Change your shoes
New campaign tackles working conditions in the shoe industry
18 human rights, workers’ rights and environmental organizations across Europe, India, and China have launched ‘Change Your Shoes’, a new global campaign aimed to address the systemic human rights abuses plaguing the shoe industry.
Specifically, the campaign is calling for shoe workers to be paid a living wage and for companies who sell shoes in the EU to be forced to publish all information on their supply chain, from the factory to shop floor, including the use of toxic chemicals and working conditions.
Poverty wages are endemic, with approximately 2% of the price of a pair of shoes being paid to the workers who made them. Furthermore, most leather tanning poses significant risks to both workers’ health and the environment as a result of the use of Chrome III-salts.
Even labelling cannot guarantee where your shoes were made or the conditions. Shoes with labels stating ‘made in Italy’ may have leather uppers made in countries such as India and Bangladesh, often by homeworkers earning just 10 pence per shoe.
87% of global footwear production occurs in Asia. China is by far the largest production country with approximately 14.6 billion pairs of shoes produced in 2014, followed by India, Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Get the app
The campaign has launched the Change Your Shoes app, which is free and takes just seconds to download. The app informs you about the shoe industry, sets out the demands for change and allows you to record your steps in support of the petition – donating them for the virtual march to Brussels.
The Change Your Shoes app can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple Store on your smart phone.
See our shopping guide to Shoes and Trainers which compares brands on their ethical records.