Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Cheap chic: at any price?

Consumers in New Zealand are becoming increasingly aware of ethical consumption as an important issue, according to a recent article in Consumer, the monthly magazine published by Consumers New Zealand (NZ).

Twenty major national clothing retailers were invited by Consumers NZ to respond to a questionnaire on how they are improving labour standards and environmental practices in their supply chains. Disappointingly only five responded.

The article also cites recent studies by
International Consumer Research and Testing, which found that a 4% increase in the retail price of an item of clothing can translate into a 400% increase in benefits to a garment worker in the developing world.

Despite the direct impact they have on the working conditions and wages of the people that make them, retail clothing prices have been decreasing over the past few years as a culture of 'fast fashion' has taken hold. Individual consumers in New Zealand are encouraged to do their bit by moving away from 'disposable one-season item(s)' and purchasing good quality, ethical clothing instead.

Consumers NZ also calls on retailers and manufacturers to examine how they can improve their standards wherever possible throughout their supply chains.

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