Issue 412 | March 24, 2017
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The WRAP Blog

Welcome to The WRAP Weekly newsletter.  Feel free to look around and thank you for being a loyal reader.

Last week we certified 42 factories in 13 countries:
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,319 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,113,096 workers.  
This Week's Headlines
bangladeshBangladesh could loose its trade preferences with the European Union (EU) if it does not demonstrate adequate progress in the implementation of workers' rights. In a joint letter sent to the Bangladeshi government last week, a group of European Commission bodies said that it was "essential" that the country implement the recommendations made by the International Labor Organization (ILO) last year or risk losing out on its status in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). It's estimated that 62% of Bangladesh's garment exports are destined for Europe. ( Dhaka Tribune)

The Cabinet of Bangladesh has passed a draft of the new 2017 Textile Act. Among the provisions in the new legislation is a requirement that companies operating in the textile and apparel sectors register with the Directorate of Textiles and acquire a license from them in order to operate. ( Fibre2Fashion)

At least 11 people, including 4 police officers, were hurt after a group of over 300 workers at a garment factory blocked traffic demanding immediate payment of benefits they had reportedly been promised. Workers say that they were told their facility would be moving to Gazipur and that their benefits would be paid following the relocation, though they claim they were not told of an exact timetable for the move and claim that the factory was closed on Wednesday when they arrived for work. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) says that it has met with the factory's managers who have agreed to pay the benefits through the BGMEA. ( The Daily Star

A new report from a U.S. NGO looks at the struggles facing leather tanneries in the Hazaribagh area of Dhaka. Published by New York-based group "Transparentem," the report details alleged hazardous conditions in many of the area's tanneries and says that many workers they saw appeared to be underage. On its website, Transparentem says that it only releases its reports to "strategic intermediaries," including selected journalists, and not to the public.

belgiumThe Development Committee of the European Parliament is calling on the greater body to create a set of rules that ensures all players in the textile and clothing industry supply chain respect the rights of workers. The proposal also suggests that the European Union (EU) should only buy its apparel and textiles from sustainable and fair producers. A representative of the party at the forefront of the movement says that EU countries bear a great responsibility for ensuring fair treatment of workers in the global supply chain by virtue of how large the European market is. ( Fibre2Fashion)

cambodiaAt least 1 person was killed on March 22 following a boiler explosion at a Phnom Penh denim factory. Authorities say dozens of others were injured after the explosion sent debris flying in dozens of directions. Investigators say that the boiler was in poor condition and that one person charged with its maintenance has been arrested for negligence.

Several international watchdog groups are warning that Cambodia's proposed minimum wage law could potentially criminalize opposition to , or even independent analysis of, the country's new minimum wage. One of these groups, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), says that the law in its current form poses a "massive and direct threat" to fundamental freedoms in the country. The main objective of the proposed policy is to impose a nationwide minimum wage beyond just the garment sector. ( Cambodia Daily)

Germany says it is considering filing a lawsuit against the United States in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over U.S. President Donald Trump's "border tax" that would place a 35% tariff on cars manufactured by German automaker BMW for export to the U.S. at a new production facility in Mexico. German officials say they are considering several other measures to counteract the new tax and that the issue is a complicated one. It's estimated that Germany has a €50 billion (US$ 53 billion) trade surplus with the United States. ( Sourcing Journal )
*NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

Hong Kong
Hong Kong-based Li and Fung says that it has entered into a new "supply chain relationship" with global apparel company PVH. As part of the new agreement, Li and Fund says it will provide "value-added" services to PVH's supply chain by applying the latest technology and knowledge. Both companies say they are optimistic that the new connection will help them stay ahead of new developments in the sourcing world. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Textile and apparel exports continue to be a major contributor to India's overall exports, according to new government data. This sector has accounted for an average of 14% of overall exports from India over the past 3 years. Government leaders say they are pleased with the contributions that textiles and apparel make to the Indian economy and say they will work to support future growth. ( Fibre2Fashion

