SP: 'Country of origin' label says nothing about working conditions or environment

24 June 2010

SP: 'Country of origin' label says nothing about working conditions or environment

Increasingly, consumers are interested in purchasing clothes produced under decent working conditions and using methods which respect the environment. The European Parliament will shortly debate a proposal for an obligatory labelling system ostensibly designed to respond to these wishes. According to SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong, however, the proposal offers only a false sense of security. "People want to know how a product is made. In principle the place where it's made tells you nothing about this. In addition, the place of production is increasingly difficult to determine, because the parts of, for example, a shirt, can come from totally different countries. If they're then put together in Italy, suddenly it's 'made in Italy´. And the place where the clothing comes from gives no information about working conditions or the environment. In Milan, for example, thousands of illegally resident Chinese workers work under wretched conditions in clothing factories."

Information to the consumer

Dennis de JongThe SP Euro-MP proposes that there should be a label which actually tells consumers and vendors something. "Provide sound and verifiable information on working conditions and on whether production methods are environmentally friendly, and then everyone will know what they're buying," he says. Clothes shops could use such information to advise customers on the background of the products which they sell. De Young made his proposal for more clarity in the currently existing range of different labels yesterday during a meeting with the European Chambers of Commerce and various other interest groups, including Modint, the industry association for fashion, interior décor, carpets and textiles. The SP's suggestion was well received, as the sector is afraid of the false solution offered by the "Made In" label. With a label that guaranteed decent working conditions and effective environmental regulations, the retailer would know what was involved and the consumer would know that he or she was buying 'clean clothes'.

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