Exposing the dark side of chinese fast fashion

Infernal shifts, piece work, with staff forced to sleep on the floor to produce clothing items that are too often thrown away after just a few uses: yet another video that shows what's behind fast fashion

A video recently shared by @juju_the_mystic and reposted by @ecotalkfrance has once again shed light on the dire working conditions in Chinese fast fashion factories, particularly those supplying the giant Temu.

The plight of factory workers

Workers in these factories often endure grueling 14-hour shifts, earning wages so low they cannot support a decent standard of living. Living conditions are equally appalling, with many forced to sleep on the factory floors. This situation can be described as modern-day slavery, where workers’ rights are systematically violated to meet the insatiable demands of the fashion market.

These factories produce an astounding number of garments, with Temu introducing up to 10,000 new designs daily on its website. This massive production scale leads to another significant issue: waste management. Unsold garments are often burned, contributing significantly to pollution.

Environmental impact

Moreover, the purchased garments have a very short lifespan, often worn only seven times before being discarded. The environmental impact of this production is devastating. Chinese fashion factories emit over 22,000 tons of CO2 daily, exacerbating climate change. This significant contribution to pollution is just part of the problem, as the consumption of natural resources for textile production is unsustainable.

Despite the scandals and growing criticism, the Chinese fashion industry continues to thrive. In 2022, China exported 3.3 billion garments to France, indicating that the demand for cheap fashion remains high. This dynamic suggests there is still much work to be done to raise consumer awareness and promote more sustainable consumption practices.

The reality of fashion factories in China represents a severe ethical and environmental problem. A radical change in how we consume fashion is necessary, supporting more ethical and sustainable production and consumption practices. Only then can we hope to mitigate the devastating impact of this industry on our planet and the lives of the people who work in it.

Temu’s response

Following the publication of our article, Temu contacted us with the following statement:

Temu asserts that the warehouse shown in the video is not affiliated with their company, highlighting that incorrect information is circulating online. They request that the video be removed.

Regarding labor exploitation policies, Temu commits to promoting ethical labor practices. Temu’s Third Party Code of Conduct categorically prohibits any form of forced, child, or penal labor. It also requires full compliance with all local labor laws, including those related to wages, working hours, voluntary employment, freedom of association, and the right to collective bargaining.

Unconditional adherence to these standards is an absolute priority for Temu, which reserves the right to terminate any relationship with any company violating the Code of Conduct or labor laws. Temu’s standards and practices align with those of major U.S. e-commerce platforms, including Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Therefore, any accusations of violating ethical labor practices are entirely unfounded.

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