Officials in India say they are reviving negotiations on a new Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) with the European Union.  Initial talks on such an agreement first commenced in 2007, but 16 previous rounds of negotiations failed to produce a final agreement. Indian leaders say that they expect the textile industry to benefit greatly from the new agreement if it is finalized. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chanrashekhar Rao, is pushing local political leaders to pass measures promoting the welfare of weaving workers in the state. He says that many workers feel neglected by the government and have either sought to change professions or have even gone so far as to end their own lives. He is also pushing the government to buy more woven goods as a means of propping up the industry. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The Netherlands
A pair of Dutch fashion students have created an eco-friendly method of dyeing clothes using live bacteria. The "Living Color" project, as it as been coined, uses sound waves to coax color-producing bacteria to vibrate and produce specific hues in fabric. The creators say their new technology could be a more natural, sustainable alternative to synthetically-produced dyes that are more commonly used today. ( Sourcing Journal
*NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

Textile exports from Pakistan have dipped for another consecutive fiscal year despite the fact that the industry received record loans. Exports for FY2016-17 dropped to US$6.1 billion from US$6.5 billion in the previous fiscal year, even though over US$858 million in loans were given out. Struggles with energy supplies coupled with growing competition form other Asian neighbors have plagued the industry's ability to succeed. ( Fibre2Fashion)

A new technical training institute focusing on Pakistan's textile industry has been announced. The Pakistan Readymade Technical Training Institute (PRTTI) will focus on training workers in stitching, quality control, pattern design, and sewing machine maintenance. Industry leaders hope the new facility will help improve overall productivity as well as product quality. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Global fashion retailer H&M has launched a new line of sustainable clothing for women and children. The new "Conscious Exclusive" collection includes pieces made of sustainable materials like recovered plastic ocean waste. H&M executives say they are excited about the new line, saying that it shows what is possible with sustainably-produced materials. ( Fibre2Fashion

The Swedish Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA) has launched the world's first online course in sustainable apparel. Created for professionals working in the industry, the course is focused on teaching about the core issues and challenges surrounding sustainable production and providing students with the tools necessary to face some of the largest challenges in sustainable fashion. The 11-week program will be offered 3 times per year beginning in February, April, and September. ( Fibre2Fashion

United Kingdom
brexitThe British government will begin the process of leaving the European Union (EU), a decision known as "Brexit," on March 29 by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which outlines the conditions and process for a member state to leave the EU. The negotiating process is expected to take approximately 2 years with the U.K. formally departing the union by March 2019. ( BBC

The U.K.'s "National Living Wage," a special minimum wage rate for workers over the age of 25, is set to increase from £7.20 (US$8.99) per hour to £7.50 (US$9.37) per hour beginning next month. Government officials say that this is the first step toward their ultimate goal of reaching  £9.00 (US$11.20) by 2020. While labor leaders are praising the announcement, retailers fear the move could hurt their bottom lines and their ability to retain and create jobs. (Fibre2Fashion)

United States
A new report from non-profit group Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) says that companies doing business in sub-Saharan Africa, including apparel manufacturers, can gain significant benefits by working to bolster economic empowerment for women. The report looks at the economic, social, cultural, and political challenges facing women in the region and offers companies recommendations about how to overcome these challenges and provide equal opportunities for female workers. (BSR / Just Style)
*NOTICE: Just Style link requires a paid subscription

A new survey from Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor suggests that while consumers overall are becoming less brand loyal when shopping for apparel, many still choose brands that they feel share their societal values. The survey says that 69% of respondents did not report having an emotional connection to any brand, though nearly half of respondents said they would be loyal to brands that shared values like community service or fair trade. Millennials are more likely to fall into this category as well when compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers. ( Sourcing Journal )
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Vietnam's garment exports to the United States are still strong even amidst the apparent demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. The Vietnam Garment and Textile Association (VITAS) says that the country is the second-largest provider of apparel to the United States and Japan and that a dozen existing and pending trade agreements promise to bolster the country's position even further. The country hopes its textile and garment sector will grow by 7-8% this year. ( Vietnam News)
About WRAP
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, with regional offices in Hong Kong, SAR, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, full-time staff in India and Southeast Asia (Thailand and Vietnam), and for Latin America, WRAP is an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. To learn more about WRAP, please visit .

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