Shein investing $70m to “empower” third party suppliers after work hour breaches

Shein will invest $70 million over the next five years to “empower” third party manufacturing suppliers, their workers and their families.

This builds on a previous investment in the Supplier Community Empowerment Programme (SCEP), which was announced last year following allegations of malpractice. A documentary by Channel 4 claimed that employees worked 18-hour days and earned a few pennies per garment made.

Shein admitted that working hours at two of its supplier factories broke local rules.

Through the programme, the online fashion retailer aims to provide training for workers and upgrade facilities, as well as provide services for the communities within the supplier ecosystem.

Around $40 million will be spent on a centre of innovation for garment manufacturing (CIGM), which Shein claims will create a more sustainable production ecosystem. It will use automated guided vehicles to increase the efficiency of the production process.

The CIFM will also act as a training hub for technicians.

Shein will invest around $10 million in the communities within its supply chain. This will include accommodation, leisure facilities and canteens for over 40,000 workers.

Over $5 million will be put towards 60 childcare centres to provide fre childcare for workers. Shein said 10 of these centres will be rolled out in 2023.

Commenting on the news Adam Whinston, global head of environmental and social governance (ESG) at Shein, said: “The supplier community is the foundation for the sustainable development of the fashion ecosystem, and Shein will continue its efforts to empower this group, deepening the industry’s innovation capabilities, and promoting on-demand and lean production models for a more sustainable industry.”

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