The fashion industry employs an estimated 60 million garment workers globally, 80% of which are women, according to the ILO. Historically they have been exposed to occupational hazards ranging from exposure to dangerous work conditions to discrimination. Crystal International, a global leader in the apparel manufacturing industry and Associate Partner of Global Fashion Agenda, continuously invest in the well-being of their workers and community.
Crystal International’s Sustainability Report 2018 deep-dived into the women empowerment strategies they employ. In addition, 2018 was the first year in which Crystal International incorporated social indicators in their Third Global 5-year Sustainability Targets to make clear their emphasis on developing talent, as well as giving back to the local communities in which they operate. The Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 report found that improving work conditions, investing in skill building at manufacturers and promoting topics such as health, safety, financial inclusion, diversity and gender equality can increase the EBIT margin by up to 1-2 percentage points by 2030, as compared to the 2015 baseline.
“As an employer, we truly believe that our people are the most valuable asset of our Company and since over two thirds of our global employees are female, women empowerment is one of our key foci.”
Catherine Chiu, General Manager, Corporate Quality and Sustainability at Crystal International
Key take-aways from Crystal International’s 2018 Sustainability Report focused on the empowerment of women:
• In 2018, the Group expanded the CARE Programme to include more factories. The programme helps women develop financial literacy as well as soft skills such as communication techniques to enhance their own self-reliance and to provide them with the tools to shape their future.
• Collaborating with International Labour Organization and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, Crystal International Group launched a Mothers@Work Programme, aiming to support maternity rights. The refurbished childcare centre provides a safe space for women workers to look after our babies and for breast-feeding.
• More than 30,000 Crystal female workers have joined HERproject globally, an empowerment programme that impacts on health, financial inclusion, and gender equality.
• Crystal International Group collaborated with the Bangladesh Labour Ministry and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and nominated qualified children of their employees, who are recognised for their outstanding results in the Secondary School Certificate examination, for scholarship’s for further education.
• In 2012 Crystal International Group introduced the P.A.C.E programme in their China Factory. The programme, which was initiated by Gap Inc., has now been extended to the Group’s Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka factories, where more than 10,000 women workers have joined. The P.A.C.E programme provides training on topics such as communication, problem solving and decision making and time and stress management to help propel women workers to meet their full potential.
• The Crystal International Group HR department conducted the “Literacy Programme for frontline workers” today, which was jointly organised with the local ministry and the UNESCO in Cambodia. One of the outstanding graduates from the Literacy Programme, who started off as a sewing worker was promoted to the position of technical advisor within six months after attending classes.
With around 20 production facilities spanning across five countries, namely Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Crystal International serves a select group of leading global brands, through a highly differentiated “Co-creation” business model. The Group maintains a keen focus on sustainability and was ranked 17 out of 50 in the Fortune business magazine “Change the World” list in 2016. The list recognises companies across the world that have made significant social and environmental contributions.