Distributor:  Global Environmental Justice
Length:  92 minutes
Date:  2015
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10 - 12, College, Adults
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available

The True Cost

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Groundbreaking investigation of fast fashion reveals that while the price of clothing has been decreasing for decades the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically.

The True Cost

This is a story about clothing. It's about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. THE TRUE COST is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?

Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world's leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, Vandana Shiva and Richard Wolff, THE TRUE COST is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.

No classroom resources available.

‘The True Cost’ – English Transcript



[00:00:16:000]  ♪ (somber music) ♪


[00:00:43:090]  ♪ (music continues) ♪


[00:00:57:060]  ♪ (percussive music) ♪


[00:01:12:110]  (narrator) This is a story about clothing.


[00:01:14:200]  It's about the clothes we wear,


[00:01:17:010]  the people who make these clothes,


[00:01:19:010]  and the impact that it's having on our world.


[00:01:24:190]  It's a story about greed and fear,


[00:01:27:140]  power and poverty.


[00:01:30:110]  It's complex, as it extends all the way around the world.


[00:01:34:070]  But it's also simple,


[00:01:35:230]  revealing just how connected we are to the many hearts and hands


[00:01:39:120]  behind our clothes.


[00:01:46:120]  I came into this story with no background in fashion at all,


[00:01:49:160]  beginning with nothing more than a few simple questions.


[00:01:52:210]  What I've discovered,


[00:01:54:080]  has forever changed the way I think about the things I wear,


[00:01:57:140]  and my hope is that it might just do the same for you.


[00:02:14:210]  (narrator) Maybe just start and say your name


[00:02:17:060]  and talk about how this kind of began.


[00:02:20:060]  My name is Lucy Siegle.


[00:02:21:180]  I am a journalist and broadcaster based in the UK,


[00:02:25:070]  and I have been obsessed, consumed


[00:02:29:010]  with the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry


[00:02:33:170]  for about a decade.


[00:02:35:190]  (woman, Italian accent) Well, I love everything about clothes.


[00:02:38:060]  I love the poetry, I love the fabric,


[00:02:41:040]  I love the colors, I love the textures,


[00:02:43:060]  I love the way that they make you feel.


[00:02:45:180]  They are our chosen skin.


[00:02:49:010]  Well I had the classic massive closet,


[00:02:53:110]  clothes everywhere,


[00:02:55:020]  bags constantly coming into my house,


[00:02:58:020]  every day, every other day with some other item in


[00:03:00:180]  and never had anything to wear.


[00:03:02:050]  I could never put together a coherent outfit.


[00:03:08:140]  (Orsola de Castro) We communicate who we are


[00:03:10:070]  to a certain extent through clothing.


[00:03:12:040]  And this is, this is again, throughout history.


[00:03:14:220]  You have the trends at court,


[00:03:16:230]  and Marie Antoinette making these huge hats.


[00:03:20:060]  It's always been our personal communication in many ways.


[00:03:23:240]  That's what interests me,


[00:03:26:000]  that it is fundamentally a part of what we wish to communicate


[00:03:30:170]  about ourselves.


[00:03:38:050]  (Lucy) We used to have a system, a fashion system


[00:03:40:170]  where people would go to the shows,


[00:03:42:210]  so they would do spring, summer, autumn, winter,


[00:03:45:130]  and those kind of ran like clockwork for very many years.


[00:03:48:110]  "Okay, rip that up, throw it out the window."


[00:03:50:230]  That has absolutely nothing to do with the fashion industry today.


[00:03:54:160]  It has been re-invented.


[00:03:57:020]  (Orsola) The shift is moving ruthlessly


[00:04:01:060]  towards a way of producing


[00:04:04:190]  which only really looks after


[00:04:09:150]  big business interest.


[00:04:12:040]  ♪ (patriotic music) ♪


[00:04:13:080]  (narrator) Growing up, I never gave much thought


[00:04:15:060]  to anything other than the price of the clothes that I bought,


[00:04:18:010]  usually making choices based on the style or a good deal.


[00:04:22:000]  Looking back, I learned that for a long time


[00:04:24:060]  most of our clothing was actually made right here in America.


[00:04:27:140]  As recently as the 1960s, we were still making 95% of our clothes.


[00:04:32:100]  Today, we only make about 3%


[00:04:34:220]  and the other 97% is outsourced


[00:04:36:230]  to developing countries around the world.


[00:04:44:160]  (man) I've been in the business for over nine years now.


[00:04:47:120]  In terms of scale, we've got about 25,000 people


[00:04:50:010]  just on garment manufacturing side.


[00:04:51:240]  We produce one in six dress-shirts sold in the US.


[00:04:57:180]  If you actually go to a store,


[00:04:59:100]  and you benchmark the price of a garment over the last 20 years,


[00:05:03:180]  you will find that there's actually a deflation of the product,


[00:05:06:230]  i.e., the price has gone down over time.


[00:05:08:230]  Now, has our cost gone down? Absolutely not.


[00:05:11:180]  Our cost has gone up.


[00:05:14:050]  (narrator) More production we've outsourced,


[00:05:16:010]  the cheaper prices have become on the clothing we buy.


[00:05:18:200]  making way for a whole new model, known as "Fast Fashion,"


[00:05:22:140]  almost overnight, transforming the way clothing is bought and sold.


[00:05:27:070]  (female reporter) The newest H&M store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan


[00:05:30:060]  is the company's largest ever,


[00:05:32:000]  and just one of many new stores it's planning around the country.


[00:05:35:010]  (male reporter) It's all part of a high street revolution,


[00:05:37:190]  Fast Fashion.


[00:05:38:190]  And instead of two seasons a year,


[00:05:40:090]  we practically have 52 seasons a year.


[00:05:43:010]  So we have something new coming in every week.


[00:05:45:120]  And Fast Fashion has created this,


[00:05:48:020]  so that it can essentially shift more products.


[00:05:50:240]  ♪ (upbeat music) ♪


[00:05:59:220]  (women shouting) We love TOPSHOP!


[00:06:02:050]  (reporter) You can get this fringe metallic skirt $39 at Joe Fresh,


[00:06:05:190]  a brand new store in town.


[00:06:07:050]  With price tags that might look a little bit more appealing


[00:06:09:150]  to budget-conscious shoppers.


[00:06:11:030]  (reporter) American consumers,


[00:06:12:070]  they really grasped the fashion part of H&M


[00:06:15:120]  and we know from before that American consumers


[00:06:17:210]  are very value-oriented.


[00:06:19:070]  If you match these two together, with fashion and value,


[00:06:22:010]  then you have a recipe.


[00:06:23:060]  (female reporter) One Japanese clothing retailer is making


[00:06:25:240]  a fast and furious mark here in the US.


[00:06:29:000]  The price has dropped.


[00:06:30:160]  The way of making that product has completely, completely changed.


[00:06:35:000]  And you have to ask yourself at some point,


[00:06:37:070]  "Where does it end?"


[00:06:38:190]  The global marketplace, is some place


[00:06:40:230]  where we export work to have happen


[00:06:43:150]  in whatever conditions we want,


[00:06:45:190]  and then the products come back to me,


[00:06:47:110]  cheap enough to throw away without thinking about it.


[00:06:53:080]  (John Hilary) Globalized production basically means


[00:06:55:210]  that all of the making of goods


[00:06:57:160]  has been outsourced to low cost economies,


[00:07:00:230]  particularly where wages are very low, and kept low.


[00:07:04:150]  And what that means is that those at the top of the value chain,


[00:07:08:140]  they get to choose where the products are being made,


[00:07:11:140]  and they get to switch if, for example, one factory says,


[00:07:15:050]  "We can't make it that cheap anymore."


[00:07:17:040]  The brand will say, "Well, we're not going to come to you anymore.


[00:07:19:190]  We're going to switch to another place which is cheaper."


[00:07:31:050]  (man, Bengali accent) In the West, they're using "everyday low price."


[00:07:34:140]  So every day, they're hampering me


[00:07:36:180]  and I'm hampering my workers, this is how it is.


[00:07:39:150]  They are competing, the stores are competing in there.


[00:07:41:180]  When the stores are coming to us for an order and negotiating,


[00:07:45:110]  they're telling us, "Look, that particular store


[00:07:47:190]  is selling this shirt for $5,


[00:07:50:180]  so I need to sell it at $4.


[00:07:53:120]  So you better squeeze your price."


[00:07:55:040]  So we are squeezing.


[00:07:56:060]  Then another store is comes in saying,


[00:07:57:190]  "Hey, they're selling it at $4?


[00:07:59:240]  So the target price is $3; If you can make that $3,


[00:08:02:130]  you're getting business, otherwise you are not getting."


[00:08:05:030]  Because we want that business so badly,


[00:08:07:170]  and we don't have other options, okay.


[00:08:10:160]  Every time we are trying to survive, actually.


[00:08:14:090]  (Roger Lee) Ultimately, something's going to give.


[00:08:16:090]  Either the price of the product has to go up


[00:08:18:150]  or manufacturers have to shut down,


[00:08:22:010]  or cut corners to make it work.


[00:08:24:130]  (narrator) Cutting corners and disregarding safety measures


[00:08:26:230]  had become an accepted part of doing business in this new model,


[00:08:30:060]  until an early morning in April,


[00:08:32:010]  when an event, just outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh


[00:08:34:140]  brought a hidden side of fashion to front page news.


[00:08:37:110]  (reporter) State media in Bangladesh say


[00:08:39:050]  an eight-story building has collapsed near the capital of Dhaka,


[00:08:43:050]  killing more than 70 people.


[00:08:45:020]  (sounds of chaos)


[00:08:51:070]  (woman crying and speaking in Bengali language)


[00:08:56:210]  Rescue workers are racing against time,


[00:08:59:140]  searching through the rubble, trying to find


[00:09:02:040]  as many survivors as they can.


[00:09:04:140]  (male reporter) Hundreds are dead,


[00:09:05:230]  hundreds more might still be buried alive,


[00:09:08:050]  after officials in Bangladesh say


[00:09:09:200]  factory owners ignored an order to evacuate.


[00:09:12:200]  (male reporter) Some 400 dead, hundreds still believed to be missing.


[00:09:17:020]  Garment workers in Bangladesh paying the price for cheap clothing.


[00:09:21:100]  (female reporter) A huge crowd has gathered near the building site,


[00:09:24:070]  many of them family members looking for loved ones,


[00:09:27:150]  and they say they can still hear people screaming


[00:09:30:180]  from underneath the rubble, crying out for help.


[00:09:34:000]  Many are simply losing hope.


[00:09:38:050]  From where I was working


[00:09:40:050]  I moved close to the stairs.


[00:09:44:040]  As I reached them


[00:09:46:000]  the buildling collapsed and both my legs got trapped.


[00:09:50:200]  The side walls fell on my legs.


[00:09:55:170]  I realized that I could not get my legs out, I gave up.


[00:10:01:030]  Hundreds of thoughts came into my mind.


[00:10:06:200]  I couldn't even cry.


[00:10:11:150]  (Lucy) Anybody who, like me,


[00:10:14:150]  had written about problems in the supply chain,


[00:10:18:160]  particularly for Fast Fashion,


[00:10:20:150]  and tried to articulate


[00:10:22:200]  how the risk was being carried


[00:10:26:130]  by those who are most vulnerable and the worst paid.


[00:10:31:090]  You try to articulate that, but you could never have envisaged


[00:10:34:180]  that there would be such a catastrophic illustration


[00:10:37:230]  of what you were trying to say.


[00:10:40:060]  And Rana Plaza to me was like some horror story.


[00:10:44:220]  (female reporter) Two weeks after the catastrophe,


[00:10:46:210]  and the death toll now stands at a staggering 931,


[00:10:51:070]  making it the worst garment-industry disaster in history.


[00:10:55:040]  I think one of the most profoundly impressing things


[00:10:59:090]  about the Rana Plaza disaster was that news


[00:11:03:090]  that the workers had already pointed out to the management


[00:11:06:220]  the cracks in the building.


[00:11:08:230]  They'd already pointed out


[00:11:10:110]  that the building was structurally unsafe,


[00:11:13:090]  and yet they'd been forced back in.


[00:11:15:090]  (female reporter) Many survivors are asking


[00:11:17:010]  how they could have been forced to return to work


[00:11:19:130]  when management already was aware of the cracks in the building,


[00:11:23:020]  and workers' concerns on the very day of the collapse.


