Screening potential social impacts of textiles and clothing products
Conference poster, 2015
A number of negative social impacts occur in textile and clothing life cycle due to consumer expectations of
low prices and the competition between companies for market share. Some of the significant social issues
associated with textile and clothing life cycle include low worker wages, gender discrimination, excessive
working hours, child labour and the exposure of local residents to health risks. It is therefore necessary to
assess social impacts throughout textile and clothing life cycle phases if designers and fashion companies
wish to develop sustainable textile and clothing products.
Previous studies have mainly evaluated impacts associated with textile and clothing products by using an
environmental life cycle perspective. There remains a significant need to evaluate the social impacts of
textile and clothing products on different affected stakeholders such as employees, consumers, local
communities, value chain actors and society.
The objective of this study is to identify and evaluate the social hotspots related to textile and clothing
products with a life cycle perspective. A list of 10 social indicators was selected by engaging different
stakeholders. The indicator list covers health and safety, child labour, fair salary, employment security,
equal opportunities and discrimination and respect to human rights, avoiding misleading marketing and
voluntarily promotion of social responsibility by companies. Four clothing products were chosen as the
representative for Swedish fashion consumption. The selected items are a cotton tshirt,
a polyester dress,
a pair of jeans and a bomber jacket.
The negative impacts occurring throughout the life cycle of each of these products on a country and sector
level were evaluated by using the Social Hotspot Database.