A Pair of Jeans

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Fairness and economy are illustrated with the example of the way a pair of jeans begins with cotton grown in Africa, then is manufactured before it is sent to a shop in your country. There are documentaries available that illustrate this. Textile manufacturing is increasingly globalized industry. The primary countries for production of jeans are: Bangladesh, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, and Tunisia

Time 30-60 minutes

Material room, paper and pens

Group Size 5-30 people

Keywords global learning, sustainability, fair trade, consious consumerism



The aim is to raise awareness on the unfair conditions of worldwide collaboration as well as on the resource intensive global production.


The example of a pair of Jeans illustrates the global trade.

1. The way of a pair of jeans

  • Present the journey of a pair of jeans.
  • Ask, what your participants know about this topic.
  • Discuss in which way this production style might have an impact on
    • people and
    • environment?

2. Production conditions

The reasons that certain countries are favored for production usually entail:

  • disregard of workers’ rights
  • workers are often women and children
  • very long working hours (> 60 hrs. / Week) and low wages (not enough to cover basic needs)
  • poor safety and hygiene conditions
  • discrimination against women (they earn less than men).


  • Ask, how participants consider working conditions in their consumptive decisions.
  • Discuss, what would be fair conditions? What has fairness to do with sustainability?
  • How different are the environmental and working conditions in their country?

3. Value added chain of a pair of jeans

  • Look at the value added chain. What is surprising? What did you expect?
  • Where are the "adjusting screws" for making trade and consumption more fair and sustainable?

4. Conclusions

  • Ask, what kind of measures the actors within the society could and should undertake. In example:
    • Consumers
    • Activists/Civil Socoiety Organizations
    • National regulation
    • International regulation
    • Companies


  • Arpine Galfayan, Sebastian Wehrsig, Nils-Eyk Zimmermann: Environment and Civil Involvement; How Can We Connect Sustainable Development Education and Active Citizenship Empowerment? ISBN 978-3-944012-01-8 Online
  • Data: Denimtarian

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. He writes and works on the topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Coordinator of European projects, in example DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship, DARE network.

Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience.
Email: nils.zimmermann@dare-network.eu