminist? Count yourself a fair human being? Read on…

Via MacLean’s:

Before last week, Loblaw’s Joe Fresh was known mostly as a hot spot for cheap, stylish clothing. Few customers likely cared how the clothes were made. That all changed with the deadly…

…According to a 2011 report by the consulting firm O’Rourke Group Partners, a generic $14 polo shirt sold in Canada and made in Bangladesh actually costs a retailer only $5.67. To get prices that low, workers see just 12 cents a shirt, or two per cent of the wholesale cost. That’s one of the lowest rates in the world—about half of what a worker in a Chinese factory might make—and a major reason for the explosion of Bangladesh’s garment industry, worth $19 billion last year, up from $380 million in 1985. The country’s 5,400 factories employ four million people, mostly women, who cut and stitch shirts and pants that make up 80 per cent of the country’s total exports...read the rest at MacLean’s.

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For more on elephant: Stuff Mindful People Like: Fair Labor Shoes.

Are TOMS Shoes made in Third World, in uncertified fair labor factories? Hope not.

Amazing: Radiohead v Child Labor. Green Consumers v Made in Asia.

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Curt May 9, 2013 2:13pm

So how does this square with a previous post regarding conspicuous consumption. Seems to me that Dr Bronner's is about as fair trade as you can get.

Alison May 9, 2013 4:18am

If the clothing industry moves out of Bangladesh, people won't have work. The purchasers must be held accountable to ensure fair trade if the Bangladeshi government won't.

Martha James Hartney May 8, 2013 9:34pm

Unfortunately, this analysis does not reflect the absolute costs of production that must include externalities. The externalities are the costs of production that a locale, country, region, continent or planet bear for the producer to produce. Those are "offloaded" items such as: governmental subsidies to produce (free or reduced cost land, road cutting, utilities not directly paid for by the producer), environmental impact, social impact, loss of opportunity for higher margin and forward-market products and services. If we actually had to pay for every cost, this shirt would probably cost much more.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.