[00:11:26:080]  A lot of clothes in American stores are made in Bangladesh


[00:11:30:010]  by workers who earn about $2 a day.


[00:11:33:030]  Last month there, a garment factory collapsed,


[00:11:36:040]  killing more than 1,000,


[00:11:38:090]  and a few months before that, a factory fire killed more than 100.


[00:11:43:200]  (female reporter) And as bodies are being pulled out of the rubble,


[00:11:46:120]  another factory in Bangladesh caught fire early this morning,


[00:11:49:120]  killing eight more people.


[00:11:52:000]  (narrator) As story after story of clothing factory disasters


[00:11:54:120]  kept filling the news,


[00:11:55:190]  it was now the case that three of the four worst tragedies


[00:11:59:000]  in the history of fashion had all happened in the last year.


[00:12:03:080]  As the death toll rose, so did the profits generated.


[00:12:06:120]  The year following the disaster at Rana Plaza,


[00:12:08:210]  was the industry's most profitable of all time.


[00:12:12:100]  The global fashion industry


[00:12:13:190]  is now an almost three trillion dollar annual industry.


[00:12:17:060]  (male reporter) Bangladesh is now the second largest


[00:12:19:090]  apparel exporter, after China.


[00:12:22:010]  How? Well, unlike some of its competitors,


[00:12:24:210]  Bangladeshi manufacturing remains dirt cheap,


[00:12:28:010]  and unions have limited power.


[00:12:30:120]  The country cornered the absolute bottom of the value chain.


[00:12:35:130]  Those 1000 poor girls, lost their lives


[00:12:40:010]  because everybody didn't bother, didn't give a damn shit.


[00:12:45:070]  They just wanted the cheap price and the good profit.


[00:12:48:060]  It shouldn't be like that.


[00:12:49:180]  Everybody should take the responsibility for those kids.


[00:12:58:010]  That's how it is.


[00:13:00:230]  There might be more coming.


[00:13:02:120]  Sorry, but it's not only the price pressure,


[00:13:06:210]  it is something...


[00:13:08:050]  ignoring other people's lives.


[00:13:10:020]  It's not... it shouldn't... it's not right!


[00:13:13:090]  It's the 21st century!


[00:13:15:140]  It's a global world we are living in


[00:13:17:060]  and we just ignore other people's lives?


[00:13:20:050]  How come?


[00:13:21:100]  This enormous, rapacious industry


[00:13:25:120]  that is generating so much profit


[00:13:27:230]  for a handful of people,


[00:13:30:050]  why is it that it is unable


[00:13:32:190]  to support millions of its workers properly?


[00:13:36:120]  Why is it that it is not able to guarantee their safety?


[00:13:40:190]  We're talking about essential human rights.


[00:13:42:210]  Why is it unable to guarantee that


[00:13:44:230]  whilst generating these tremendous profits?


[00:13:48:020]  Is it because it doesn't work properly?


[00:13:50:040]  That is my question.


[00:13:53:070]  (narrator) Lucy's question sounds like the obvious one.


[00:13:55:150]  But instead of answering it, everywhere I looked, I found people


[00:13:58:160]  who were constantly justifying the cost


[00:14:00:230]  because of the economic benefits being generated.


[00:14:03:170]  So this low-wage manufacturing, or so called “sweatshops”,


[00:14:07:220]  they’re not just the least bad option workers have today,


[00:14:10:180]  they’re part of a process that raises living standards


[00:14:13:220]  and leads to higher wages and better working conditions over time.


[00:14:17:110]  Your proximate causes of development are physical capital, technology


[00:14:22:080]  and human capital or skills of the workers.


[00:14:24:100]  When sweatshops come to these countries,


[00:14:26:010]  they bring all three of those to these workers


[00:14:28:180]  and start getting that process going.


[00:14:31:010]  Is it possible that sweatshops are actually good?


[00:14:34:130]  Yes, horrible, awful sweatshops.


[00:14:36:140]  The word itself “sweatshop,”


[00:14:38:090]  it evokes terrible images of poor people and children,


[00:14:41:100]  suffering in third world countries, slaving away in awful conditions


[00:14:45:060]  to make products for us selfish Americans.


[00:14:48:060]  And thank you. What?


[00:14:50:060]  Does it bother me that people are working in a factory,


[00:14:54:050]  making clothes for Americans,


[00:14:57:210]  or for Europeans?


[00:14:59:240]  or that they're...that’s how they’re spending their lives?


[00:15:03:200]  Is that what you’re kind of asking me?


[00:15:05:190]  (narrator) Yeah, sure.


[00:15:09:060]  No. I mean, they’re doing a job.


[00:15:13:040]  There are a lot worse things that they can be doing.


[00:15:15:120]  It is live television, and I will ask you:


[00:15:17:160]  define sweatshops.


[00:15:19:030]  I think we have to be very clear


[00:15:20:110]  what we’re talking about from the outset.


[00:15:22:060]  So we’re talking about places with very poor working conditions


[00:15:25:070]  as us normal Americans would experience it,


[00:15:27:180]  very low wages by our standard, maybe children working places


[00:15:31:060]  that might not obey local labor laws,


[00:15:33:040]  but there are key characteristics of the type of the ones


[00:15:35:120]  I want to talk to you about tonight, Kennedy,


[00:15:37:090]  and that’s they're places where people choose to work,


[00:15:40:050]  admittedly from a bad set of other options.


[00:15:43:040]  Well I mean there’s nothing intrinsically dangerous


[00:15:45:070]  with sewing clothes.


[00:15:46:190]  (chuckling) So we’re kind of starting out


[00:15:48:190]  with a relatively safe industry.


[00:15:52:060]  It’s not like coal mining, or natural gas mining,


[00:15:55:070]  or a lot of things that you could-- that are much more dangerous.


[00:15:58:180]  So sweatshop jobs look like horrible working conditions and wages


[00:16:03:000]  to anybody in the West who’s wealthy enough


[00:16:05:110]  to own a TV and watch your video.


[00:16:08:020]  But we have to keep in mind that the alternatives available


[00:16:10:210]  for these workers aren’t our own alternatives,


[00:16:13:050]  they’re much worse than our alternatives,


[00:16:15:080]  and they’re usually much worse


[00:16:16:190]  than the factory job that the worker has.


[00:16:19:180]  (narrator) Low wages, unsafe conditions, and factory disasters


[00:16:23:190]  are all excused because of the needed jobs they create


[00:16:26:110]  for people with no alternatives.


[00:16:29:030]  This story has become the narrative,


[00:16:31:060]  used to explain the way the fashion industry now operates


[00:16:34:060]  all over the world.


[00:16:35:160]  (narrator) But there are those who believe


[00:16:37:090]  that there must be a better way


[00:16:39:030]  of making and selling clothing


[00:16:40:140]  that does generate economic growth,


[00:16:42:160]  but without taking such an enormous toll.


[00:16:45:140]  (woman) So we don’t know yet


[00:16:47:210]  how long this embroidery is taking.


[00:16:49:190]  Do you think you can ask Santo to just roughly...


[00:16:53:000]  how long that whole panel is taking?


[00:16:55:120]  Because I guess we’ll see it later on the FAB press breakdown,


[00:16:57:240]  but it will be great to know, wouldn’t it?


[00:16:59:230]  So I’m Safia Minney, I’m founder and CEO of People Tree,


[00:17:04:010]  and People Tree is a Fair Trade fashion brand


[00:17:06:160]  that started over 20 years ago in Japan.


[00:17:09:200]  You were worried that we had a bit too much navy.


[00:17:11:220]  What are you feeling now?


[00:17:12:220]  Because we did put more black in to SS14


[00:17:15:060]  and it has worked really, really well


[00:17:17:140]  with Orla's designer collaboration.


[00:17:21:210]  Have we got enough black prints in the collection?


[00:17:25:030]  Well we've lost that abstract dust print, this one here,


[00:17:30:000]  in the black, but I think this pink, we really---


[00:17:33:050]  I think it's one of those prints


[00:17:34:120]  that everyone's a bit nervous of but actually will do well.


[00:17:38:120]  (Safia) I think most fashion brands


[00:17:40:140]  start with a concept of a collection or a look.


[00:17:45:010]  They don't tend to think


[00:17:48:200]  who is going to make the product?


[00:17:50:060]  and how can I ensure that the producers,


[00:17:54:090]  or suppliers are going to eat?


[00:17:58:040]  So what we're trying to do at People Tree


[00:18:00:010]  is really start with the skills that we have


[00:18:03:040]  at each producer group, and then design the collection up,


[00:18:06:120]  whilst also looking at the integrity of the collection


[00:18:09:140]  in its aesthetic.


[00:18:12:020]  I worked originally with freelance designers


[00:18:15:000]  and went into Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India, Nepal, the Philippines,


[00:18:19:050]  and bit by bit, we put together an amazing network


[00:18:23:010]  of like-minded Fair Trade organizations


[00:18:26:060]  that put women's development,


[00:18:29:040]  the workers' social development and environment


[00:18:31:150]  absolutely essential to everything they do.


[00:18:39:180]  (Safia) One...two...three


[00:18:41:120]  Happy World Fair Trade Day!


[00:18:44:230]  (people cheering)


[00:18:48:220]  (in Japanese) Today is the 15th anniversary


[00:18:53:070]  of World Fair Trade


[00:18:55:150]  We organize this kind of event


[00:18:59:100]  in over 60 countries


[00:19:01:230]  as a Fair Trade movement,


[00:19:05:060]  and 10 to 60 organizations


[00:19:07:200]  per country are involved in it.


[00:19:11:010]  Today, just like what we are doing here,


[00:19:15:020]  fashion shows and seminars are being held


[00:19:19:120]  in over 3,000 places all over the world.


[00:19:24:120]  ♪ (classical music) ♪


[00:19:38:040]  (clapping)


[00:19:51:070]  Good job! It was so... really, really great!


[00:20:00:090]  (people conversing in Japanese)


[00:20:04:220]  (in Japanese) Could you turn your body to me a bit more?


[00:20:11:120]  That's beautiful.


[00:20:13:010]  (Safia) Fair Trade is a citizen's response


[00:20:15:140]  to correcting the social injustice


[00:20:17:120]  in a international trading system that is largely dysfunctional,


[00:20:21:010]  where workers and farmers


[00:20:24:010]  are not paid a living wage,


[00:20:26:200]  and where the environment is not considered at all


[00:20:30:060]  to make the products that we buy every day.


[00:20:41:210]  (water splashing)


[00:20:47:130]  (in Bengali) My name is Shima.


[00:20:49:040]  I'm 23 years old.


[00:20:51:220]  When I came to Dhaka, I was twelve.


[00:20:57:070]  (city sounds)


[00:21:02:060]  (narrator) Shima is one of about 40 million


[00:21:03:240]  garment-factory workers in the world.


[00:21:06:050]  Almost four million of these workers are here in Bangladesh,


[00:21:09:070]  working in almost five thousand factories,


[00:21:11:180]  making clothing for major Western brands.


[00:21:16:130]  Over 85% of these workers are women.


[00:21:19:010]  And with a minimum wage of less than $3 a day,


[00:21:21:240]  they are among the lowest paid garment workers in the world.


[00:21:25:020]  (Shima) When I came to Dhaka, I stayed with my aunt.


[00:21:29:180]  When I first started working in a garment factory,


[00:21:32:040]  my salary was $10 a month.


[00:21:41:090]  (bike bells chiming)


[00:21:54:210]  (male interviewer) What's her name?


[00:21:56:070]  (Shima) My daughter's name? Nadia Akhter


[00:22:05:130]  I take her with me , to the factory some days


[00:22:07:180]  but it's terribly hot inside the factory.


[00:22:09:120]  And there are chemicals inside the factory


[00:22:13:160]  which are very harmful to children.


[00:22:18:120]  So I can't keep her here in Dhaka with me


[00:22:21:030]  because I don't have anyone to take care of her.


[00:22:31:080]  (man) The workers must not have any kind of distrust


[00:22:36:130]  on their owners.


[00:22:38:170]  If they have,


[00:22:41:030]  there will not be any kind of good working atmosphere in the factory.


[00:22:46:080]  They must respect, the owner, is paying us as per rule.


[00:22:52:230]  If they do not have this kind of confidence,


[00:22:55:000]  you won't get the result.


