BSL's "No Sweatshop" Ethical Business
13 April 2004 at 1:04 pm
The Brotherhood of St. Laurence’s move into the textile manufacturing business is taking on a new venture producing “No SweatShop” Label corporate and fundraising T-Shirts.
The Brotherhood is an accredited manufacturer and retailer for the “No SweatShop” Label.
This accreditation guarantees that the garments are made in Australia, under fair working conditions, including union award wages, Work Cover, protection, superannuation and reasonable working hours. The profit from the T-Shirts will help support Brotherhood of St Laurence programs.
BSL’s Ethical Business Project Officer Emer Diviney says this project is a lot more than just a fundraising venture.
Diviney says BSL has been heavily involved in International and Australian campaigning for ‘No Sweatshop’ and were instrumental in the establishment of the No SweatShop accreditation in Victoria.
She says what the BSL is trying to do is demonstrate a business case for selling so called ‘clean clothes’ in a number of ways such as through its Hunter Gatherer Stores where they sell new and retro clothing for a youth market.
Another is through researching the supply chain of the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s optical frames business Modstyle. Modstyle is one of Australia’s largest importers of optical frames. BSL inherited the business through a bequest, and are now working towards improving the labour and environmental standards of the factories in China where they source the frames.
Diviney says that through this work BSL has become heavily involved in OECD Watch and the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for transnational corporations. The T-Shirt business is a new initiative to support this Social Enterprise Initiative.
BSL’s marketing of the enterprise is focussed on organisations that have demonstrated an interest in Fair Trade Issues and Corporate Social Responsibility. So far many of its clients have been Not for Profits and government departments such as Parks Victoria and Oxfam.
Diviney says the BSL is looking to garner support from within the sector for the Fair Wear Campaign and to promote the idea of Ethical Supply Chain Management.
Through this campaign BSL can offer an alternative option for Not for Profits wanting to buy promotional t-shirts which may be more in line with the values and policies of their organisations.
She says one of the objectives of its work is to demonstrate to organisations like Sussan, Nike and others that clean clothes can be profitable. The BSL campaign strategy in this area is to move away from using shame and blame strategies and lead by example.
BSL says ethical business practice is about eliminating exploitative working conditions and creating a sustainable social and environmental future.
It says to achieve these goals the social, environmental and economic implications of an organisation’s operations must be carefully considered and planned.
Ethical business and social responsibility must become part of the global business landscape.
For more information about “No SweatShop” label T-Shirt opportunities contact Emer Diviney via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.