Just-in-Time Transition? Industrial sustainability, decent work, and the production of climate precarity in the Cambodian garment industry

by Laurie Parsons, Sabina Lawreniuk, Sok Serey and Joe Buckley

The British Academy
Number of pages

The global apparel industry is the world’s second most polluting. As consumer anxieties about climate crisis grow, major brands are pledging to speed transition to a low-carbon economy by reducing emissions and environmental degradation, making bold commitments to improve sustainability. Nevertheless, these programs are directed primarily to mitigation of carbon emissions and environmental pollutants. By contrast, climate adaptation has been largely ignored in corporate strategy. Decarbonisation programs in the garment sector therefore engage little with how structural changes to the industry impact worker livelihoods and shape their exposure to climate change. More broadly, this reflects a lack of research and policy on the crucial question of how climate change impacts industrial workers. Our project will build on recently completed projects to highlight how industrial processes and practices shape garment workers’ vulnerability to climate change in Cambodia: a key manufacturer of UK garments and among the world’s most climate vulnerable countries.

Sign up to our email newsletters