Gladys Tang is a Senior Sustainability Manager for Tchibo Merchandising Hong Kong. Tchibo is a German brand selling a wide variety of products across Europe.
In this episode, part one of our conversation, we start with Gladys’s entry point into the world of sustainability as a social compliance auditor. She shares why her experience left her feeling that conventional approaches to sustainability were inadequate, and ultimately, led her to Tchibo.
Why does she think the Tchibo brand has been so willing to acknowledge the short comings of social audits? Why is dialogue the key to a more sustainable future? And what would it take for more brands to follow in its footsteps?
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Our episodes this week are thanks to our collaboration with the GIZ FABRIC. The FABRIC project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and supports the Asian textile industry in its transformation towards fair production for people and the environment.
Gladys was a speaker on the eighth edition of GIZ FABRIC’s online seminar series called “Getting Through the Crisis Together: Asian Dialogues on Sustainability in the Textile and Garment Industry.”
Read Kim’s article: Women Sewing for Fabletics Face Gender-Based Violence: Social Compliance Audits Still Aren’t Working
We’ve also been loving the collaboration between Sourcing Journal and the New Conversations Project. Back in December 2020 they put forward a compelling piece arguing that social compliance audits have failed to deliver for workers. The piece relied on research that looked at over 40,000 factory labor audits over 12 countries and 12 industries. The number of violations found in labor audits “was almost unchanged between 2011 and 2018 across all countries and industries.”
Then, in early 2021, they put forward several theories as to why social compliance audits have failed to deliver for workers. This was followed up by a piece in April 2021 by a piece that goes into more details on the opacity theory.
Photo by Adam Borkowski