The Rana Plaza Disaster and the Fight for Ethical Apparel

The Rana Plaza Disaster and the Fight for Ethical Apparel

The Rana Plaza Disaster and the Fight for Ethical Apparel

April 2024, by Ettie Etela

Today marks the tragic anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. On this day in 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, claiming over 1,100 lives and injuring more than 2,500 individuals, mostly poorly paid garment workers. This event spotlighted the dire working conditions and the environmental and social repercussions embedded within the fast fashion industry.

The collapse of Rana Plaza became a symbol of the cost of negligence and the need for systemic change. It prompted intense scrutiny of fast fashion practices, highlighting how a disregard for human life and environmental sustainability was the sad cost we were paying for clothing as consumers. The aftermath led to a global call for transparency, accountability, and a shift towards more ethical and sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

At MM-Eye, the anniversary of Rana Plaza reinforces our commitment to understanding and promoting sustainability through our Say Do Sustainability Study. The latest wave of our study shows a significant change in consumer behaviour – people are increasingly insisting that brands adopt ethical and sustainable practices. There is a growing awareness and concern among consumers about the origins and impacts of the products they purchase.

Consumers want to trust that their purchases are contributing to positive change, not exacerbating existing issues like those witnessed in the Rana Plaza tragedy. They are looking for assurances that the products they buy are made ethically and in ways that consider the well-being of workers and the planet.

Brands have a critical role to play in this new landscape. SDSS highlights the need for brands to be transparent and to adopt sustainable and ethical practices earnestly. It’s not enough to alter a small fraction of operations. Consumers need to see brands making authentic changes and demonstrating that they care.

In the context of our Say Do Sustainability Study Brand Index, the anniversary of Rana Plaza serves as a poignant benchmark to evaluate how well brands are upholding their commitments to social and environmental sustainability. Our analysis highlights a distinct difference in consumer trust between brands such as H&M and Zara. H&M, which actively communicates its sustainability efforts, has managed to garner significant trust among consumers. This trust is supported by their transparent reporting, which includes detailed accounts of their initiatives to minimise environmental impacts and improve social conditions in their supply chains.

In contrast, Zara, despite its public sustainability pledges, struggles with consumer scepticism. For Zara and similar brands, enhancing transparency is key. This involves making commitments to sustainability and backing these claims with concrete evidence and regular updates, demonstrating a genuine commitment to change. Consumers want to support brands that are vocal about their sustainability efforts and proactive in making substantial changes.

At MM-Eye, we are dedicated to helping brands navigate this shift towards sustainability, providing them with the insights needed to make changes that resonate with today’s conscientious consumers. For more insights and to understand how your brand can contribute to this necessary transformation, explore the details of our latest Say Do Sustainability Study on our website and put some time in on the form below to talk to the team at MM-Eye.