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Find out if your high-street clothes are ethically made

A new website offers consumers an easy way to check up on retailers’ labour and environmental track records.

Image: Shutterstock/Andrey Yurlov

CONSUMERS CONCERNED ABOUT working conditions and environmental issues have for years been swayed by labelling systems that mark out ethical food products.

But the movement that revolutionised the food trade has taken a little longer to reach clothing, an industry notorious for exploitation and abuse of workers.

A new website launched last month aims to change this by allowing users to quickly read up on labour practices and sustainability efforts at some of the world’s biggest fashion retailers.

ProjectJUST gives you the option to search for your favourite brands, and review their reputations for transparency, working conditions, environmentally-friendly policies and social responsibility.

The site provides detailed information about a number of retail companies with Irish outlets, including Zara, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Mango, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.

The initiative is the brainchild of American woman Natalie Grillon and Shahd Al Shehail, from Saudi Arabia, who met in 2013 and began putting plans together for the site following the collapse of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza clothing factory, which killed over 1,000 people.

Grillon and Al Shehail had both worked for ethical retailers, the former for an cotton company in Uganda and the latter for a Saudi Arabian fashion house that employed local female designers.

Their aim, they say, is to bring transparency to an industry all too often implicated in poor workers’ rights and environmental policies.

“With no information, consumers continue to buy fast fashion; incentives stay misaligned; more fast fashion is made; abuses continue,” their website reads.

Informed and empowered consumers have the power to transform the fashion industry to an ethical and sustainable one with each purchase.

More information here.

Read: From Vietnam to Mountjoy: Shackled by debt, trafficked and trapped in an Irish growhouse

Read: Major investigation by The Guardian lays bare ‘modern slavery’ on Irish fishing trawlers

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