Even fashion trends can be produced sustainably, as demonstrated by the label Blutsgeschwister GmbH that started up in Stuttgart in 2001. As part of a development partnership with the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungspartnerschaft mbH (DEG), Blutgeschwister is working to improve production conditions in China and India while encouraging more producers to follow suit.
To this end, the young fashion brand, which is now based in Berlin, is cooperating closely with the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), a reputable non-governmental organisation that advocates the application of ecological and social standards in the textile industry around the world.
In cooperation with eleven selected sewing factories in China and India, Blutsgeschwister is setting up a sustainable supply chain and driving forward its certification. Together with FWF experts, the company analyses its supply structure and identifies any workflow flaws. It then draws up action plans and provides corresponding training for the entire management and around one fifth of the workforce at every factory.
What needs to be done to improve occupational safety and working hours? Where can workers file a complaint if their rights are abused? Who is actually responsible for putting decisions into practice and how are changes documented?
In each company, two people are appointed to implement the measures. It is their task to inform the workers about their rights and represent them vis-à-vis the management. Two or three times a year, Blutsgeschwister GmbH’s CEO and Head of Design observe manufacturing processes on site. By providing long-term contracts, the fashion brand is also giving its Indian and Chinese suppliers more security in terms of business planning, which helps to make the required investments in improving production conditions and social standards.
The Fair Wear Foundation also provides other interested companies with resources explaining how social standards are implemented in the pilot factories.
In the long term, Blutsgeschwister’s commitment will help to improve living and working conditions for many employees in one of the largest and most important economic sectors in developing countries. It will allow this young German fashion label to keep building up its positive image in a highly competitive market.
‘This development partnership gives us the opportunity to nurture and develop our business together with our partners in China and India. It has also enhanced our own structures and processes. We are now better able to assist and support our partners on site.’
Stephan Künz, CEO of Blutsgeschwister GmbH