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I recently got a call from the Natural Resources Defense Council’s onEarth magazine to take on an interesting assignment that I thought I would share with you here today on the blog.
Have you ever wondered where your jeans come from? If you’ve followed my recent work, I hope you might of least thought about where your clothing in general has come from. You might remember my recent story from India, The Toxic Price of Leather, which highlighted the tragic situation playing out in the city of Kanpur which produces the largest amounts of leather in the country. Waste water from leather treatment is dumped untreated into local waterways and onto farmland causing terrible environmental damage and health problems in local people.
Having seen some of the worst the clothing industry could offer in developing Asia, I was curious to find out there was one factory in Vietnam that was apparently going in the other direction, consciously developing an eco-friendly approach to clothing production. That company was Sai-Tex, located just outside Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The company primarily produces jeans which are distributed to outlets throughout Europe and North America. I spent two days at the factory documenting the production of jeans and the conditions of the workers. I was impressed by the set-up during my time there.
As you can see from the images, the facilities are very modern and the main work areas are lit by natural light, using large conveyor belts to naturally dry the jeans above the heads of the workers. Protective clothing and masks are available to workers and production is monitored by state of the art computers that keep track of operations. Solar panels on the roofs of the factories gather energy and water collection ponds trap rainwater for use in the factory.
Overall, it was very encouraging to see clothing production being done in this way. With a little more investment, better methods of protecting workers and the environment were clearly being implemented. The reality is that the demand for clothing, especially those made in the developing world where production is cheaper, will not diminish anytime soon. Companies that are making an effort to produce these goods in a more sustainable way should be highlighted which is why I wanted to share this work with you today.
To learn more, read onEarth’s full in-depth story in their article: MADE IN VIETNAM