Fair trade award for Aberdeen academic shining a light on worker injustice

A University of Aberdeen academic who has made it his life's work to improve the lives of garment workers in Bangladesh has been honoured with a prestigious national fair trade award.

As a boy, Professor Muhammad Azizul Islam witnessed the tough life faced by garment workers in Dhaka. Now, his research, teaching and campaigning is giving a voice to the millions of unheard garment workers across Bangladesh and other nations.

Together with academic, NGO and policy partners, Professor Islam’s team is enabling policy change to ensure that profits are not made at the expense of people.

This evidence base provides solid grounds for the introduction of the Bill for a Fashion Watchdog to regulate the supply chain and abolish exploitation of garment workers in the global South.

Chair in Accountancy at the University’s Business School, Professor Islam also drives change by embedding sustainability accounting and corporate governance & accountability to respect human rights into the learning curriculum within the University and has created free online learning resources.

In recognition of his work, Professor Islam has been named winner of the Fair Trade and Sustainability category in the Scottish Fair Trade Awards 2022.

“I am truly honoured to have received this prestigious award,” he said. “It is extremely humbling for my work to be recognised in this way and I am committed to continuing to highlight unfair trading practices and driving change through impactful research to make workers lives better around the world.”

Professor Haina Zhang, Head of the University of Aberdeen Business School, said: “This is fantastic recognition for Professor Islam’s work which is making a valuable contribution to sustainability initiatives while making a tangible difference to people’s lives.”