Last week Development Roast asked you what you would pay for a beautiful purple butterfly silk shawl if you received positive information about the social and environmental conditions under which it was produced.
Now how would you view products of lesser credentials if you received more relevant information about them?
Would you buy this gorgeous Thai silk pashmina if its tag said this:
Item Name: Embroidered Orange Thai Silk Pashmina
Origin: Pai, Thailand
Made By: Multiple Individuals in Different Countries
Time taken to create the silk: 2 days
Time taken to weave: 10 minutes
Time taken to embroid: 30 minutes
Method of Creation: The silk is collected from the Thai silkworm by low wage workers at the end of the rice harvesting season in southern and northern most parts of Thailand. It is then transported to a central factory on the outskirts of Bangkok where the silk is span and weaved into cloth by a mechanised process using illegal Chinese migrant labour. The silk cloth is then dyed using synthetic chemicals imported from the US. The silk is cut into scarfs and transported over land to India, where young women and girls embroid the final detail by hand. They work 14 hour shifts in dark, window and ventilation-less underground factories.
Income Distribution: The workers involved in producing the pashmina from start to finish receive between them equivalent of 50c (US)/ 40p (UK)/ 35c (EU).
Negative Environmental Effects: The chemical run off from the silk factory is released directly into the nearby watershed causing increased human and animal cancer incidents and affecting all creatures’ reproductive systems.
Do you think that changing our shopping environments would encourage more ethics, responsibility and sustainability? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Ioulia Fenton leads the food and agriculture research stream at the Center for Economic and Environmental Modeling and Analysis (CEEMA) at INESAD.
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