[00:22:57:180]  (Shima) I have formed a union at my work.


[00:23:00:040]  I've been the president of the union since its formation.


[00:23:03:190]  We submitted a list of demands and the managers received it.


[00:23:09:030]  After they received the list, we had an altercation with the managers.


[00:23:13:150]  After the altercation, the managers locked the door.


[00:23:18:070]  And along with them, 30-40 staffers attacked us


[00:23:22:200]  and beat us up.


[00:23:24:220]  They used chairs, sticks, scales


[00:23:28:140]  and things like scissors to beat us up.


[00:23:32:160]  Mostly they kicked and punched us


[00:23:36:190]  and banged our heads on the walls.


[00:23:40:190]  They hit us mostly


[00:23:43:140]  in the chest and abdomen.


[00:23:51:140]  (narrator) It's estimated that one in every six people alive


[00:23:54:060]  in the world today,


[00:23:55:120]  work in some part of the global fashion industry,


[00:23:58:140]  making it the most labor-dependent industry on earth.


[00:24:02:090]  Most of this work is done by people, like Shima, who have no voice


[00:24:06:060]  in the larger supply chain.


[00:24:08:130]  But to fully understand the impact


[00:24:10:040]  that fashion is having on our world,


[00:24:11:230]  we have to go back to where it all begins.


[00:24:15:160]  (tractor engine starting)


[00:24:19:180]  (woman,Texan accent) My grandparents settled out here in the 20s,


[00:24:22:120]  and so this is a part of my heritage.


[00:24:24:050]  People ask why I'm an organic cotton farmer,


[00:24:26:030]  it's 'cause I don't know any better.


[00:24:27:150]  My grandaddy was an old German farmer


[00:24:29:130]  that felt like we should respect the land,


[00:24:31:110]  we're stewards of the land,


[00:24:32:220]  and respect the life that's in the land.


[00:24:37:020]  You are actually sitting in the high plains of Texas


[00:24:40:100]  and there's 3.6 million acres of cotton growing in this region.


[00:24:44:110]  We're literally the biggest cotton patch in the world.


[00:24:47:100]  In just the past ten years, 80% of that is now GMO,


[00:24:51:070]  genetically modified cotton.


[00:24:53:120]  Most of it is Roundup Ready,


[00:24:56:040]  meaning that instead of the farmers spot-spraying weeds,


[00:24:59:240]  occasionally, in their field,


[00:25:01:100]  or hiring laborers to walk the field and eliminate the weeds,


[00:25:04:190]  now they're spraying whole fields.


[00:25:08:040]  (narrator) Cotton produces the fiber


[00:25:09:150]  that's responsible for most of the clothing


[00:25:11:080]  worn by the world today.


[00:25:12:240]  And as our appetite for fashion grows,


[00:25:14:220]  the cotton plant itself is being re-engineered to keep up.


[00:25:18:110]  There's just been this big drive


[00:25:20:050]  towards the industrialization of agriculture,


[00:25:22:200]  the intensification of agriculture.


[00:25:25:000]  So instead of the old forms of farming


[00:25:27:120]  which were very much in-tune with nature,


[00:25:30:010]  they were linked to the cycles


[00:25:32:030]  of the natural year, and the seasons.


[00:25:34:210]  What you see now is an intensification


[00:25:36:190]  where the land is almost reconsidered


[00:25:39:190]  as if it was a factory.


[00:25:42:100]  (man, Texan accent) What you’ve created is this general practice


[00:25:45:070]  of "we treat millions of acres the same."


[00:25:49:130]  We put a dose of chemical on it all,


[00:25:52:180]  and that’s when you get these big ecological effects


[00:25:56:150]  that nobody has a grasp of what’s really happening.


[00:26:00:160]  Nature tends to heal itself in small pockets.


[00:26:05:130]  But when you get this big, broad approach,


[00:26:11:020]  we really don’t know what’s going on.


[00:26:13:100]  For us, it’s not reducing the amount of pesticides,


[00:26:16:190]  and chemicals that are going on the cotton,


[00:26:18:110]  that’s one of the big sales, that reduces that.


[00:26:20:110]  Not in our area, where we are spraying


[00:26:23:060]  millions and millions of acres and dollars of Roundup,


[00:26:26:220]  across the entire South Plains.


[00:26:28:240]  What kind of impact is that having on our soil,


[00:26:31:180]  with residuals that are left at the microbacterial level?


[00:26:35:150]  What kind of impact is that having


[00:26:37:040]  on the people in our communities?


[00:26:39:050]  Where is the cost on that?


[00:26:42:020]  ♪ (music) ♪


[00:26:44:220]  (commercial narrator) Monsanto is proud to be the industry leader


[00:26:47:120]  in agricultural innovation,


[00:26:49:020]  because of what these agricultural advancements can do to help you


[00:26:52:030]  double yields for the future needs of the world.


[00:26:55:040]  We're dedicated to the future of agriculture,


[00:26:57:220]  and providing farmers with innovations


[00:27:00:020]  that help them produce more and conserve more,


[00:27:03:040]  while improving the lives of people around the world.


[00:27:06:090]  Together, we can face the challenges


[00:27:08:210]  of the next generation


[00:27:11:210]  and beyond.


[00:27:18:240]  (bustling streets)


[00:27:24:080]  (woman) After the wars,


[00:27:25:120]  where all these redundant factories


[00:27:27:130]  that made war chemicals, explosives, were lying around,


[00:27:35:040]  The Western countries thought that it would be a good idea


[00:27:39:050]  to market them to the third world,


[00:27:41:070]  after all, the same industry that makes explosives


[00:27:44:030]  makes nitrogen fertilizers.


[00:27:46:130]  And they started to push nitrogen fertilizers,


[00:27:49:120]  from the 50s onwards, after we became independent.


[00:27:53:030]  But the nitrogen fertilizers


[00:27:56:120]  don't do very well with native crops.


[00:28:00:010]  There's a problem of lodging.


[00:28:02:090]  So the whole system then organized itself


[00:28:05:100]  to redesign the plant


[00:28:07:100]  in order to take on more chemicals.


[00:28:10:060]  Bt Cotton is a cotton in which a gene has been added,


[00:28:14:110]  from a bacteria, to produce a toxin.


[00:28:17:220]  But the Bt Cotton,


[00:28:20:150]  which is supposed to control a pest,


[00:28:23:030]  has been offered because it's a way for companies to own the seed.


[00:28:29:120]  (narrator) By patenting these genetically modified plants,


[00:28:31:200]  Monsanto has become the largest seed and chemical corporation in history.


[00:28:36:150]  I wanted to speak with someone who'd worked with the company,


[00:28:39:090]  and I got word that a former managing director for India


[00:28:41:210]  was willing to talk.


[00:28:43:060]  (man) One of my close friends who was in the research division,


[00:28:45:210]  working on these modified crops,


[00:28:48:210]  he came to my hotel for a drink.


[00:28:52:100]  We are sitting having a drink, and after a few drinks he told me,


[00:28:55:100]  "Hey, Jag, they're going to change the type of business


[00:28:58:180]  you're doing in India."


[00:29:01:070]  I said, "What do you mean?"


[00:29:03:010]  "They're going to get into the seeds business.


[00:29:05:180]  And they're going to make the seed business of all crops,


[00:29:10:020]  so that we have a monopoly on seeds,


[00:29:13:100]  and every farmer has to come to us to buy seeds every time."


[00:29:19:000]  That rang a bell in my mind.


[00:29:21:180]  If a poor farmer has to go to Monsanto to buy seeds every time,


[00:29:26:180]  and such expensive seeds,


[00:29:29:150]  at the time there's no idea of Bt at all for me.


[00:29:32:030]  Genetically modified seed, it's not in my mind.


[00:29:35:120]  Even seed monopoly is something very bad.


[00:29:39:110]  (Vandana Shiva) So farmers get into debt when the get the seed


[00:29:42:000]  because of the high cost, 17,000 percent more.


[00:29:45:080]  They get into deeper debt because it doesn't deliver on the promise


[00:29:49:000]  of controlling pests, so they have to buy more pesticides.


[00:29:52:180]  The tragedy with chemicals, whether it's fertilizers or pesticides,


[00:29:56:120]  is that they are what has been called ecological narcotics:


[00:30:00:040]  the more you use them, the more you need to use them.


[00:30:02:180]  For a while, the yield of the single commodity climbs


[00:30:05:060]  and then it starts to decline


[00:30:06:130]  because you have contaminated the soil.


[00:30:14:230]  (engine running)


[00:30:17:050]  (narrator) Most of India's cotton is grown in the Punjab region,


[00:30:19:230]  which has quickly become the largest user of pesticides in India.


[00:30:25:070]  Dr. Pritpal Singh has been studying the effects


[00:30:27:180]  of these chemicals on human health


[00:30:29:120]  and his reports show dramatic rise in the number of birth defects,


[00:30:33:070]  cancers and mental illness here in the region.


[00:30:37:200]  You can go in every village


[00:30:39:180]  you will see that hundreds of patients are suffering with cancers.


[00:30:45:120]  70 to 80 kids in every village


[00:30:48:100]  you will find them facing


[00:30:50:200]  severe mental retardation and physical handicaps.


[00:30:53:100]  (cries and moans)


[00:30:57:080]  ♪ (somber music) ♪


[00:31:08:060]  Companies of the fertilizers, pesticides,


[00:31:10:070]  they are totally refusing


[00:31:12:130]  the aftereffects of the pesticides and fertilizers,


[00:31:15:080]  and this is the classical symptoms of their toxicity.


[00:31:20:060]  In one village, there are 60 mentally retarded kids like this boy.


[00:31:25:010]  So it's a very dangerous phenomenon in the Punjab.


[00:31:32:060]  And poor people, farmers, laborers, and small farmers


[00:31:36:220]  have maxed their labor means so they can't afford treatment.


[00:31:40:190]  Ultimately, they have accepted the death of their kids.


[00:31:45:140]  And they're waiting for the death of their kids,


[00:31:47:120]  the mother is waiting for the death of this boy.


[00:31:51:050]  Companies that make the GM seeds and make the chemicals


[00:31:55:060]  are the same companies.


[00:31:56:190]  And they're also the same companies that make the medicines


[00:31:59:130]  which they are now patenting.


[00:32:01:000]  So you get cancer, there are more profits.


[00:32:03:120]  For them it's a win, win, win, win, win.


[00:32:05:130]  As for nature and people, it's a lose, lose, lose, lose, lose.


[00:32:09:060]  It's the day those agents of these companies


[00:32:11:230]  come to the farmer and say,


[00:32:13:240]  "You owe me this much. You haven't paid back.


[00:32:17:000]  Now your land is my land."


[00:32:18:240]  That day the farmer will go into his field,


[00:32:22:030]  drink a bottle of pesticide,


[00:32:24:160]  and end his life.


[00:32:25:190]  And every widow I've talked to said,


[00:32:27:190]  "And the neighbors came and said


[00:32:29:040]  they first found my husband lying in the field."


[00:32:33:210]  (narrator) In the last 16 years,


[00:32:35:090]  there have been more than 250,000


[00:32:37:190]  recorded farmer suicides in India.


[00:32:41:160]  That's about one farmer every 30 minutes.


[00:32:44:120]  And it's the largest recorded wave of suicides in history.


[00:32:55:030]  (narrator) As it becomes clear, just how much of an impact


[00:32:57:120]  fashion is having on our world,


[00:32:59:060]  there's an increasing amount of research


[00:33:01:020]  to suggest that it's also having a growing effect on us,


[00:33:04:120]  the people buying these clothes.


[00:33:06:180]  (man) What we now know, 20 years later


[00:33:09:000]  and hundreds of studies later,


[00:33:10:220]  is that the more the people are focused


[00:33:12:180]  on those materialistic values,


[00:33:14:120]  the more that they say that money and image,


[00:33:17:130]  and status and possessions are important to them,


[00:33:21:000]  the less happy they are,


[00:33:22:060]  the more depressed they are, the more anxious they are.


[00:33:25:120]  We know that all of these kinds of psychological problems


[00:33:28:170]  tend to go up, as materialistic values go up.


[00:33:32:090]  Now, that's really at odds with the thousands of messages


[00:33:36:220]  that we receive every day from advertisements


[00:33:40:200]  suggesting that materialism and the pursuit of possessions


[00:33:44:110]  and owning stuff is what's going to make us happy.


