I spent the day before I left calling the corporations that made my clothes. So far only Levi’s have responded.
They gave me names of who to contact in Cambodia and where to reach them.
I think it could be a struggle to see the production floor at most of the factories I will be visiting, but I’m liking my chances at Levi’s. I’ll find out for sure in about 1 month.
After browsing this site it sure looks like they are leading the way in the ethical globalization garment front. From the site:
In the late 1980s, employees at Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&CO.) began to raise concerns about the working conditions of people making our products overseas. This led executives to begin work on a supplier code of conduct that would help to ensure all individuals making our products were being treated with dignity and respect and working in a safe and healthy environment.
In 1991, LS&CO. became the first multinational apparel company to establish a comprehensive ethical code of conduct for our manufacturing and finishing contractors. We called it our Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines and it was comprised of two parts — The Country Assessment Guidelines, and our Business Partner Terms of Engagement.
At the time, many inside and outside the apparel industry were skeptical. In the years that followed, however, most major apparel brands established their own codes of conduct. Multi-stakeholder groups, such as the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), emerged with codes that would be adopted by their member companies. Today, codes of conduct are an apparel industry norm and are increasingly being adopted by companies in other sectors.
Our responsible sourcing program and our approach to working with our suppliers to implement it has come a long way since 1991, but the values that inspired this work haven’t changed.
Good luck with the ‘clothing quest’! You might want to email the folks at http://www.betterfactories.org/, who are doing some interesting work. It’s a project started by the ILO that has now localized.
Cambodia faces cheaper competition, but if it can maintain good labor standards it may hold its own.
Glad to see you’re safely on the ground. Where are you now? Thailand? And where to first?
I’m now in Dhaka Bangladesh and will be for the month or so. I’ll post about it soon.