Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
The objective of the Bangladeshi Garment Employee Gold Standard – Certificate (GEGS), is to set up and maintain a recognized factory good practise model that is driven by an employee development plan. The concept takes a bottom up approach where the focus on the employee will produce the change.
WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"
What if the democratic process in Bangladesh was awoken by the ready made garment industry?
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
The inherent imbalance of power within the ready made garment industry, which in essence accommodate exploitation. Though Bangladesh is in theory a democracy, the barriers that prevent participation are overwhelming. Despite the huge array of auditors, policies, good practise measure and associations in place, the industry still seems to avoid accountability and continue to cause damage to our environment and abuse human beings.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
The solution is already in use all across the world, in almost every market, business, organisation and product and is seen to be very effective. In simple terms it is feed-back, a two way communication, allowing two parties to exchange information, enabling both to be suppliers and customers. £Millions are spent on market research annually across the globe in understanding what customers want and delivering brands that produce loyalty and endure. The use of this same mechanism adapted to the ready-made garment industry has the potential to have the same kind of impact. It is in effect this same mechanism adapted to give feedback from factory workers, gauge levels of awareness, empower workers, produce engagement and represent workers.
Impact: How does it Work
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
The Bangladeshi Garment Employee Gold Standard is to be rooted in a survey conducted amongst all the employees. It is slightly different to the usual employee survey as it will focus mostly on their awareness of sustainable practices, their rights as workers, the rights and expectations of their employers and how they use their knowledge to add value to their factories. There will be a very specific system of evaluation set up to show the levels of awareness, actual engagement and benefits brought to the wider industry. Once the survey has been conducted, every employee will receive a grade for their participation, A Gold, Silver, Bronze medal or a fail, which in turn will reflect on the relevant factory.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
Future impact include:
1) Clarity in factory standards relating to labour laws/health and safety and skilled workers to all parties.
2) Interdependency amongst all parties to achieving high quality products in a people friendly and sustainable manner.
3) Brands using these factories will receive updates on how the factory is progressing and the contribution it is making to the wider ready-made garment industry. This can be fed back into the brand’s corporate social responsibility programmes, which will inevitably enhance their sustainability policy. It can also be used in their advertising, to inform their customers.
4) Provide incentives for workers to educate themselves, this could be by forming forums and discussion groups, it could be by going to the right sources to find the information they need, or just simply having a more positive attitude to giving more back to the factory
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
We believe this programme will make it easy to recognize ethically produced brands, where the workers receive their rightful share of the benefits. It will also be a catalyst for change by incentivising good performance and providing exciting and attainable goals for workers, factories and the domestic garment industry as a whole.
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
Our programme would act as an additional tool to be used by NGOs already working with factories striving to be more ethical, together with organisations like the ETI, The Fair Wear Foundation, FTA, BSI, bsci etc. Others like supply chain auditors, bodies and organisations that advise and work together with ethical brands and owners of garment factories would benefit from our collaboration and these partnership is at the heart of sustainabililty.
Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
All factories, organisations and brands taking part in the scheme will pay a subsidised subscription fee for the results from the survey. The factories receive the results for their own factory, which they can share with various organisations they are attached to, to help improve their standing in the industry and amongst their potential customers. Organisations like the Fair Wear Foundation will receive aggregate data for all the factories they monitor, which they can use in their campaigns and marketing strategies. The Brands using these factories will receive newsletters and updates
I realised the current situation in Bangladesh is the perfect storm for powerful change. Bangladesh currently has a lot of the components neccessary not only to turn their own industry around but also if it succeeds to be a model for other similar high risk nations to follow suit. The additional requirement is a project like ours, carefully designed with collabaration from a number of effected and interested parties like NGOs, associations and factories.
Disni Jayasuriya the founder of Ethicologist.
BA (Hons) Economics & German
Dip, Social Anthropology
I have been employed in the market research industry for the last 15 years. Having worked for agencies like TNS, Research International, NOP, IPSOS Mori, and a number of smaller companies in consumer and B2B research I decided to bring all my experience to invest in the ethical fashion industry. We currently run ad hoc surveys to help companies address their social responsibility aspirations, meet sustainability targets and engage with ethical apparel. We also provide syndicated surveys allowing small brands to buy into big data with a small budget
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]
Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]
Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]
Auditors, Brands, Consumers, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Policymakers, Researchers, Retailers - Department Store, Retailers - Specialty Store, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Trading Companies, Women.
Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.
Capacity Building, Policy, Standards.
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?
A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?
Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.
Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?
If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?
● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?