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Does the shoe fit? An overview of global shoe production

Similar to the garment industry, links in the supply chain of the shoe production has become increa-ingly global since the 1970s. Footwear production has declined in Europe but remains relevant for the European consumption. Production is gene-rally moving to so-called low-income countries. This is due to the fact that some elements of shoe production are extremely labor-intensive, especially in the early production stages. Several areas of shoe production, such as sewing the uppers are still manufactured only by manual labor and often by homework.

This can be very cost-intensive in regulated labour markets, where wage and labour standards are higher. In unregulated labour markets, such as in India, homeworkers responsible for the most labour intensive aspects of shoe production are often among the most precarious workers subjected to insecure and unprotected work, very little pay and unsafe w orking conditions.

This fact sheet provides a brief overview of global shoe production, the serious consequences it has on human rights and the environment, and what changes are urgently needed.

Article number: 2015-19
Year of publication: 2015
Number of pages: 10 
Author: Anton Pieper