You might have noticed in the news over the weekend that a shoe factory collapsed in China. Or you might not have. State media reports suggested 14 people died and about 33 were injured. If you didn't notice this story in the news it's probably because either a) the death toll wasn't really high enough to make the bulletin or b) the western world prefers to stay in the dark about conditions in factories on the other side of the world where there's a fairly high chance the shoes you are wearing today were manufactured.
Cynical, maybe. Truthful though? Unfortunately yes.
The factory collapse happened in the city of Wenling, in Zhejiang province. This is a region that is known internationally for it's footwear industry. The local tourism office claims that one in five pairs of shoes worldwide, originates in Wenling! So yep, chances are, at least one of the dozens of pairs you own was produced in a Wenling factory.
As global citizens, I personally believe we have a responsibility to take notice of these events. Not so we can point our finger, or blame China, or burn our Nikes, but because as consumers, with our combined power, we really do have an opportunity to make a difference!
And it can be really simple. Made in a Free World have a great call to action where they ask consumers to send a letter to invite the shoe companies that we buy from to protect their workers. How great is that! They have the complete set up ready to go so check it out madeinafreeworld.com/action!
If you decide you want to go completely fairtrade - great! If you're after shoes, why don't you check out Nisolo Shoes And of course, we have plenty of great, ethically sourced products from around the world in our online store.
But even if you're not up for a complete change in your buying habits, we are all capable of writing a letter right?!