The Action Plan: Q3 2022

The Action Plan: Q3 2022

The Action Plan is our quarterly take on protests to attend, solidarity actions to take, & the news on garment workers’ rights and sustainability globally. 

To kick off the new academic year, we’ve assembled a handy list of all the things we’re keeping a close eye on, taking action on and (best of all) the good news we’re holding on to as we go into September.

Enough is enough campaign

This week we’ll be showing some solidarity to our local posties on strike (your parcels are going out on non strike days, and shouldn’t be too delayed with our 48 hour service). We’re also supporting the train strikes, teachers, frontline workers and you, our brilliant readers and customers. 

We’ve been in the business of supporting low income women and their families with decent wages for the past 8 years. However, as our costs and prices have gone up, many people’s wages have not. We understand the pressure that we’re all under, and that’s why we’ll be signing the Enough is Enough campaign for decent wages, decent homes and taxing those who can pay more (looking at you big corporations). Find out more about the campaign here, and find out where your nearest pickett line is.

Good clothes, fair pay

Our friends at Fashion Revolution have launched their campaign for the EU to ensure living wages for garment workers. As a brand who pay above genuine living wages to our garment workers (definition: can cover all living costs, including some left over for leisure, savings and emergencies), this is an issue we feel particularly strongly about. We caught up with their research and policy team at The World Fair Trade Summit in Berlin last week. We may not be EU citizens anymore, but fellow Brits can sign a petition for the Commons to discuss fair wages here.

“The chances that the people who made what you are wearing today were paid a salary that covers their basic needs are close to zero. Wages in all major garment production countries are insufficiently low.  A 2019 Clean Clothes Campaign report showed that the minimum wage in garment-producing countries in Asia ranged from only 21% (in Bangladesh) to 46% (in China) of a living wage.” - Kirsten Kossen, Senior Human Rights Advisor, ASN Bank 

One third of Pakistan is under water. Here’s what you can do to help

Despite contributing to 1% of global carbon emissions, Pakistan is reaping the devastating returns of climate change faster than most countries. With a death toll of 1000+, the monsoon is a real time result of climate change and fossil fuel use globally. Temperatures reached record highs of 49℃ in April, and now an estimated third of the country is underwater. Here is a list of organisations to donate to and assist, courtesy of @SlowFactory and @ayisha_sid

Renewables are being invested in more than ever

A new record level has been met for renewable energy investment globally. “Despite the headwinds presented by ongoing cost inflation and supply challenges, demand for clean energy sources has never been higher,” BloombergNEF’s head of analysis, Albert Cheung, said in a statement,” 

 Here in the UK, 3,000 solar installations are being carried out every week - up from 1,000 in July. Our co-founder’s housing co-operative has long had solar panels installed, and sell their surplus energy back to the grid. We’re hopeful this could help us build more resilient energy systems. Some scientists think so too, with a new paper being published that says countries could potentially get 100% of their energy from renewable sources.

How to insulate your home

We still have some time before autumn to get our houses warmer and cosier. Take these tips from the Energy Saving Trust to winter proof your house before the energy cost cap rises.

H&M is being sued for greenwashing

It’s come as no surprise that the corporate retail giant, responsible for manufacturing 3 billion garments per year, has come under fire for fake claims with regards to its sustainability. With none of its current garment workers across all H&M brands yet making a living wage, including Monki, Weekday, Arket, Other Stories and COS, H&M group have repeatedly back tracked on their sustainability and ethics promises.

Here's an article our Co-Founder wrote for VICE magazine about their claims a few years back.

Here in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority is investigating ASOS and Boohoo for greenwashing over fraudulent and vague claims.  As customers grow increasingly savvy, we’ll be reminding the industry that living wages, deadstock materials and made to order are the best ways to limit your environmental impact.

Support small businesses

An issue close to our hearts after our friends at KTO shut their doors this month. This quarter we’re asking those who have the means to continue to help independent businesses, as soaring energy costs, changes to digital marketing and Brexit have all taken their toll on small enterprises throughout the year.

It’s expected that 53% of smaller companies will shrink, stagnate or go bust in the next 12 months. Can't afford our collections for now? You can still support our lobbying, activism and work contributing to a fairer fashion industry from £5 per month on Patreon

Birdsong is a finalist in Draper’s Sustainable Independent Brand of the Year

The winner shall be announced on the 22nd of September. Drapers Editor Jill Geoghegan said, “The independent sector is the lifeblood of the fashion industry in the UK and Ireland. We received a huge number of entries for the Drapers Independent Awards 2022, reflecting the innovation and resilience of the businesses involved.”

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