[00:33:47:070]  It's important to understand that advertising is a species,


[00:33:51:050]  or a category of propaganda.


[00:33:53:180]  You think of propaganda as a totalitarian thing, very grim,


[00:33:58:170]  loudspeakers, chanting crowds and so on,


[00:34:02:070]  and we think of Hitler.


[00:34:03:150]  We always think of it as a foreign thing,


[00:34:06:120]  but it's actually as American as apple pie.


[00:34:09:120]  ♪ (slow pop music) ♪


[00:34:12:180]  (Tim Kasser) Well the reason that advertising works is because


[00:34:15:220]  the smart advertisers, at least,


[00:34:17:220]  are trying to tie the consumption of their product


[00:34:21:180]  to a message that suggests


[00:34:25:100]  that your needs will be satisfied


[00:34:27:230]  by consuming this thing.


[00:34:30:050]  It wants you to believe


[00:34:31:210]  that you'll look wonderful in that thing.


[00:34:34:100]  But then to put it on, and feel like,


[00:34:36:050]  "Nah, you look kind of fat in it, you don't look that good in it,


[00:34:38:180]  you're sorry you bought it, but there's another one you can buy."


[00:34:41:110]  ♪ (pop music) ♪


[00:34:49:120]  ♪ (pop music continues) ♪


[00:35:10:090]  (Tim) So think of all the car commercials you see that show,


[00:35:14:070]  "Well, I've really made it now, I'm a competent person


[00:35:17:090]  because I'm driving this BMW or this Audi."


[00:35:21:000]  Or think about all the shampoo commercials you've seen,


[00:35:23:180]  where the person now has beautiful flowing hair


[00:35:27:070]  and is loved and appreciated by the people around them.


[00:35:30:120]  The basic message is the same:


[00:35:32:130]  the way to solve the problems of your life,


[00:35:35:070]  we all have problems in our life,


[00:35:37:050]  the way to solve the problem in your life is through consumption.


[00:35:40:180]  Hey you guys!


[00:35:41:190]  Today I'm coming to you guys with a clothing haul!


[00:35:44:190]  I went shopping a couple of days ago and literally went insane


[00:35:48:120]  and bought so many things.


[00:35:50:120]  My spam box, I don't know, where it's literally blown up,


[00:35:54:010]  by you guys saying you guys wanted a haul.


[00:35:56:120]  So... here it is.


[00:35:58:100]  Okidoki, so first off, I have some things that I got from H&M


[00:36:02:050]  So then I went to Forever 21...


[00:36:04:110]  It wasn't even a question, it was just like fate, I just had to get it,


[00:36:07:190]  like if it could levitate towards me, it would have levitated.


[00:36:10:200]  I got this skirt,


[00:36:13:090]  bright yellow, and it was $8.50.


[00:36:17:090]  It's a jean button-up thing...


[00:36:20:160]  ...and I just loved this, I just loved it, loved it, loved it!


[00:36:23:120]  It's a gray knit sweater, and it has pink hearts all over it.


[00:36:26:080]  I loved...I love tie-dye things.


[00:36:28:230]  Like tie-dye things are literally the bomb.net!


[00:36:31:130]  It has a little yin yang sign on the front of it.


[00:36:34:010]  I just love these so much.


[00:36:35:170]  And it's just this really pretty, light blue sweater.


[00:36:39:040]  I don't even know if I'm going to wear this, now that I got it,


[00:36:41:070]  because I don't know if I like it that much.


[00:36:42:180]  I need to stop.


[00:36:50:180]  (man) I try to understand better


[00:36:52:060]  why people don't realize that they're becoming poorer and poorer.


[00:36:56:060]  And I ask myself, okay, but what has changed


[00:36:59:130]  in respect of when I was young?


[00:37:01:080]  And fashion is something that has dramatically changed.


[00:37:04:130]  I was able to buy one, two t-shirts,


[00:37:07:100]  four t-shirts, for example, a year.


[00:37:09:130]  Now, also my children, they used to buy,


[00:37:12:170]  every party, they buy a t-shirt.


[00:37:14:220]  And so I understood that Fast Fashion is something totally new.


[00:37:19:100]  If you have noticed, the price has decreased in the last years.


[00:37:24:020]  And it does follow the middle class disappearing.


[00:37:28:150]  So all the things that people really need


[00:37:31:140]  are very costly,


[00:37:33:110]  like a home, like studies, like life insurance.


[00:37:38:130]  On the other side, there is a source of consolation


[00:37:43:120]  part of their life.


[00:37:45:060]  They can buy a t-shirt,


[00:37:48:230]  two t-shirts a party, or eventually a day,


[00:37:53:010]  although I'm very poor and I've got lost,


[00:37:55:110]  I've lost all the things I really needed.


[00:37:57:200]  (narrator) Today we purchase over 80 billion


[00:37:59:180]  pieces of new clothing each year.


[00:38:02:030]  That's 400% more than the amount we bought just two decades ago.


[00:38:06:110]  The way we buy clothes has changed so much, so fast


[00:38:09:130]  that few people have actually stepped back


[00:38:11:180]  to understand the origin of this new model, or the consequence


[00:38:14:160]  of such an unprecedented increase in consumption.


[00:38:17:220]  (Mark Miller) There's an article in Printers' Ink


[00:38:22:020]  which is the leading advertising trade journal of its day,


[00:38:26:150]  by a very famous copywriter, named Earnest Elmo Calkins,


[00:38:30:180]  he was a grand old man of the art of writing advertising copy.


[00:38:35:050]  It was an article called "Consumptionism".


[00:38:38:170]  In that article, he says there are two kinds of products.


[00:38:43:200]  There are the kind that you use,


[00:38:47:030]  like washing machines, cars and so on,


[00:38:49:210]  things that you buy and use for a long time.


[00:38:54:090]  And then there are the things that you use up,


[00:38:57:060]  like chewing gum and cigarettes, other perishables.


[00:39:00:210]  He said consumptionism is all about getting people


[00:39:04:220]  to treat the things they use,


[00:39:07:190]  as the things they use up.


[00:39:10:020]  (woman) With their innovative Buy 1, Get 3 Free pricing,


[00:39:12:200]  a suit from Joseph A. Bank


[00:39:14:100]  is effectively cheaper than paper towels.


[00:39:17:170]  And now they come in these easy-to-use dispensers.


[00:39:21:200]  With four suits for the price of a modest dinner,


[00:39:25:010]  I can feel good about throwing them away when I'm done.


[00:39:31:180]  (woman) You just have to look at landfill,


[00:39:33:180]  and you can see in landfill


[00:39:35:090]  that the amount of clothes and textiles being chucked away,


[00:39:38:060]  has been increasing steadily over the last 10 years,


[00:39:41:130]  as the sort of dirty shadow of the Fast Fashion industry


[00:39:48:020]  (Lucy Siegle) As we get sort of closer and closer


[00:39:51:000]  to species degradation,


[00:39:52:220]  to trashing our last remaining pristine wilderness,


[00:39:57:050]  we seem hell-bent on producing more and more disposable stuff.


[00:40:00:180]  It makes no sense.


[00:40:02:080]  Fashion should never and can never be thought of


[00:40:05:130]  as a disposable product.


[00:40:07:200]  (Christina Dean) I think after any big change in any industry,


[00:40:10:070]  it takes a while to feel and smell


[00:40:13:190]  the dirt that comes out of something that is polluting.


[00:40:17:180]  So I think now there is a change


[00:40:20:030]  because you can't deny


[00:40:23:230]  that the Fast Fashion industry


[00:40:25:190]  is having a massive impact in developing countries.


[00:40:28:220]  (narrator) The average American throws away 82 pounds


[00:40:31:120]  of textile waste each year.


[00:40:33:220]  Adding up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste


[00:40:37:040]  from the US alone.


[00:40:39:010]  Most of this waste is non-biodegradable.


[00:40:41:150]  Meaning it sits in landfills for 200 years or more,


[00:40:44:140]  while releasing harmful gases into the air.


[00:40:47:180]  (Orsola) The sheer amount of cheap clothing,


[00:40:50:230]  even though people feel, perhaps somehow,


[00:40:55:080]  that they're offsetting by giving to charity.


[00:40:58:020]  The journey of a t-shirt donated to charity


[00:41:01:140]  is unpalatable in itself.


[00:41:07:040]  (woman) Pepe... It is a disease in Haiti.


[00:41:11:060]  Not only in Haiti, I think like in any


[00:41:13:030]  third world country that you're visiting.


[00:41:15:120]  It's a problem, it's a huge problem.


[00:41:18:230]  Pepe, a bunch of clothes,


[00:41:21:160]  most of them came from the States.


[00:41:25:150]  People will go and buy a box full of clothes.


[00:41:28:060]  They don't even know what they're buying.


[00:41:30:140]  Those are clothes people donate to charity,


[00:41:34:080]  and charity cannot sell them on their thrift store or whatever,


[00:41:38:150]  they pack them, ship them to those third countries


[00:41:42:200]  and most of them end up here.


[00:41:44:190]  (narrator) It turns out that only about 10%


[00:41:46:120]  of the clothes that we donate


[00:41:47:200]  actually get sold in local thrift stores.


[00:41:50:140]  And as we're going through our clothing faster and faster,


[00:41:52:210]  now more of it is being dumped into developing countries,


[00:41:55:200]  like Haiti.


[00:41:57:100]  As the amount of secondhand clothing


[00:41:58:210]  coming into Haiti has increased,


[00:42:00:220]  the local clothing industry here has disappeared.


[00:42:04:050]  Once a proud, local tailoring sector,


[00:42:06:130]  Haiti now produces mostly cheap t-shirts


[00:42:09:080]  for export to America.


[00:42:11:160]  Because, back in the day when you were working


[00:42:15:130]  you used to see someone come to learn to sew.


[00:42:19:060]  The person might come to learn, and ask me to teach them how to sew.


[00:42:23:000]  Then you would teach him or her.


[00:42:24:180]  And because they learned to sew,


[00:42:28:020]  you knew that they would find a job with that skill.


[00:42:30:120]  However, today, the person may learn how to sew


[00:42:34:150]  but they can't find a job or make a living doing that.


[00:42:41:060]  (Catherine Charlot) So I tell people stop buying things that is not good,


[00:42:45:140]  that is costing, like ten dollars,


[00:42:47:160]  you going to go on a ball, you going out today.


[00:42:51:110]  You just go to a store


[00:42:52:110]  and buy yourself a dress for ten dollars,


[00:42:54:060]  Because it cost just ten dollars and I can throw it away.


[00:42:57:080]  And tomorrow you are going to do the same thing


[00:42:59:060]  over and over and over again.


[00:43:03:060]  (narrator) As awareness of fashion's impact on our world is growing,


[00:43:06:010]  there are key leaders in the industry who are beginning to question


[00:43:08:200]  the impacts of a model built on careless production


[00:43:12:000]  and endless consumption.


[00:43:13:170]  (man) At Patagonia, we hate the word "consumers."


[00:43:19:080]  We've got to find a better word, we prefer "customers,"


[00:43:22:200]  and we prefer also customers who recognize


[00:43:26:120]  the impact of their consumption.


[00:43:28:220]  They recognize that as consumers, they're part of the problem.


[00:43:34:090]  We are hopeful that we can encourage our customers to join us


[00:43:38:240]  in really questioning consumption.


[00:43:41:130]  Because without a reduction in consumption,


[00:43:43:180]  we don't feel that we'll really collectively find a solution


[00:43:47:120]  to the problems we face, that are collectively, year by year,


[00:43:53:060]  resulting in the continued decline of the health of our planet.


[00:43:58:160]  (woman) I mean the fashion industry just needs to think.


[00:44:01:110]  It needs to just stop and sort of look at how it's been working


[00:44:05:080]  in a conventional way, and just question it, challenge it.


[00:44:09:010]  For me is as a designer,


[00:44:10:080]  that's the most exciting thing that I do now.


[00:44:13:110]  More exciting than saying, "Oh, I love this color this season,"


[00:44:16:030]  or "this is the silhouette, or the hemline."


[00:44:19:020]  For me, a way bigger challenge and excitement


[00:44:22:120]  is actually looking at my industry and saying, "You know what,


[00:44:24:220]  I'm going to try and do it in a way


[00:44:26:080]  that is not as harmful to the planet."


