In 2015, the BMA Medical Fair and Ethical Trade group convened to tackle labour rights abuse in the medical (disposable) gloves manufacturing industry. Their report “In Good Hands. Tackling labor rights concerns in the manufacture of medical gloves”, highlights that at present this sector should be considered at high risk of labour rights abuse. Download the full BMA report here.
The manufacture of disposable gloves is a large global industry that produces in the region of 150 billion pairs of glove per year, with a market value of over USD $5 billion. Disposable gloves are primarily used in the healthcare and food industries, with the leading regions of export to the USA, EU and Japan.
Factories manufacturing disposable gloves are largely found in Malaysia and Thailand, with a handful of other Asian countries, and are reliant on migrant workers.
In recent years there have been a number of investigations of labour conditions in the disposable glove industry revealing endemic and serious labour rights abuse of workers in factories. These include both factories manufacturing for small glove suppliers and those manufacturing for major international brands.
“The manufacture of disposable gloves is at high risk of labour rights abuse.”
The report also suggests that those who use, procure, supply, or manufacture medical (disposable) gloves instigate policies and practices to protect workers in the industry.
Those involved in the supply chain for medical disposable gloves have the power, and some of the responsibility, to protect workers in their supply chain. This includes manufacturers, suppliers, purchasing organizations and end-users.
Suppliers of disposable gloves have the moral and legal obligation to source products from factories with a commitment to workers rights.
Most recently, like-minded companies are boycotting the Dhaka Apparel Summit over their worker treatment issues. Companies taking part in this boycott and who represent billions of dollars in trade hope that the move will highlight the seriousness of the situation. Bangladesh relies heavily on the garment industry, which constitutes 80 percent of the country’s exports.
The Dhaka Apparel Summit is an opportunity for global partners to discuss building a more sustainable apparel supply chain and is designed to attract a wide spectrum of attendees, including government representatives, economists, brands, employers and workers' representatives.
Users of disposable gloves also have the power to affect change in this industry, questioning suppliers and demanding transparency in the supply chain of disposable glove manufacturing.
“Users of disposable gloves also have the power to affect change in this industry, questioning suppliers and demanding transparency in the supply chain of disposable glove manufacturing.”
Eagle Protect is the world’s only B Corp certified disposable glove and clothing specialist. All our factories are audited regularly, following our Supplier Code of Conduct, and we are proudly on the journey towards Child Labor Free* certification for our core range of products. Child Labor Free conduct independent unannounced spot audits on all aspects of labor conditions, especially child labor.
We are committed to transparency in our supply chain and are endeavouring to partner with businesses that care enough about their products, their reputation, their staff and their customers, by sourcing their disposable glove and clothing responsibly.
Why not choose a supplier like Eagle Protect for your disposable goods. Visit our online store today for a wide range of product to suit your business needs.
*The organisation behind Child Labor Free has ceased offering accreditation renewal, effective December 2020.