Few months ago, the environmental working group at my host organization, PYXERA Global organized the annual ”Clothing Swap”, an event to raise awareness about the SDGs in general as well as to highlights the impacts of the textile industry.

Here is the summary of my presentation about the Travels of Tshirts in the global socio-economic market.



Place: USA, China, India
The best cotton is grown in the USA.

Human rights and environmental implications:
Work abuse, illegal immigration: because there is a great need of human labor in little time.
Environmental degradation: the use of chemical fertilizers more every year since the lands are exhausted. Also the use of heavy machinery to replace human labor
– GMOs  (Monsanto police): GMOs are good business because they can provide reliable and risk free harvest every year. However, it is illegal to save seeds for next year.

Place: South East Asia / Latin America

the process: Cotton > Spinning > laid down > straightened > pulled > stretched > twisted > knitting > washed > dyed > manufactured
Human rights and environmental  implications:
-Work abuse:
Working conditions are abusive, dangerous and low income
corruption and state-level mismanagement leading to more accidents and deaths
-Environmental degradation:
as a result to trash dumping in forests and rivers.



Place: World (North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East)
Clothes are shipped and sold internationally by all means of transportation (boats, planes, trucks, trains…etc)

-Trafficking and corruption: Tshirts are labeled as other products to avoid import taxes and bans
-Carbon Footprint: HUGE ! (most carbon calculators don’t take into account international trade and logistics)



STEP 4 : Life After Donations

Place: North America, Europe

Companies buy clothes from charities, because charities need money and not clothes to redistribute, these companies sort clothes and re-sell them in second hand shops around the world.

-Where did the donation go ?
-Low wages:
since it is a low paid job, workers are paid a low wage making them unable to develop economically.


STEP 5 : The After Life

Place: Africa, Latin America

Clothes at this stage are re-sorted; good quality will be used and bad quality will be transformed into towels, mops, rugs and bean bags !



Clothes are dumped with other types of trash and/or get burned.
Yes, needless to say, we are talking pollution, poverty, life hazards…




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