FEATURE: NEW ZEALAND IMPLEMENTS A CHILD-LABOR FREE LABEL
In the wake of horrifying disasters involving the deaths of 289 garment workers in the Karachi-based Ali Enterprises factory fire and Bangladesh Rana Plaza building collapse, activists have had enough of the dangerous and inhumane conditions that garment factories practice. To aid in changing these ways, New Zealand’s Child Labor Free foundation is introducing a labelling system that hopes to certify clothing as child labor free.
Accreditation requires brands to apply for the label and accept random factory inspections to guarantee a safe non-hostile work environment that does not use child labor. The International Labour Organisation defines child labor as a deprivation of childhood, education, potential, dignity and is harmful to physical and mental development. When applying, brands will have to openly supply evidence of no use of child labor as well as manufacturing, sourcing and components used. The information would then be examined by Ernest & Young, a global accountancy firm popularly known as EY, and they will determine which sites would need necessary inspection.
Child Labor Free states that unannounced surveys are determined by company circumstances, local laws and determined risk levels for each site. In addition to being open with their production information, brands are encouraged to be “incredibly transparent” for it shows ambition to fight a great issue and find resolutions openly.
“We are passionate about education and outcomes for young children,” explains Nikki Prendergast, founder and director of Child Labor Free. “We started asking ourselves about where our resources were coming from, how were they made, who is making them and couldn’t really find a suitable answer to that question … we wanted to create a marker for consumers and brands to engage together to ensure a transparent dialogue and better outcomes for children.”
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