Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How much money do workers earn?
In an estimate of a US$130 pair of shoes made in Indonesia, just $0.70 (that's 0.5% of the total retail cost) goes to production workers’ wages.In contrast, the
company makes a profit of $17 (or 13%). Labour costs can vary based on many factors, but total wages are almost never more than 5% of the total retail price.
This is true even for low-price items such as T-shirts offered by budget brands.
So even in an extreme scenario, if a worker’s wages were to double and the cost was passed along directly to consumers, the item would cost only 5% more: your €130 pair of shoes would cost just €136.5. Alternatively, companies could absorb this negligible increase themselves and the consumer price would remain the same.
Read more about our living wage campaign and learn how we fight for better wages.
Isn't that because the cost of living is so much cheaper in garment-producing countries?
The cost of living in garment-producing countries is indeed cheaper than in the global north, but garment workers are still not paid a wage that covers their basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing and education.
This video illustrate how poorly workers are living and why do we need a living wage.
Which are the good and ethical brands?
We know that you would like a list of 'good' brands, so you know where to shop (and where to stop!). The answer is unfortunately not as clear as a 'good' and a 'bad' list. The Clean Clothes Campaign exists to help empower garment workers on the ground to improve their conditions.
In other words: we choose not to operate as a consumer label that investigates everything there is to know about every brand. Instead, we focus on labour conditions and push for living wages, safer factories and innovative ways to empower workers to fight for their rights.
Tips to recognize brands that do more on workers rights:
No brand is totally perfect. There is no magic answer. However, some brands are doing more to help workers than others. We would like consumers to buy from companies that take steps to implement the Full Package Approach, in order to encourage them to keep doing it!
Clean Clothes Campaign expects companies to have:
- A comprehensive code of conduct that addresses all International Labor Organizations norms, such as the right to join a union and the right to a written contract.
- Take serious steps to implement this code. Companies should critically monitor the way they buy their own clothing and to take measures to work towards the payment of a living wage.
- Undertake credible stakeholder participation.
- Actively support freedom of association and collective bargaining.
If you want to find out if your favourite brand is doing this already, you can look on their websites or request more information.