[00:44:30:010]  Business through advertising has pulled society along


[00:44:35:110]  into this belief that happiness is based on stuff,


[00:44:40:050]  that true happiness can only be achieved


[00:44:42:190]  with an annual, seasonal, weekly, daily


[00:44:48:060]  increase in the amount of stuff you're bringing into your life.


[00:44:50:180]  That we want encourage our customers


[00:44:53:170]  to think twice about those assumptions,


[00:44:56:000]  to understand where they came from.


[00:44:58:150]  And through that understanding, to know that we can all together,


[00:45:02:040]  we can change how this is done.


[00:45:03:140]  The customer has to know that they're in charge.


[00:45:06:150]  Without them, we don't have jobs.


[00:45:08:170]  And that is really important.


[00:45:10:050]  So you don't have to buy into it.


[00:45:12:060]  If you don't like it, you don't have to buy into it.


[00:45:17:030]  (birds chirping)


[00:45:18:000]  (Safia Minney) I love the embroidery, Shantu.


[00:45:23:000]  The embroidery is really nice.


[00:45:24:100]  Don't you think we should add the embroidery on both sides?


[00:45:26:180]  I think we should definitely add the embroidery here as well.


[00:45:30:170]  I think it looks a bit mean to have it just on the front,


[00:45:33:110]  so let's have it on the sides too?


[00:45:36:180]  It won't add much cost,


[00:45:38:020]  it's not so dense, is it?


[00:45:45:100]  (Safia) Swallows is a Fair Trade fashion business


[00:45:48:120]  but it's also a development society.


[00:45:51:070]  So it helps more than 3,000 people in this village.


[00:45:57:060]  I come here every four months.


[00:45:58:220]  We call them "production trips."


[00:46:00:230]  And we're working with the producers,


[00:46:03:110]  trying to find out what are the barriers


[00:46:05:140]  to making a great product and to getting it to the market.


[00:46:09:020]  And we're also doing Fair Trade capacity building.


[00:46:11:210]  So looking at what are the obstacles


[00:46:14:130]  to delivering more social benefit


[00:46:16:190]  or improving the environmental protection in these areas.


[00:46:21:020]  For me, this is about partnering.


[00:46:23:040]  This is about finding creative solutions,


[00:46:25:050]  together with them, with the team here,


[00:46:28:030]  and really listening to what their problems are


[00:46:30:000]  and finding a way that works, together.


[00:46:32:140]  (clicking sound of the loom)


[00:46:42:130]  I want to invite the best employee here at Swallows,


[00:46:47:200]  I want to invite one female representative from Swallows


[00:46:52:240]  to come to London in autumn or next spring.


[00:46:57:060]  And I would like you to think


[00:46:59:050]  who would be that best representative.


[00:47:02:120]  But I want you to know who your customers are,


[00:47:04:120]  and I want you to really understand the marketplace


[00:47:07:030]  and come back and tell all your friends.


[00:47:09:090]  (man translating to Bengali)


[00:47:32:010]  (applause)


[00:47:36:150]  Either, if she does it single thread, single stitch,


[00:47:39:120]  then maybe she needs to do more densely?


[00:47:42:010]  - Okay. - More concentrated?


[00:47:43:180]  (man translates to Bengali)


[00:47:57:060]  (Safia) If she continues for a bit,


[00:47:59:180]  we're going to go up to the sample room now, for SS15.


[00:48:02:190]  Can she come and show us the next one that she does?


[00:48:06:110]  Yeah.


[00:48:11:180]  (Safia) I kind of hoped that People Tree wouldn't be necessary,


[00:48:14:170]  and I hoped that we would have a trading system that looked after


[00:48:19:080]  people's rights and the environment.


[00:48:23:060]  But the more and more involved I got in developing,


[00:48:25:180]  and working closely with partners,


[00:48:27:090]  the more dirt and filth I discovered


[00:48:31:230]  about how trading practices


[00:48:33:180]  undermine everything that we believe in,


[00:48:35:140]  and everything I know most people believe and value.


[00:48:42:190]  I don't know, People Tree just really grew organically.


[00:48:45:000]  It grew from a really great collection of people


[00:48:48:000]  that feel passionately that there's a different way of...


[00:48:50:190]  of working, of living, of consuming,


[00:48:54:020]  of interacting with people by a humane way.


[00:49:00:220]  I didn't necessarily feel that there'd be a thousand shops


[00:49:03:070]  selling People Tree today,


[00:49:06:050]  and I see that there's so much more that we need to do.


[00:49:08:110]  So I think it's not just about creating jobs


[00:49:11:060]  for the 7,000 people that work for People Tree,


[00:49:13:120]  it's also about being a catalyst for change within the industry,


[00:49:16:110]  and showing, proving the model works.


[00:49:25:020]  (clanking metal from train tracks)


[00:49:29:220]  (Larhea Pepper) Yeah, when we first went organic


[00:49:31:200]  I think there was only two or three of us at the time,


[00:49:34:000]  and we formed the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative


[00:49:37:050]  and the deal was they'd grow it, and I'd sell it.


[00:49:39:120]  So I started going to like Jacob Javits


[00:49:42:030]  and having this whole deal, cotton plants and everything,


[00:49:45:010]  and of "Yeah, we've got organic cotton,"


[00:49:47:080]  and people would just look at us like we were absolutely crazy.


[00:49:53:000]  Many times consumers become aware of...


[00:49:55:150]  organic milk, or they have an allergy.


[00:49:58:030]  And so, interestingly enough, cotton,


[00:50:00:160]  and what they put on their body


[00:50:01:220]  even though the skin's the largest organ on your body,


[00:50:04:130]  isn't even on their radar screen


[00:50:05:200]  because they're not getting the connection of,


[00:50:08:110]  "Oh, I eat this organic apple,


[00:50:10:080]  therefore I'm not directly ingesting


[00:50:12:220]  pesticides or chemicals, or whatever the case may be."


[00:50:15:230]  But they don't get that direct connection with clothing.


[00:50:18:130]  And so you have to start looking in that bigger community scope.


[00:50:21:220]  That it is about our air, it's about our world.


[00:50:24:010]  It's about our planet, it's about our people.


[00:50:26:170]  And so it is that awareness of--


[00:50:29:100]  You may not feel that you're having the direct impact


[00:50:31:190]  by buying this organic shirt.


[00:50:34:140]  But the impact you're having


[00:50:36:160]  is in the bigger picture in the world at large,


[00:50:38:220]  and especially in the community where the cotton's grown.


[00:50:42:190]  ♪ (soft music) ♪


[00:50:54:140]  As the hard freeze comes,


[00:50:56:120]  as organic farmers, we wait for that freeze


[00:50:58:200]  because that literally defoliates, takes the leaves off the plant,


[00:51:03:180]  so that when we harvest, the bolls open that are mature,


[00:51:07:240]  and it leaves the cotton here,


[00:51:09:180]  and you can see it comes out in sections.


[00:51:13:000]  This machine that's coming is called a Cotton Stripper.


[00:51:16:040]  And it's called a Cotton Stripper


[00:51:17:140]  because it literally comes along and strips,


[00:51:20:210]  uses kind of fingers, and it literally strips


[00:51:23:020]  all of the bolls off of this plant.


[00:51:27:020]  So when you look over there, you can see


[00:51:29:100]  the Harvester's been there and it's taken all the plants off.


[00:51:34:010]  ♪ (soft music) ♪


[00:51:43:090]  I think one of the problems that we have in the current model


[00:51:46:030]  is it's all about the profit.


[00:51:47:210]  And it doesn't take into consideration "this cost at what cost?"


[00:51:53:020]  The cost of polluting the water;


[00:51:54:180]  the cost of labor;


[00:51:56:150]  the cost of bars on the window


[00:51:58:020]  that people die when a fire breaks out in the factory;


[00:52:00:180]  the cost of farmers that don't have access


[00:52:03:220]  to education and health care.


[00:52:06:010]  And so we haven't really factored in what the true cost is.


[00:52:15:120]  (Rakesh Jaiswal) Kanpur is situated along river Ganga,


[00:52:18:180]  which is the holiest river.


[00:52:21:070]  And it's also very important for 800 million Hindus


[00:52:26:180]  and also it serves as the lifeline of North India.


[00:52:31:100]  So this river is being polluted and killed


[00:52:34:140]  by the leather factories of Kanpur.


[00:52:40:030]  (narrator) With growing demand for materials like cheap leather,


[00:52:43:030]  Kanpur is now the leather export capital of India.


[00:52:56:130]  Every day here, more than 50 million liters of toxic wastewater,


[00:53:00:120]  pour out of the local tanneries.


[00:53:02:060]  Heavy chemicals used to treat the leather like chromium-6


[00:53:05:060]  flow into local farming and even drinking water.


[00:53:09:060]  In places like Kanpur, far from the eyes of the world,


[00:53:12:130]  major western brands are able to source cheap materials


[00:53:15:080]  while avoiding all accountability for the growing cost to human health


[00:53:19:150]  and the environment.


[00:53:21:220]  ♪ (somber music) ♪


[00:53:31:030]  People in that area are in the tight grip of tannery pollution.


[00:53:37:060]  The local environment is contaminated, soil is contaminated.


[00:53:42:150]  The only drinking water source,


[00:53:45:220]  ground water, is contaminated with chromium.


[00:53:49:060]  Agricultural produce,


[00:53:51:060]  even vegetables and salad items,


[00:53:54:200]  are produced there.


[00:53:57:010]  People's health is affected.


[00:54:00:080]  People have different kinds of dermal problems:


[00:54:04:130]  skin rashes, boils, pustules,


[00:54:07:090]  even numbness in the limbs.


[00:54:08:210]  People have stomach ailments, maybe they have cancers also.


[00:54:15:130]  My daughter is suffering from jaundice.


[00:54:18:060]  Every year, people in every other houses in this region


[00:54:22:060]  suffer from this illness.


[00:54:23:140]  Even my wife had jaundice.


[00:54:26:070]  As I said before, many people every year have the same issue.


[00:54:30:010]  All our savings are used to treat the diseases,


[00:54:35:000]  because the chromium that's in the water


[00:54:39:180]  attacks the liver directly,


[00:54:43:090]  it creates digestion problems, and many people can get jaundice


[00:54:49:090]  or liver cancer if we are not able to take precautions.


[00:54:54:070]  (man) You can have the best of materials moving into


[00:54:57:030]  the high-end fashion market, in Milan or Paris, or London.


[00:55:02:060]  But there has been so much work which has gone behind it,


[00:55:07:050]  and so much of chemicals has gone into it,


[00:55:09:070]  the effluents has been discharging to so many rivers.


[00:55:12:090]  But we are only looking at that point of time


[00:55:15:020]  into the finished product.


[00:55:17:060]  We need to step back and think about it.


[00:55:23:110]  (narrator) Fashion today is the #2 most polluting industry


[00:55:26:140]  on earth, second only to the oil industry.


[00:55:30:070]  The alarming thing is that not only is fashion using


[00:55:32:150]  a huge amount of natural resources,


[00:55:34:130]  and creating staggering environmental impacts,


[00:55:37:020]  these natural resources and this impact is often not even measured.


[00:55:41:060]  Because they've been so abundant, these resources,


[00:55:45:140]  it's been assumed that they're going to be there forever.


[00:55:48:110]  So I think business has not accounted for them


[00:55:51:000]  because it's only since the 1950s


[00:55:54:230]  that we've really had this industrial expansion


[00:55:59:010]  at such a rate that we started to see exponential growth


[00:56:03:100]  and exponential use of natural resources.


[00:56:06:100]  The first economy on which our lives rest is nature's economy.


[00:56:09:130]  Nature has an economy.


[00:56:11:150]  That economy is huge. It's not counted.


[00:56:15:230]  Then we have people's economy, women working, laborers working,


[00:56:19:000]  farmers growing.


[00:56:20:140]  And that was made invisible through this construct,


[00:56:24:050]  first in the Depression, and then during the war years,


[00:56:26:180]  of the number called the GDP, the Gross Domestic Product,


[00:56:31:060]  which measures only that which is traded,


[00:56:36:140]  and has become a commodity.


[00:56:38:100]  (Mike Schragger) A lot of the resources


[00:56:39:240]  that we use to make our clothing are not accounted for


[00:56:44:180]  in the cost of producing those clothes.


[00:56:49:000]  So one has water that's used to produce clothing,


[00:56:54:090]  land that's used to grow the fiber,


[00:56:58:040]  chemicals that are used to dye.


