In an article on the designs of Orsola de Castro, the founder of From Somewhere, UK’s Telegraph reports on the garment industry in Sri Lanka with reference to the Hirdaramani garment factory, Agalawatta.
The factory, which was built in 2008, also showcases Sri Lanka's new drive to become the 'world's number-one ethical apparel sourcing destination', the report said.
When you walk in, you don't see cramped, stiflingly hot darkness, child labour and a floor littered with rubbish - the stereotypical symbols of sweatshops. You see skylights, airy space and views of mango and banana trees. You still see rows of sewing machines, of course - a factory is a factory, after all - and some 675 machinists produce about 16,000 pieces a day. There are T-shirts, polo shirts and sweatshirts for such brands as Tesco, M&S, Decathlon, Tommy Hilfiger, Bhs. The machinists are paid slightly more than the industrial average - 8,000 rupees a month (£50); the minimum wage is 7,850 rupees a month, the Telegraph said.
This factory was awarded the Leed Gold Award in 2008 (Leader in Energy and Environmental Development, a rating system developed by the US Green Building Council). Four factories in Sri Lanka have the award. 'I don't think any other apparel factories in the world have this certification,' says Suzanne Loker, a Cornell professor of textiles and apparel, and the author of a forthcoming paper, Evaluating social and environmental responsibility practices in Sri Lanka.
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