DESIGNED IN BARCELONA, MADE IN EUROPE
Currently, 87% of the world of footwear is manufactured in Asia or in developing countries, which is linked to labor exploitation through the hiring of cheap workforce and where unfortunately many times workers rights are nonexistent or extremely limited. Often, workers are squeezed as if they were machines; they have interminable work shifts, have precarious salaries and scarce security in their factories.
In Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia or Cambodia among others, the paid minimum wage barely represents between half to fifth of the living wage. This last is required to fulfill the basic needs of food, rent, healthcare and education of a family. For instance, in Bangladesh, the minimum wage has recently increased to 63$/month, but despite this rise, it is still 60% below of 170$, the needed living wage (1).
(1) Source: www.wageindicator.org , Living Wages Series, January 2018. “Typical family” taken for the analysis & the Clean Clothes Campaign Global Alliance
ENDLESS WORKING HOURS
Long working hours and forced overtime are a major concern among garment workers. Factory managers typically push employees to work between 10 and 12 hours, sometimes 16 to 18 hours a day. A seven-day working week is becoming the norm during the peak season, particularly in China, despite limits placed by the law (2).
& SAFETY CONDITIONS
The collapse of the Rana Plaza in 2013, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1134 workers and injuring more than 2.500 who manufactured garment for many of the biggest apparel companies in the world, has revealed the unacceptable working conditions of the whole fashion industry to the world. Employees u50sually work with no ventilation, breathing in toxic substances, inhaling fiber dust or blasted sand in unsafe buildings (3). Accidents, fires, injuries, and disease are very frequent occurrences on textile production sites.
OF CHILD LABOUR
According to the International Labour Organisation, 152 million children are engaged in child labour worldwide. Nearly half of all those -73 million- are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety, and moral development. More than 40% of the child labour is found in the Asia and the Pacific (62.1 million). Because the fashion industry requires low-skilled labour, child labour is particularly common in this industry (4).
(2) Source: Labour Behind the Label, Nov 2017
(3) Source: Wikipedia.org, 2013 Savar Building Collapse
(4) ILO, Results and Trends Report (2012-2016)
We believe in a better fashion industry.
We were determined not to be part of this. From the beginning we only wanted to partner with suppliers that respect their workers, improving their life conditions and providing them a good working environment; a factory where employment is freely chosen and where child labor is not used in any case. Therefore, we focused on finding partners in Europe that work under the same values as we believe in.
Our search started in our own country, Spain, but after visiting several factories and not meeting our expectations, we decided to knock the door on our neighbor country, Portugal, well known not only for its quality footwear industry but also for the excellence of its service and the ability to deliver small series; We had finally found our partner.
Located in the North of Portugal, Felgueiras is the heart of the country’s footwear industry. Our partner, You Shoes, is made up of artisans that really love the work they do and we proudly can confirm that one year and 18.000 sneakers after, they still maintain a high standard of ethics: fair wages and shifts, gender equality and most importantly, they treat their workers as family.
The employees of the factory receive an average salary of 850€/month distributed in 14 pays and its gender distribution is balanced (60% men – 40% women). They work 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday (from 8am to 6pm with 2hours break to have breakfast and lunch); therefore, they work 40 hours a week and overtime hours are paid 50% more. On peak season, extra hours are permitted but also regulated; each worker is not allowed to work more than 2 extra hours per day. Concerning holidays, they have 22 working days of paid vacations a year.
Each employee contributes with 11% of their salary to the INSS (government retirement plan). In case the employee is dismissed or resigns, the amount of the contribution belongs to the employee.
In Wado we encourage these suppliers to increase transparency by requiring our collaborators to perform social audits and recurrent chemical tests to verify that trust, integrity and honesty are guaranteed in their work environments. We yearly conduct a social and ethical trade audit to make sure our factories respect our values and meet our criteria as well as to identify areas where improvement can still be made.
We also work with suppliers from Alicante, Spain. The concentration of our manufacturing suppliers within the same geographical area allows us to create an efficient and fast collaborating network which ensures the use of local materials and reduces our carbon footprint.
In addition, sharing habits and customs with our collaborators facilitates communication and generates greater involvement of our suppliers in the project, which has a direct impact on the quality of our final product.