[00:57:02:030]  Those things all are inputs.


[00:57:06:110]  And as inputs, they cost something,


[00:57:10:120]  and they also give outputs,


[00:57:12:210]  in some cases good outputs, the clothing themselves, jobs,


[00:57:17:030]  but in other cases bad outputs, like harmful chemicals,


[00:57:21:050]  or greenhouse gas emissions,


[00:57:23:060]  and those things have costs as well.


[00:57:29:060]  (ringing)


[00:57:36:030]  Sleep on the pillow.


[00:57:39:020]  (man) Will you feel bad leaving Nadia?


[00:57:41:140]  Of course I feel bad but there's nothing to do.


[00:57:45:060]  With a job here, I'm forced to leave her in the village.


[00:57:49:120]  In the last two months, she never sat with her books.


[00:57:52:060]  She only watches TV and cartoons.


[00:57:53:190]  And music videos.


[00:57:55:040]  But if she stays in the village, she cannot do that.


[00:57:57:160]  She goes to the school in the morning, comes back at noon


[00:58:00:080]  and at 3 p.m. she goes for private tutoring.


[00:58:03:070]  It's not possible for that here.


[00:58:04:140]  (child speaks in Bengali)


[00:58:07:100]  (man) What do you do with Nadia now?


[00:58:09:150]  Sometimes I leave her with the neighbor,


[00:58:12:120]  sometimes her father used to look after her.


[00:58:17:110]  And I took her to my factory sometimes.


[00:58:19:180]  I took her to the factory yesterday.


[00:58:21:180]  (crowd chattering)


[00:58:26:080]  (narrator) The same low wages that have made places like Bangladesh


[00:58:29:000]  so attractive for brands to do business,


[00:58:31:140]  have left millions of workers here, working incredibly long hours,


[00:58:35:030]  unable to afford to keep their children with them,


[00:58:37:120]  even in the cities' worst slums.


[00:58:40:100]  In order to give their children an education,


[00:58:42:160]  and a chance of a better future than life in the factories,


[00:58:45:120]  many garment workers here, like Shima, are leaving their children


[00:58:49:130]  to be raised by family or friends in villages outside the city,


[00:58:53:000]  only getting to see them once or twice a year.


[00:58:57:070]  ♪ (soft music) ♪


[00:59:31:080]  (children chattering)


[00:59:39:070]  This is my dad,


[00:59:41:090]  it's been a year since I have seen him.


[00:59:44:160]  Sometimes I talk to him on the phone


[00:59:47:100]  but it's been a year since I have seen him.


[00:59:52:240]  This is my mom,


[00:59:56:130]  it's been a year since I last saw her.


[00:59:59:150]  I talk to her on the phone as well but I don't see her often.


[01:00:06:070]  (family talking in Bengali)


[01:00:28:060]  (mother and children speaking animatedly)


[01:00:43:190]  There is no limit to the struggle of Bangladeshi workers.


[01:00:47:040]  Every day we wake up early in the morning;


[01:00:50:120]  we go to the factory, and work really hard all day.


[01:00:54:180]  And with all the hard labor we make the clothing.


[01:00:58:200]  And that's what people wear.


[01:01:04:000]  People have no idea how difficult it is for us to make the clothing.


[01:01:10:110]  They only buy it and wear it.


[01:01:13:180]  I believe these clothes are produced by our blood.


[01:01:16:210]  A lot of garment workers die in different accidents.


[01:01:21:200]  Like a year ago, there was a collapse in Rana Plaza.


[01:01:26:160]  A lot of workers died there.


[01:01:30:030]  It's very painful for us.


[01:01:34:190]  I don't want anyone wearing anything,


[01:01:38:100]  which is produced by our blood.


[01:01:40:220]  We want better working conditions, so that everyone becomes aware.


[01:01:43:240]  I don't want another owner like the owner of Rana Plaza


[01:01:48:030]  to take such a risk and force the workers


[01:01:52:150]  to work in such conditions.


[01:01:56:080]  So that no more workers die like that.


[01:01:59:150]  So that no more mothers lose their child like this.


[01:02:03:130]  I never want this, I want the owners to be a little more aware


[01:02:07:170]  and look after us.


[01:02:15:230]  You know, we are actually profiting


[01:02:18:000]  from their need to work, to use them as slaves.


[01:02:23:040]  And I'm not saying that we don't-- we need to give them work,


[01:02:27:000]  but they have to be treated with the same respect


[01:02:31:120]  that we treat our children, our friends.


[01:02:34:190]  They're not different from us.


[01:02:37:030]  (narrator) Livia Firth has been calling for major change


[01:02:39:080]  in the fashion industry.


[01:02:40:140]  She made headlines by starting something


[01:02:42:090]  called "The Green Carpet Challenge,"


[01:02:44:030]  urging celebrities and top designers


[01:02:45:230]  to take part in more mindful forms of fashion.


[01:02:49:000]  She runs a sustainability consulting firm called Eco Age,


[01:02:51:230]  and had just been invited to speak at a conference


[01:02:53:230]  on the future of fashion.


[01:02:55:160]  If Fast Fashion didn't exist,


[01:02:58:060]  we wouldn't need to have a summit in Copenhagen


[01:03:00:190]  to try and clean the mess of environmental destruction,


[01:03:04:180]  social justice destruction, that has been caused


[01:03:08:040]  in the last 15 to 20 years of its existence.


[01:03:11:190]  Fast Fashion wants to produce fast,


[01:03:14:140]  so the garment worker has to produce faster and cheap.


[01:03:18:220]  So the garment worker is the only point of the supply chain


[01:03:23:010]  where the margins are squeezed.


[01:03:25:030]  And you have these huge companies


[01:03:28:220]  going to the factory in Bangladesh,


[01:03:30:170]  place an order for 1.5 million jeans


[01:03:33:050]  for 30 cents each, 50 cents each...


[01:03:37:020]  How can you make it ethical?


[01:03:38:240]  I don't know.


[01:03:41:120]  But also, from the consumer point of view,


[01:03:43:160]  is it really democratic to buy a t-shirt for $5


[01:03:47:050]  or pay $20 for your jeans?


[01:03:49:190]  Or are they taking us for a ride?


[01:03:53:030]  Because they're making us believe that we are rich or wealthy


[01:03:56:200]  because we can buy a lot.


[01:03:58:220]  But in fact they are making us poorer.


[01:04:01:170]  And the only person who is becoming richer


[01:04:04:120]  is the owner of the Fast Fashion brand.


[01:04:07:140]  So that makes me a little bit angry.


[01:04:10:090]  (audience applause)


[01:04:17:200]  You spoke about a commitment


[01:04:20:170]  to try and promise a basic living wage.


[01:04:26:210]  What does that mean?


[01:04:28:160]  How do you define a fair living wage in Bangladesh?


[01:04:32:140]  You know, what does that mean?


[01:04:36:030]  And to have a pilot project in three factories,


[01:04:39:040]  and by 2018, 15% of your factories are going to have that?


[01:04:43:230]  It's not good enough. It's not.


[01:04:46:180]  It's very clear for us that what a living wage is,


[01:04:49:170]  is something that the workers should say,


[01:04:52:050]  and that's incorporated in our way of working.


[01:04:56:150]  (Livia) How much is it?


[01:04:58:000]  And that's not for us to say a sum,


[01:05:00:040]  but we do an assessment all the time.


[01:05:02:160]  (Livia) How much is it?


[01:05:03:180]  And to make sure that it covers the basic needs of the workers.


[01:05:08:150]  I can show you that later on.


[01:05:11:210]  (narrator) H&M has mastered the model of Fast Fashion,


[01:05:14:160]  becoming the second largest clothing corporation in history.


[01:05:18:010]  With annual revenue of more than $18 billion dollars,


[01:05:21:170]  they are now one of the largest producers of clothing


[01:05:24:080]  in both Bangladesh and Cambodia.


[01:05:27:030]  Sadly, along with every other major retailer I asked,


[01:05:30:060]  they declined all interview requests for this film.


[01:05:44:110]  (crowd cheering)


[01:05:48:150]  (narrator) In Cambodia, garment workers have had enough.


[01:05:51:070]  Recently taking to the streets


[01:05:52:210]  to demand a minimum wage increase in the country.


[01:06:01:070]  As protests continued, workers were met with violent crackdowns,


[01:06:04:170]  as police began to open fire with live rounds.


[01:06:08:210]  (woman shouting in Khmer )


[01:06:13:030]  (shouting, cars honking)


[01:06:23:230]  (screaming, glass breaking)


[01:06:28:040]  (male reporter) A woman has been killed, and several people injured


[01:06:30:200]  in clashes between clothes factory workers


[01:06:33:020]  and riot police in Cambodia.


[01:06:37:140]  (gunshots firing)


[01:06:41:150]  (women shouting)


[01:06:50:050]  (cries and shouts)


[01:07:08:100]  For two days, Cambodia was a battleground.


[01:07:13:020]  The city of Phnom Penh.


[01:07:15:030]  The police, the paratroopers were brought in


[01:07:19:040]  as if there were war on the streets of Phnom Penh.


[01:07:23:230]  Why? Because workers in the textile industry


[01:07:27:190]  continued to demand


[01:07:29:240]  a minimum wage of at least $160.


[01:07:36:010]  The government violently cracked down on us, and as a result


[01:07:38:180]  5 workers were killed, 23 were arrested,


[01:07:41:040]  and more than 40 were injured.


[01:07:43:140]  And we are not actually asking for much money


[01:07:46:010]  we just want a proper salary to make a decent living with dignity.


[01:07:51:120]  But the government doesn't care about how poor we are


[01:07:56:050]  or how much suffering we have faced.


[01:07:58:120]  They don't care about the workers at all.


[01:08:00:150]  So we keep demanding for $160 US


[01:08:05:230]  minimum wage per month.


[01:08:10:200]  (man) Today is the funeral of a factory worker.


[01:08:16:240]  He was beaten to death.


[01:08:21:000]  He had suffered a lot before his death this morning.


[01:08:27:000]  And he had done nothing wrong.


[01:08:30:240]  He, among his fellow workers,


[01:08:36:010]  wanted to have better living conditions.


[01:08:40:020]  (chanting prayers)


[01:09:06:060]  We will continue his fight


[01:09:10:180]  so that all Cambodian workers


[01:09:15:220]  (voice tremblng with emotion) will have decent living conditions.


[01:09:20:100]  (interviewer) Thank you sir.


[01:09:30:160]  (narrator) The Cambodian government, like other developing countries


[01:09:33:180]  are desperate for the business that multinational retailers bring.


[01:09:38:020]  Because of the constant threat that these brands


[01:09:40:000]  will relocate production to other low-cost countries,


[01:09:42:220]  the government holds down wages,


[01:09:45:000]  routinely avoiding enforcement of local labor laws.


[01:09:48:040]  But because the major brands do not officially employ the workers,


[01:09:51:080]  or own any of the factories they produce in,


[01:09:54:030]  they're able to profit hugely,


[01:09:56:050]  all while remaining free of responsibility


[01:09:58:170]  for the effects of poverty wages, factory disasters,


[01:10:02:000]  and the ongoing violent treatment of workers.


[01:10:05:070]  The whole system begins to feel


[01:10:07:150]  like a perfectly engineered nightmare


[01:10:09:190]  for the workers trapped inside of it.


[01:10:14:160]  (Sochua Mu) You cannot fool us, and exploit our human resources,


[01:10:19:070]  exploit our workers.


[01:10:20:220]  The workers will continue to rise up.


[01:10:23:180]  I call on the international brands


[01:10:27:110]  to put that struggle into dollars,


[01:10:33:030]  into pounds, into Euros.


[01:10:36:180]  It translates into human capital.


[01:10:40:150]  It translates into social responsibility


[01:10:45:010]  of these big corporations.


[01:10:46:180]  It translates into economic justice.


[01:10:50:070]  When everything is concentrated on making profits


[01:10:53:180]  for the big corporations,


[01:10:55:120]  what you see is that human rights,


[01:10:57:050]  the environment, workers' rights get lost all together.


[01:11:00:160]  You see that workers are increasingly exploited


[01:11:03:120]  because the price of everything is pushed down, and down and down,


[01:11:07:080]  just to satisfy this impulse to accumulate capital.


