Lamley Naa Amoako-Atta, West London Socialist Party
Garment workers are underpaid, overworked and mistreated. Bosses at the top reap the benefits, keeping their profit margins low by exploiting those at the bottom.
Fashion accounts for 10% of world carbon emissions, and is the second-most polluting industry. Six billion pairs of trainers are produced annually. Shockingly, 90% of them end up in landfill, which take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
A recent episode of Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ investigated Nike and Adidas’s recycling claims. Adidas says it’s created footwear from plastic found in polluted seas. However, the documentary revealed that the plastic in ‘recycled’ Adidas trainers doesn’t come from the ocean.
One source is tourist resorts in the Maldives. One resort owned the factory producing bottled water for the island, and the plastic came from there!
Nike has an initiative called ‘Grind’, where old trainers are ground down and remade into materials for playgrounds and sports centres. Again, misleading, as the documentary found that most of Grind material comes from industrial waste.
Nike and Adidas are not the only ones misleading their customers. Countless companies are ‘greenwashing’ – deceptive marketing to persuade people the organisation is environmentally friendly.
Brands claim to be sustainable, but are far from it. In that situation, how can consumers buy ethically and responsibly?
The responsibility lies with corporations. However, capitalism is a system based on profit, cutting corners and misleading the public – part and parcel in keeping margins low and profits high. It needs to be replaced with a socialist alternative if we want a truly sustainable world.
- The truth about Nike and Adidas is available on All 4