BIG FASHION: refers to multinational corporations that generate constant high levels of clothing production whether their brands are high street or high end. Based on the use of the term ‘Big Oil’ by climate movements, ‘Big Fashion’ points to the terrible social and environmental consequences of the dominance of large corporations who are in ultimate control of the industry. These corporations exercise power, through their purchasing practices, that force suppliers across the world to meet damagingly low prices.

CAPITALISM: a social and economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Corporate capitalism refers to an economy dominated by hierarchical and bureaucratic corporations that own and control the factors of production and the amount of profits they generate. It is also characterised by corporations and corporate interest groups having undue influence and power to distort democratic processes, and shape policies that harm the public good to preference investor interests.

DEGROWTH: a set of theories that critique the concept of unsustainable and unequitable economic growth, emphasising the need to reduce global consumption and production in certain areas while advocating a socially just and ecologically sustainable society.

ECOSYSTEMS: are all the living things in an area and the way they relate to and affect each other and the environment and have a certain level of resilience to damage or but beyond a certain point ecological breakdown is the drastic, and potentially permanent, reduction or collapse of capacity of ecosystems to sustain themselves, for example water that can no longer sustain life for organisms or species.

EXPLOITATION: the exploitation of workers in the fashion industry includes long working hours, low wages, no breaks, no paid holiday or sick pay, no contracts protecting pay and conditions. It can also include working with hazardous materials and dyes, banning of trade unions, instant dismissal and poor working conditions including overcrowding and in unsafe buildings. It can be described in terms of modern-day slavery, forced labour and child labour.

EXTRACTIVISM: is a highly destructive model of economic development based on the intensive and mass removal of natural resources such as metals, minerals, fossil fuels, land and water for production and profit, mostly by corporations in the global North.

FAIR SHARES: a method that enables us to find out what climate action should be taken based on: the total amount of greenhouse gases that may yet be emitted globally, before we are most at risk of irreversible and accelerated change; the responsibility of the country based on the total amount of greenhouse gases already emitted; the capability of that country, referring to existing resources, and ability to act, and the country’s right to develop sustainably. At its core is the principle of equity, historical responsibility and respective capacities. It is a key principle by climate justice groups in their advocacy from the carbon budget to climate finance.

FOOD SOVEREIGNTY: an alternative food system based on the fundamental right of all peoples, nations and states to control food and agricultural systems and policies, ensuring everyone has adequate, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. The principles of food sovereignty were declared in 1996 as a result of peasants’ movement struggles from around the world, particularly in the global South. Six main principles define the concept of food sovereignty: it focuses on food for people (right to food), values food providers, localises food systems, puts control over land, water and other natural resources on food producers, builds knowledge and skills of producers and works with nature (peasant agroecology).

FORMAL SECTOR: the formal economy has an organised system of employment with clear written rules of recruitment, agreement and job responsibilities. It has a standardised relationship between the employer and the employee maintained through a formal contract.

GDP (GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT): is the monetary value of all finished goods and services made within a country during a specific period, it is used to estimate the size of an economy and growth rate.

GLOBALISATION: is the process by which businesses or other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.

GREENWASHING: describes a false, misleading or untrue action or set of claims made by a corporation or organization about the positive impact that a company, product or service has on the environment.

HETEROPATRIARCHY: the dominance of heterosexual men in a society or culture.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: refers to descendants of the earliest inhabitants of a place before colonialisation who share collective history with the land or natural resources where they live or have been displaced from. The land and natural resources are often very important to their identities, cultures, livelihoods.

INFORMAL SECTOR: Workers in the informal economy are not recognized, registered, regulated or protected under labour legislation and social protection. Work is often characterized by small or undefined workplaces, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, low levels of skills and productivity, low or irregular incomes, long working hours and lack of access to information, markets, finance, training and technology.

JUST TRANSITION: originally understood as a framework encompassing a range of social interventions needed to secure workers’ rights and livelihoods when shifting from harmful production. Increasingly now referred to as a set of principles, processes and practises that build the economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a just and equitable regenerative and sustainable economy that guarantees people the right to live with dignity and in harmony with the planet.

LIVING WAGE: a living wage differs from country to country but should ensure that working people can earn enough to meet all of their daily needs and expenses and have discretionary income left over to ensure well-being and invest in their own or their children’s future. A minimum wage is a legally stipulated amount that a person must be paid but it is not necessarily an amount calculated to be a living wage level.

LOSS AND DAMAGE: a general term used in UN climate negotiations to refer to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what can be mitigated against, or that people can adapt to, or when options exist but a community doesn’t have the resources to access or utilize them. Loss and damage can result from both extreme weather events likes cyclones, droughts and heatwaves, as well as slow-onset changes such as sea level rise, desertification, glacial retreat, land degradation, ocean acidification and salinization. Loss and Damage is now understood as addressing the loss and damage from climate impacts that are unavoided or unavoidable and can be both economic and non-economic.

NEOLIBERALISM: a political doctrine on how politics and the economy should be organised. It prioritises the maximisation of profits for shareholders through policies of free-market capitalism, deregulation, privatisation, lowering of trade barriers, and reduction in the power of the State including reduction of government spending through austerity measures.

PATENT: is a form of intellectual property which gives exclusive rights to make, use, or sell an invention or design for a certain number of years.

RACE TO THE BOTTOM: is a term used to describe the progressive lowering or deterioration of standards, in an effort to win business when there is intense competition between companies or countries.

RACIALISED CAPITALISM: a concept that stresses the mutual dependence and development of capitalism and racism across history, from slavery and colonialism to mass incarceration and the racist global division of labour.

SACRIFICE ZONES: originating within the Environmental Justice movement to define populated areas primarily of people of colour, Indigenous or low income with high levels of pollution and environmental hazards, thanks to the deliberate siting of nearby toxic or polluting industrial facilities. These areas are called “sacrifice zones” because the health and safety of people in these communities is being effectively sacrificed for the economic gains and prosperity of others. It has also come to be understood as a wider concept that posits the idea of expendable people and geographies in particular of the global South as a core tenet of both past and present colonial and neo-colonial policies.

SOCIALLY USEFUL WORK: as a concept, socially useful work has productive meaning and value to both the worker and to the wider community, orientated around need as opposed to jobs that focus only on producing profit.

SUPPLY CHAIN/S: the sequence of processes, and companies, involved in the production and distribution of a commodity.

STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAMMES: are economic policies that have been promoted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) since the early 1980s whereby loans are conditional on the adoption of such policies.

TRADE LIBERALISATION: removes or reduces barriers to trade among countries such as tariffs and quotas, encouraging free trade. Trade liberalisation can benefit stronger economies but put weaker economies at a greater disadvantage.

UNEQUAL EXCHANGE THEORY: refers to an economic theory primarily developed by Arghiri Emmanuel and Samir Amin which states that economic growth in the ‘advanced economies’ of the Global North relies on vast quantities of resources and labour being extracted from the Global South. These resources are extracted through price differentials in international trade, which allow for them to be extracted in an almost invisible manner – this invisibility is important because it gives the appearance of no colonial coercion and so does not provoke moral outrage even while it causes global inequality, uneven development, and ecological breakdown. This report draws heavily on the work of Jason Hickel and team in putting a figure to the value of this extraction, which you will find in Chapter Two.137

  • 137Hickel J. Dorninger C. Wieland H. Suwandi I. Imperialist appropriation in the world economy: Drain from the global South through unequal exchange1990–2015. Global Environmental Change vol 73. 1 March 2022.