[01:11:11:070]  And that's profoundly problematic,


[01:11:13:100]  because it leads to the mass impoverishment


[01:11:15:240]  of hundreds of millions of people around the world.


[01:11:20:220]  (woman) If you write to any of these companies,


[01:11:22:220]  they'll send you their Code of Conduct.


[01:11:24:170]  And it's beautiful, and it says, "Oh yes, we take responsibility


[01:11:28:240]  for the conditions under which our product is made,


[01:11:31:210]  the product that you buy.


[01:11:33:080]  All the factories where we produce,


[01:11:35:060]  we require them to respect the minimum-wage laws,


[01:11:39:100]  all of the laws of the country,


[01:11:41:090]  to respect women, not to hire children,


[01:11:45:100]  no forced labor,


[01:11:48:080]  no excessive overtime hours," all that stuff.


[01:11:53:140]  But when we submitted a bill in Congress a few years ago,


[01:11:58:060]  or worked with people to do that,


[01:12:00:200]  we called it "The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act,"


[01:12:05:000]  the companies responded in one voice,


[01:12:07:220]  "Oh no! That would be an impediment to free trade.


[01:12:10:180]  We can't have rules. We can't have that!"


[01:12:14:140]  They want to keep it with voluntary codes of conduct.


[01:12:18:100]  They've fought for, and they've won


[01:12:20:140]  laws to protect their stuff and their interests,


[01:12:25:050]  but what about the workers?


[01:12:26:180]  The workers are left with voluntary codes of conduct.


[01:12:29:100]  And what we see, in case, after case, after case,


[01:12:33:180]  is that those voluntary codes of conduct


[01:12:36:010]  are not worth the paper that they're written on.


[01:12:38:100]  We need to acknowledge, particularly in the fashion industry,


[01:12:42:010]  that human capital is part of this miraculous formula.


[01:12:46:180]  Without human capital, without cheap labor,


[01:12:50:080]  cheap female labor,


[01:12:51:220]  it would not be generating the profits that it is.


[01:12:56:060]  That needs to be acknowledged, it needs to be dealt with,


[01:12:59:190]  and those people need to be rewarded instead of exploited.


[01:13:03:090]  Where is their piece of the pie?


[01:13:05:050]  That's what we constantly have to ask ourselves.


[01:13:07:150]  Are those buyers immoral? or do they just don't, or are they amoral?


[01:13:11:170]  The system they're working for and the system that allows companies


[01:13:14:120]  to do this is amoral.


[01:13:16:020]  The individuals concerned are simply products of that system


[01:13:18:220]  and having to drive it through to its logical conclusion.


[01:13:21:090]  What we need to do is change the way those companies operate.


[01:13:25:210]  (narrator) Operating within a system that only measures profit,


[01:13:28:160]  companies have little incentive to do anything


[01:13:31:000]  other than to make this quarter better than the last.


[01:13:34:020]  No matter what damage is caused along the way.


[01:13:37:080]  As corporations that make up the global fashion industry,


[01:13:40:010]  major brands as well as seed and chemical companies,


[01:13:42:240]  are growing today to reach unprecedented global size and power.


[01:13:46:210]  This mandate for profit at all cost, is beginning to stand


[01:13:50:170]  in direct opposition to the values that we share.


[01:13:54:220]  Richard Wolff is an economist,


[01:13:56:120]  who after graduating from Harvard, Stanford and Yale,


[01:14:00:050]  became convinced that the real problem


[01:14:02:020]  is within this system itself.


[01:14:04:100]  So America became a peculiar country.


[01:14:08:100]  You could criticize the education system


[01:14:10:090]  to make the schools better.


[01:14:11:140]  You could criticize the transportation system


[01:14:13:150]  to make that work better.


[01:14:14:230]  You could crit--


[01:14:15:220]  But you couldn't criticize the economic system.


[01:14:18:190]  That got a free pass.


[01:14:21:010]  You couldn't criticize...


[01:14:23:050]  And if you don't criticize something for 50 years,


[01:14:25:180]  it rots, it goes to seed.


[01:14:28:170]  One of the ways a healthy society works


[01:14:30:150]  is it subjects its component systems to criticism,


[01:14:34:170]  so that we can debate it, and hopefully fix it,


[01:14:37:080]  or improve it or do better.


[01:14:39:090]  Capitalism couldn't be questioned.


[01:14:42:010]  Capitalism is the reason


[01:14:43:070]  the fashion industry looks as it does today.


[01:14:46:090]  It's the reason why workers in Bangladesh are paid so little.


[01:14:50:000]  Because if you're operating in a capitalist system,


[01:14:52:210]  the main thing you have to do is create profit


[01:14:56:010]  and you have to create more profit than your competitors.


[01:14:59:170]  And this is what drives companies


[01:15:01:150]  to push wages down, and down, and down.


[01:15:04:210]  But companies don't go-- like fashion retailers


[01:15:08:220]  don't go to places like Bangladesh, for any other reason except


[01:15:13:160]  they can get the cheapest labor possible.


[01:15:16:120]  There's no collective rights in Bangladesh,


[01:15:18:210]  there's no trade union rights,


[01:15:20:160]  there's a very, very low minimum wage,


[01:15:22:170]  there's no maternity benefits, there's no pensions,


[01:15:25:220]  that is why the fashion industry is in Bangladesh


[01:15:28:080]  because it can reap the biggest profits out of those people


[01:15:31:170]  that are making the clothes for them.


[01:15:33:150]  Before you can solve a problem, you have to admit you got one


[01:15:37:010]  and before we're going to fix an economic system


[01:15:39:070]  that's working this way, and producing such tensions


[01:15:42:130]  and inequalities and strains on our community,


[01:15:46:090]  we have to face the real scope of the problem we have


[01:15:50:090]  and that's with the system as a whole.


[01:15:53:000]  And at the very least,


[01:15:54:090]  we have to open up a national debate about it,


[01:15:57:020]  and at the most, I think we have to think long and hard


[01:16:00:160]  about alternative systems that might work better.


[01:16:03:140]  (John) For the environment, the great threat is that capital


[01:16:06:240]  must continue to expand infinitely in order to survive.


[01:16:11:080]  It can't have any limits on its expansion and its growth.


[01:16:15:030]  The natural world clearly does have limits.


[01:16:17:190]  There are very defined limits to how much the world can sustain


[01:16:21:110]  in terms of production, in terms of trade,


[01:16:23:230]  in terms of transport and distribution.


[01:16:26:100]  And it's quite clear that we have already overstepped


[01:16:28:230]  a lot of those limits, which is why you're seeing such stress


[01:16:32:040]  in the natural world at the moment.


[01:16:34:180]  (Tansy Hoskins) The system we live in isn't one


[01:16:36:150]  that most people want to live in.


[01:16:38:100]  I think it's a system that makes most people very unhappy,


[01:16:41:100]  and I don't think people want to live on a slowly dying planet


[01:16:44:200]  or to be exploiting their neighbors.


[01:16:48:110]  I think we need huge systemic change.


[01:16:52:080]  (Richard) If you don't change the system,


[01:16:54:210]  you're leaving intact


[01:16:57:150]  the decision-making of these enterprises,


[01:17:00:200]  which means a small group of executives and shareholders


[01:17:04:040]  are going to be working in the same system,


[01:17:06:180]  subject to the same pattern of rewards and punishments,


[01:17:09:180]  which will sooner or later make them reimpose,


[01:17:13:090]  there or elsewhere,


[01:17:15:000]  the very conditions you're fighting against.


[01:17:17:090]  So stop this stuff about improving their conditions,


[01:17:20:210]  deal with the system, or else you're not serious.


[01:17:25:030]  (Tim) Our economic system is one of consumer capitalism,


[01:17:28:060]  and that's why the government needs to have consumption


[01:17:33:000]  at very high levels,


[01:17:35:010]  and why, of course, the corporations do,


[01:17:37:010]  and why at some level most people then buy into it.


[01:17:40:120]  I can't tell you the number of people I talked to who say,


[01:17:42:200]  "Well, but if we became less materialistic our economy would tank."


[01:17:47:170]  Well, they're right in some level, because our economy


[01:17:52:180]  is based on materialism, it's based on these kinds of values.


[01:17:58:120]  That's what it needs in order to survive.


[01:18:01:110]  That's part of the fuel that it needs.


[01:18:04:070]  The problem is that comes at a really high price.


[01:18:07:060]  ♪ Black Friday's here, can we go please?


[01:18:10:100]  ♪ Go, go, go, go, go, shop, shop, shop, shop


[01:18:13:060]  (reporter) Black Friday shopping mania


[01:18:14:180]  still playing out tonight at malls across America.


[01:18:17:060]  In some places across this country tonight,


[01:18:19:080]  it's as if someone announced


[01:18:20:190]  we're in danger of running out of stuff,


[01:18:22:200]  and those who need stuff had better go out and buy it now


[01:18:25:180]  because it's going away forever.


[01:18:27:130]  (female reporter) Walmart, doing more than 10 million transactions


[01:18:30:140]  in the first four hours of the frenzy.


[01:18:32:180]  A record 15,000 people at Macy's in New York City, shoppers hung tough.


[01:18:38:090]  Black Friday will be the single largest day of the retail year.


[01:18:41:180]  Certainly in the case of Macy's-- we'll do more business on this day


[01:18:45:110]  than on any other day of the year.


[01:18:48:020]  Nation! This orgy of Christmas shopping proves America is back!


[01:18:53:030]  We are once again... Yes! (audience cheers)


[01:18:56:120]  Oh yes!


[01:18:58:190]  We are once again spending money we don't have


[01:19:02:180]  on things we don't need to give to people we don't like.


[01:19:06:060]  (audience cheers and claps)


[01:19:08:210]  USA! USA! USA! USA!


[01:19:13:190]  ♪ (music) ♪


[01:19:16:230]  (frenzied screams)


[01:19:19:060]  (male bystander) Oh my god!


[01:19:23:170]  ♪ I've kept my grip so tight


[01:19:28:030]  ♪ I won't let anyone get in my way


[01:19:32:120]  ♪ I want beautiful things


[01:19:35:080]  ♪ golden rings, golden rings


[01:19:39:120]  ♪ and I get what I want


[01:19:43:220]  ♪ I live just to get what I want


[01:19:46:210]  ♪ and I want it all, I want it all


[01:20:23:240]  (people screaming)


[01:20:38:170]  (heavy rain)


[01:20:43:220]  (raindrops drumming on roof)


[01:21:02:200]  (Shima speaking in Bengali)


[01:21:20:010]  (children playing)


[01:21:26:010]  (Shima) They love her a lot


[01:21:28:170]  and can possibly take better care of her than me.


[01:21:31:000]  Still, one thing makes me sad.


[01:21:33:120]  No matter how much someone loves her,


[01:21:35:180]  no one can love a child more than the parents.


[01:21:38:220]  I feel heartbroken.


[01:21:45:060]  ♪ (somber music) ♪


[01:21:56:020]  I don't want my daughter to have to work in a garment factory like me.


[01:22:03:040]  I feel bad, but I think I will be happy one day


[01:22:08:080]  when she has a good future.


[01:22:11:070]  She will be a good human being and people will say,


[01:22:15:010]  that even though Shima worked in a garment factory


[01:22:18:010]  and stayed in Dhaka, away from her child,


[01:22:21:130]  that she gave a good education to her child


[01:22:23:050]  and raised her as a good human being.


[01:22:24:170]  If she gets a good government job, or get married to a good man,


[01:22:28:060]  then people will say that and I would be very proud of that.


[01:22:35:120]  That yes, I struggled,


[01:22:37:220]  but I tried my best not to let her go through this.


[01:22:39:230]  That I raised her well.


[01:22:47:020]  (Larhea) I grew up on a farm, married a guy that grew up on a farm,


[01:22:50:220]  and those of us living on the farm live there.


[01:22:55:000]  It needs to be safe for us too.


[01:22:57:170]  The new chemicals that are coming out,


[01:22:59:130]  and the intensity of the use, was just continuing to increase.


[01:23:03:180]  And then in 2005,


[01:23:10:080]  Terry started having some loss of fine motor skills,


[01:23:13:110]  and this and that, and come to find out,


[01:23:15:110]  he had glioblastoma multiforme, Stage 4 brain tumor,


[01:23:20:050]  and at the prime age of 47 years old.


[01:23:25:050]  He died at the age of 50.


