Issue 409 | March 3, 2017
Upcoming Training

March 13-17
Shanghai, China

March 21-22
Bangalore, India

March 23
Dhaka, Bangladesh



The WRAP Blog

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

The WRAP Up
Last week we certified 41 factories in 12 countries:
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,310 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,109,865 workers.  
This Week's Headlines
Bangladesh
bangladeshRepresentatives of several Western brands that announced they would not be attending the recent Dhaka Apparel Summit reversed their decisions after 35 garment workers and union leaders arrested during last December's massive demonstration were released. Several major apparel brands announced they would not be sending representatives to the event in protest against the treatment of those arrested, which many global observers have condemned. The workers were released following a meeting between international labor rights groups, local trade organizations, and the government. ( Sourcing Journal) *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

The High Court of Bangladesh has ordered the owners of 154 tanneries in the Hazaribagh area to pay fines totaling
Tk. 300 million (US$3.7 million) for failure to comply with an order to relocate their facilities to Savar for environmental reasons. The relocation order was issued in July of last year and levied a daily fine of the facilities that failed to comply. ( New Age BD)

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Telenor Health aimed at developing digital mobile technology to improve the health and well-being of the country's readymade garment workers. The two groups say they will work together to bring innovative and affordable health solutions to the country's thousands of garment workers as well as help to develop sustainable finance models for these efforts. ( Daily Sun)

Belarus
The first forum between Belorussian and Pakistani textile and apparel manufacturers will take place later this month at a trade show in Minsk. The two countries are hoping to grow their bilateral cooperation and talk about potential joint projects in the textile industry. ( Fibre2Fashion)

China
The attractiveness of China as a sourcing destination for Western fashion brands continues to diminish as costs of doing business in the country go up. Experts say that the labor cost gap between China and some European countries like Italy dropped by 30% between 2008 and 2016. They also indicate that the demand from customers for constantly refreshed lines is driving them to move production closer to home. ( Reuters)

Denmark
The Copenhagen-based Global Fashion Agenda says it has partnered with the Boston Consulting Group to publish a new report looking at the state of sustainability in the global fashion industry. Slated for released at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May, the report, titled "Pulse of the Fashion Industry," is expected to examine the environmental, social, and ethical challenges faced by the industry and how each of these areas create significant opportunities for positive change. ( Fibre2Fashion)

India
indiaPowerloom operators in Coimbatore and Tirupur have stopped production in protest of unstable yarn prices that they say are affecting their profit margins. A local trade association says that thousands of production facilities, and their workers, are being negatively affected by the price fluctuations and are pushing the government to take steps to stabilize the market. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Mexico
mexicoLeaders in Mexico say they will only remain a part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if it suits the country's goals. Speaking to a session of the Mexican Senate, the country's Foreign Minister rejected a series of new tariffs and quotas proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump and insisted that the country would be putting its own interests at the forefront during the renegotiation process, which is expected to commence in June. ( Sourcing Journal)
*NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

Pakistan
pakistanPakistan textile exports have reached their lowest level in nearly 6 years, according to Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, the head of the Pakistan Apparel Forum citing the country's Bureau of Statistics. Bilwani says that between July 2016 and January 2017, Pakistan exported just US$7.34 billion in textiles, down from US$7.45 billion during the same period in 2011-12. Skyrocketing business costs and increasing competition from other Asian neighbors are cited as the main causes of the decline. ( Sourcing Journal) *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

Switzerland
The C&A Foundation is launching a new global initiative aimed at helping brands, retailers, and manufacturers find more "innovative and sustainable" ways of producing fashion. The "Fashion For Good" initiative will offer support and guidance for brands seeking more sustainable business practices and will facilitate sector-wide collaboration. The program will include a new "innovation hub" in Amsterdam and a start-up accelerator in the U.S. Silicon Valley region in California. ( Just Style) *NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

United States
usanrfThe National Retail Federation (NRF) is launching a new advertising campaign aiming to portray the proposed "Border Adjustment Tax" as bad for consumers. In a statement announcing the campaign, the NRF says that while they are in favor of general tax reforms, the BAT would increase costs for the average American family by US$1,700 per year if implemented. The campaign will consist of nationwide television spots. ( Fibre2Fashion / NRF

VF Corporation has released a new set of guidelines for sourcing sustainable forest materials and products. The company says that the new guidelines aim to combat issues like deforestation and forest degradation, including the loss of ancient forests and harm to biodiversity. Several environmental NGOs have praised the move saying that a company the size of VF taking actions along these lines provides great momentum to forest conservation worldwide. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Applied DNA Sciences, a provider of DNA-based supply chain tracking solutions, says it has identified a series of genetic markers in cotton that can be used to track it to growers who are accused of using forced labor. The company says that the testing technology can only be used on raw and ginned cotton, though they are working to roll it out to yarn and finished textiles as well. Company leaders say the technology will make it easier for companies to identify and remove cotton from places like Uzbekistan, which is regularly accused of using forced labor in its cotton harvests.

Vietnam
Leaders in Vietnam's leather and footwear industries say that the recent decision of the United States to pull out of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may not be as detrimental to their industry as originally thought. Analysts say that the country's political and social stability along with an abundant supply of labor will keep it globally competitive in spite of the TPP action. Leather and footwear products are responsible for an estimated 10% of all Vietnamese export revenue. ( Vietnam Net)
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  www.wrapcompliance.org .

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