social sustainability

Let's take care of each other

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Social sustainability is an important part of sustainability in general.

A company or society that acts in a socially sustainable manner helps to improve people's quality of life and well-being.

We all have a responsibility to consciously act in a socially sustainable manner in our everyday lives in order to create a fair and inclusive society.

It is important that we are aware of how our actions affect society and that we actively work for positive change.

What does social sustainability mean?

Unfortunately, compared to ecological sustainability, this aspect often seems to be less in focus. Social sustainability deals with one of the most important issues - namely the responsibility towards our fellow human beings.

Problems such as poverty, hunger, forced and child labor do not exist in a socially sustainable world.

Instead, there is equal opportunity and justice for all (this includes equal opportunities for young men, girls and women).

Fair working conditions

This also includes the creation of optimal and humane working conditions. There is (currently) no general definition of decent working conditions.

Rather, the subject includes various declarations and rights, which are defined by the United Nations.

The United Nations International Labor Organization ( ILO ) has adopted eight core labor standards that define basic labor rights.

And although these core labor standards have been adopted by 140 countries and are therefore legally binding, they are still violated every day.

Minimum wage ≠ living wage

Fair working conditions also mean that everyone should be entitled to fair pay (in particular, equal pay for equal work).

It is important to distinguish between minimum wage and living wage. In many countries, the statutory minimum wage is not sufficient to secure a livelihood.

So get detailed information here. This also includes occupational health and safety laws and clear rules regarding, for example, work and break times.

Fast fashion as an alternative to social sustainability

Other goals of social sustainability include access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities, the opportunity for education and work, and access to health care.

So social sustainability is the exact opposite of fast fashion. Each of the points listed is a huge problem in the fast fashion industry and the goal must be to eliminate these problems as quickly as possible and, above all, in the long term.

Examples of today's problems with social sustainability

The textile industry is one of the industries where social sustainability is particularly important. Unfortunately, there are also many examples of problems with social sustainability.

One of the biggest challenges in the textile industry is the exploitation of workers. In developing countries in particular, workers are often employed under inhumane conditions and receive low wages. There are many reports of factories where workers are forced to work overtime without being paid adequately or where child labor occurs. A well-known example is the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed over 1,100 people, most of them garment workers.

Another problem in the textile industry is inequality and discrimination among workers. Women are often paid less than men and have fewer opportunities for advancement. Minorities face discrimination and have a difficult time finding employment in the industry. Working conditions are also often unequal. In many factories there are no regular working hours and workers are not entitled to paid vacation or sick days.

Another problem in the textile industry is the disregard for workers' rights. Many workers do not have access to unions or other forms of employee representation. This means that they have no opportunity to represent their interests or fight for their rights. Some countries also have laws that allow employers to ban strikes and demonstrations.

Finally, there are also many examples of human rights violations in the textile industry. Particularly in countries with authoritarian regimes, workers are often oppressed and have limited opportunities to enforce their rights. Child labor also remains a problem in some countries.

However, these problems are not limited to the textile industry. They occur in many industries and countries and require a comprehensive effort to resolve them. It is important that consumers and businesses work together to ensure social sustainability is considered in all aspects of business.

But I don't have any influence on all the points?!

Yes you have. We all have.

For example, we can decide to buy more fair trade or organic products - the former ensure fair working conditions and pay, while organic products not only have a positive effect on our environment, but also have a positive effect on the health of workers, since eg no pesticides or similar are used.

Depending on which products we consume and thus which companies we support, we have a great influence on these factors.

Even if we generally act in a more resource-saving manner, we have a positive influence on the lives of people in the manufacturing countries, because less has to be produced there.

Again, don't think you have to turn your life upside down. Just try to be aware of your consumption, to reuse things and maybe just do without some things.