The issue of ethics is an important concern in society and covers a wide range of spectrums. Ethical fashion addresses issues of working conditions, fair trade, animal welfare, exploitation and the environment in the fashion industry. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of corporate social responsibility and are making the necessary adjustments to satisfy consumers.
Clothes are beautiful to wear, but their manufacture raises concern in many different ways. Global warming, the dumping of nuclear waste, the extinction of certain species and changes in the ecosystem are being closely monitored and most of the time are attributed to human activities. The fashion industry has its share of blame and opinions vary as to the consequences related to the effect that human activities have on the environment.
Many companies try to reduce costs to increase their profits. One method is to hire cheap labor. They do this by opening industries in countries with low labor costs and sometimes using child labor. From an ethical point of view, such practices are considered unethical. The exploitation of children, most of the time in forced labor conditions in unhygienic places, is highly condemned. The payment of hourly wages that do not reflect the cost of labor per hour in which the products are sold is also considered exploitation.
Many sets are made of cotton. Ethical concerns refer to the dangers posed to the environment by the use of pesticides during the cultivation of cotton. Pesticides are harmful to people and the environment. Pesticides can cause adverse symptoms in people, such as headaches, depression, seizures, or loss of consciousness. It can lead to air, water and soil contamination. Finally, pesticides can cause not only the death of pests but also other animals.
Animal cruelty is often high on the agenda of activists. In the manufacture of many types of clothing, including shoes, belts and other accessories, the skins of different animals are used. For example, the production of fur coats requires the killing of mink, foxes, or other animals whose fur can be used. Most of the time, these animals are killed with very cruel methods. There the numbers are also reduced in the wild. Some animals are on the brink of extinction due to excessive killing.
Many textiles are treated with chemicals to soften and dye them. Such chemicals are harmful to the environment and can also be the cause of skin diseases. Lead, chromium, nickel, and arylamines are just some of the chemicals used in the textile treatment process.
Ethical issues in the fashion industry are the subject of numerous debates. Many companies often respond to public concerns by displaying their corporate social responsibility in various methods. Some are radical for being totally green. Others choose a certain theme that they emphasize to show their responsibility. For example, many companies explicitly make it known that the production process of their goods does not involve child labor or underpaid wages. Whatever the truth of the matter, ethical questions continue to preoccupy governments, activists, and society at large.