24.2 billion(1) pairs of shoes were manufactured in Asia in 2018, 86% of total shoe production. The major companies in the fashion sector base their business models on maximising their own benefit, not concerning themselves with how their products are made. This is only possible through exploiting the people involved and destroying the planet through these companies’ delocalised supply chains.
The major corporations in the fashion industry are responsible for creating a business model based on the violation of fundamental human rights with the sole aim of earning money. On the receiving end of this are the workers, subjected to long working days in dangerous conditions in exchange for a meagre salary. This system of production also has severe consequences for planet Earth.
The majority of footwear-manufacturing Asian countries lack laws regulating the environmental impacts of mass production. This results in serious ecological degradation caused by over-exploitation of resources, emissions of polluting gases and waste generation that is completely uncontrolled.
We founded Flamingos’ Life with a very clear aim: to use our company – where we’re making the entire supply chain fairer and more democratic – to save the planet from ecological crisis. To do this, we moved away from that business model based on the exploitation of land, workers and animals. We decided to manufacture entirely in Spain, in local and ethical businesses.
Our philosophy was born as a stand against the system developed by the fashion industry. We put the resources required to lead the transformation towards a fairer and more sustainable way of life for all living things into the hands of the consumer.
To this end, we moved our entire sneaker production process to Spain and established relationships with local suppliers, reducing our carbon footprint and making our entire supply chain fairer.
Our manufacturing centres are located in Elche (eastern Spain), the very same city where we were born, that has watched us grow and where we now work.
Our factories have a long-standing tradition of over 40 years in the footwear sector. Expert hands work using artisanal methods, taking care of every last detail to manufacture our sneakers.
Our suppliers of fabrics, shoeboxes, natural rubber, eyelets and cork are also located nearby. This helps us to reduce our CO2 emissions while maintaining control of our raw materials and suppliers.
It is crucial to demand that brands implement a radical change in their manufacturing systems. This needs to start by compensating their workers with a living wage that satisfies their basic needs in terms of food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare and transport, giving these people and their families the chance to lead a dignified life in society. In countries such as Bangladesh, the minimum wage established by the government barely constitutes 2.5% of the living wage.(2)
|COUNTRY||MINIMUM MONTHLY SALARY (2)|
18-hour working days are standard for workers in Asian countries. Workers have no alternative if they want to meet the excessive production targets they are set in order to receive the daily wage. Many of these workers are women who also bear the responsibility of looking after their homes and families. This cumulative stress leads to exhaustion and many end up developing stress-related illnesses.
|COUNTRY||HOURS WORKED PER WEEK|
|Bangladesh||60 hours (3)|
|India||60 hours (4)|
|Vietnam||54 hours (5)|
|Spain||40 hours (6)|
The right to take days of holiday is unimaginable for footwear industry employees in Asian countries. The fear of being fired if they were to make any minor claim to their working rights is constant. So much so that the majority agree to work without registering with the social security system, denying them access to healthcare, unemployment benefits, a pension and other fundamental rights.
|COUNTRY||DAYS OF HOLIDAY PER YEAR|
|Malaysia||10 days (7)|
|Vietnam||12 days (8)|
|Bangladesh||13 days (9)|
|Spain||22 days (8)|
The tables above show that working conditions in “fast fashion” companies alarmingly precarious and directly affect workers’ health.
Workers, who are in some cases children, spend hours exposed to chemical substances; those used to manufacture leather products are particularly toxic. They do this without any form of protection and in workplaces without any ventilation. This weakens their immune system and the majority of workers eventually develop serious respiratory issues.
This violation of people’s fundamental human rights became evident following the Rana Plaza tragedy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which 1138 workers in the “fast fashion” industry lost their lives when the building where they were working collapsed.(10)
In our drive for total transparency, we have developed a project in collaboration with the sustainable fashion consultancy BCOME. Thanks to this study, we can confirm that over 100 people contribute to all the processes required to create one of our sneaker designs. All of them do so earning a living wage, in safe working conditions, without putting their health at risk and with the right to days off work.
1. The World Footwear 2019 Yearbook - 2. Wage Indicator - 3.Público - 4.Cope
5. "Sitting on pins and needles" Anti Slavery International - 6. Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social
7. Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación - 8. Forbes
9. "Deshaciendo la madeja. Testimonios sobre la explotación laboral en el sector textil"
10. Clean Clothes Campaign
1. The World Footwear 2019 Yearbook
2. Wage Indicator
5. "Sitting on pins and needles" Anti Slavery International
6. Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social
7. Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación
9. "Desaciendo la madeja. Testimonios sobre la explotación laboral en el sector textil"
10. Clean Clothes Campaign