[01:23:27:050]  They gave us six months, we had two-and-a-half years


[01:23:29:180]  and the brain surgeon that worked on him,


[01:23:33:100]  Lubbock has got huge cancer clinics and a medical hub.


[01:23:39:160]  We didn't have to go someplace else to have a brain tumor surgery.


[01:23:42:090]  We were able to stay right here


[01:23:44:060]  because he does so many of them.


[01:23:46:080]  He said that these kinds of tumors are found in men, aged 45-65,


[01:23:50:070]  that work in the agricultural industry, or the oil field.


[01:23:55:150]  And so while I don't have a smoking gun, and the blood tests that say


[01:23:58:190]  the use of cotton chemicals, agricultural chemicals,


[01:24:04:030]  directly lead to my husband's death,


[01:24:06:160]  there's just too many linkages with his father's death.


[01:24:09:170]  Growing up on a chemically-intensive farm,


[01:24:11:180]  we live in the middle of 3.6 million acres of cotton


[01:24:14:190]  that use a lot of chemicals.


[01:24:16:140]  And so at that point in time,


[01:24:19:230]  organic was no longer important to me,


[01:24:23:110]  it was imperative.


[01:24:25:010]  It's imperative that we change agriculture.


[01:24:27:120]  It's imperative, if we're talking about the long-term sustainability


[01:24:31:030]  and well being of our lives on this planet,


[01:24:33:200]  and our children's lives on the planet,


[01:24:35:210]  that we have to change.


[01:24:39:080]  ♪ (soft music and nature sounds) ♪


[01:24:43:130]  (subway rumbling)


[01:25:01:060]  (Safia) This is the beginning of a turning point


[01:25:03:040]  not just for a responsible way of doing fashion,


[01:25:06:030]  but for a new way of doing capitalism,


[01:25:07:230]  for a new way of doing economics.


[01:25:10:090]  I'm sure that we will see a significant change


[01:25:15:130]  over the next ten years.


[01:25:17:200]  Whether it's in time or not, is another question.


[01:25:22:150]  (Tim) You know, Martin Luther King Jr.,


[01:25:24:050]  at a speech in a Brooklyn church, he said that


[01:25:26:180]  what America needed was a revolution of values.


[01:25:30:090]  It needed to stop treating people like things.


[01:25:33:100]  It needed to stop treating people in ways


[01:25:36:160]  that were just about profit.


[01:25:38:090]  But instead to treat people in a real, and human way.


[01:25:43:040]  (Richard) My god! We can do better than this!


[01:25:46:050]  If what we want is to spread, as I would argue we do,


[01:25:51:180]  spread industry around the world, not concentrated in one place.


[01:25:55:180]  Let the benefits be shared globally,


[01:26:00:050]  then let's do that in an orderly, reasonable, careful way.


[01:26:05:190]  (Vandana) We need to recognize that capital is just money.


[01:26:09:030]  Money is a means,


[01:26:10:150]  and people should be accountable for how it's used.


[01:26:13:120]  We need to celebrate the creative power of human beings.


[01:26:18:120]  And we need to talk of creative work,


[01:26:20:100]  we must stop talking about labor.


[01:26:22:190]  We need to look at the land as not a commodity,


[01:26:27:170]  to be speculated on and traded,


[01:26:29:230]  but as the very basis of our life, as Mother Earth.


[01:26:33:170]  (Lucy) You change all consumers into activists,


[01:26:37:060]  all consumers asking ethical questions,


[01:26:39:100]  all consumers asking quite simple questions about


[01:26:42:180]  where their clothes are from,


[01:26:44:110]  all consumers saying, "I'm sorry, it's not acceptable for someone to die


[01:26:48:170]  in the course of a working day."


[01:26:50:080]  We can just roll over and say, "Yes, have it. Do what you like."


[01:26:53:040]  It's too important, it's too significant an industry.


[01:26:56:040]  It has too much impact and effect on millions of people worldwide,


[01:27:00:200]  and common resources.


[01:27:02:200]  ♪ (somber music) ♪


[01:27:09:010]  (narrator) Will we continue to search for happiness


[01:27:11:010]  in the consumption of things?


[01:27:13:230]  Will we be satisfied with a system that makes us feel rich,


[01:27:17:130]  while leaving our world so desperately poor?


[01:27:20:200]  Will we continue to turn a blind eye


[01:27:22:190]  to the lives of those behind our clothes?


[01:27:25:060]  or will this be a turning point, a new chapter in our story,


[01:27:28:180]  when together, we begin to make a real change,


[01:27:31:230]  as we remember that everything we wear was touched by human hands.


[01:27:37:190]  In the midst of all the challenges facing us today,


[01:27:40:120]  for all the problems that feel bigger than us


[01:27:43:020]  and beyond our control,


[01:27:44:230]  maybe we could start here,


[01:27:46:220]  with clothing.


[01:27:56:080]  ♪ (upbeat music) ♪


[01:30:35:090]  ♪ (somber music) ♪




'A gripping and provocative film exposing the human and environmental costs of the global fashion industry. It is an invaluable tool for encouraging students to think critically about the global inequalities and social injustices of the production and consumption of 'fast fashion.' Fascinating interviews with people seeking solutions at all levels of the industry provide concrete ideas for taking social action.' Fran Mascia-Lees, Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University

'A vivid documentation of the labor and environmental cost of our pursuit of cheap clothes. The challenge it poses is direct: how can we stop this?...Allies (consumers), laws, and unions: these are the three pillars that support decent lives for workers. The True Cost reveals what our sisters and brothers endure without these supports. Global capitalism is the architecture that poses the challenge of our era. The keystone that will complete an arc that bends toward justice is workers' voice and power.' Robert J.S. Ross, Dissent Magazine

'This is the very best of all the documentaries I have seen about the fashion industry...The filmmakers show how clothing companies waste the lives of young women in the 'third world.' Their greed also threatens the 'first world' in a way that ultimately threatens the planet. This is a film you must see!' Ellen Rosen, Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, Author, Making Sweatshops: The Globalization of the U.S. Apparel Industry

'Workers unions in the United States have lost a lot of muscle they struggled so hard to acquire in the last century, and watching The True Cost makes it very clear what a slippery slope that is...You owe it to yourself to watch it, especially if you have a fast-fashion habit. Your bank account and the environment will be grateful.' Abigail Lewis, Whole Life Times Magazine

'A holistic examination of the economic, environmental, and human costs of the clothing industry. We hear from voices of scholars and industry representatives that defend the current model, and a range of voices of critics, including workers fighting for better conditions to entrepreneurs trying to develop a sustainable model, and scholars who argue the entire system of 'free trade' and capitalism must be challenged. Educators and students will find this a valuable resource.' Stephanie Luce, Professor of Labor Studies, The City University of New York, Author, Labor Movements: Global Perspectives

'A compelling educational tool that makes a significant contribution in training the next generation of the fashion industry and fashion consumers. Through powerful storytelling the film opens up a complete picture of the industry, much of which has been hidden from view until now.' Dr. Timo Rissanen, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and Sustainability, Parsons School of Design at The New School, Co-Author, Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes

'The ugliness beneath the glamour is exposed by this vitally important documentary...It is to be hoped that it will be seen by many and the all-important word will get out about a vital matter we all literally carry on our backs every day.' David Noh, Film Journal International

'An important incitement to action for consumers, students, and employees of the fashion industry. I know of no other documentary that confronts the social, cultural, and environmental impacts of fast fashion so comprehensively or compellingly.' Brent Luvaas, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Drexel University, Author, Street Style: An Ethnography of Fashion Blogging, and DIY Style: Fashion, Music, and Global Digital Cultures

'Under the gentle, humane investigations of its director, Andrew Morgan, what emerges most strongly is a portrait of exploitation that ought to make us more nauseated than elated over those $20 jeans...The True Cost stirs and saddens.' Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

'The wearing of clothing is something we each participate in daily, hence the importance of understanding the 'True Cost' is paramount. This film should be a mandatory requirement for viewing in every college Apparel Merchandising and Design Program.' Dr. Connie Ulasewicz, Professor of Apparel Design and Merchandising, San Francisco State University, Author, Sustainable Fashion: What's Next?

'The True Cost: A Fashion Documentary shows that there's a human price to pay for bargain shopping. Prepare to be shocked...This is the most moving documentary I've watched in a long time and I highly recommend it.' Katherine Martinko, Treehugger

'True Cost illuminates critical issues and informs us of the challenges the fashion industry and its consumers face today in a truly genuine way. The inimitable field work discovers the impact the fashion productions have on our environment. This thought-provoking film makes us contemplate the complex issues surrounding our current state of our consumption, both for the individual and for the future betterment of society.' Dr. Jay Yoo, Associate Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Baylor University

'It unravels the grim, gritty, global supply chain of fast fashion: a system that has injected the type of speed, disposability and price deflation that has directly led to the worst casualties in the industrial age.' Lucy Siegle, The Guardian

'This movie helps fashion professionals and customers better understand the true cost, both environmental and social, of apparel products. It demonstrates why we must take immediate action to move towards a sustainable development of fashion industry.' Dr. Huantian Cao, Professor and Co-Director of Sustainable Apparel Initiative, University of Delaware

'Morgan does the necessary work of a true muckraker, taking on one of the ubiquitous issues that we'd perhaps prefer to ignore - the kind that too often go untouched by major news organizations.' Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

'Ambitious...There's lots of solid material here.' Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

'This documentary makes it clear why cute little dresses for $9.95 really are a 'steal'...Eye-opening...It will change the way you shop.' Jennifer Merin, Women's eNews

'Truly eye-opening' Julie Kosin, Harpers Bazaar

'This film should be required viewing for anyone interested in the fashion industry - or anyone who wears clothes, really.' Eliza Brooke, Fashionista

'The True Cost has important things to say, and says them straightforwardly and convincingly.' Genevieve Koski, The Dissolve

'Helps bring America's obsession with material goods into perspective in quite a terrifying way...A great documentary.' MoviefiedNYC


Cannes Film Festival
Santa Fe Film Festival
Napa Valley Film Festival
Melbourne Environmental Film Festival
Festival des Libertes
Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Fest
Global Peace Film Festival
CNEX Film Festival
Sustainable Living Film Festival, Turkey


Main credits

Morgan, Andrew (screenwriter)
Morgan, Andrew (film director)
Morgan, Andrew (narrator)
Ross, Michael (film producer)
Ross, Michael (film editor)
Siegle, Lucy (interviewee)

Other credits

Original music, Duncan Blickenstaff; editor, Michael Ross.

Distributor credits

Michael Ross

Andrew Morgan

Michael Ross
Andrew Morgan
Associate Producer: Laura Piety
Sound Mix and Design: Michael Flow
Co-Executive Producers: Livia Firth, Lucy Siegle, Vincent Vittorio, Christopher L. Harvey
Original Music: Duncan Blickenstaff
An Untold Production in association with Life is My Movie Entertainment

Docuseek subjects

Agriculture and Food
Cultural Anthropology
Economic Anthropology
Business Ethics
Labor Studies
Retail Sector
Toxic Chemicals
Human Rights
Women's Studies
Textiles Sector
Environmental Justice
Environmental Health
Illness, Disease and Disorders
Toxic Waste
Working Conditions
Occupational Health and Safety
Corporate Social Responsibility
Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism
Human Rights
Race and Racism
Global / International Studies
Communication and Media Studies
Journalism and the Press
Media Literacy
Environmental Education
South Asia
United States
East Asia
Southeast Asia
Climate Change
Asian Studies

Distributor subjects

Business Practices
Climate Change/Global Warming
Fair Trade
Human Rights
International Studies
Labor and Work Issues
Marketing and Advertising
Social Justice
Toxic Chemicals
Women's Studies


fast fashion, decreasing costs, increasing human and environmental costs, clothes, impact of fashion industry, Stella McCartney, Livia Firth, Vandana Shiva, Richard Wolff, Orsola de Castro, Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, sweatshops, low wages, Safia Minney, People Tree, fair trade, garment workers, Dhaka, organic cotton, GMO cotton, BT cotton, Monsanto, India, farmer suicides, H&M, "Forever 21", consumptionism, Christina Dean, Haiti, secondhand clothing, Patagonia, Swallows, LaRhea Pepper, living wage, Cambodia, Mu Sochua, trade union rights, Tansy Hoskins, materialism; "The True Cost"; Bullfrog Films,doc,env; sociss

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