Posts Tagged ‘unsafe working conditions

18
May
13

Reform follows Bangladesh tragedies except Wal-Mart refuses to sign up

Walmart refuses to join worker safety deal | Business | The Guardian. There have been three tragedies in the last six months in garment factories in Bangladesh. First, 112 garment workers perished when a fire erupted and the doors and windows were locked closed at the Tazreen factory on November 29, 2012, then in January, 2013 another fire at Smart Export garments killed seven women, several of them teenagers, and then the Rana Building collapse on April 24, 2013, which killed 1,127 garment workers. Since these tragedies (and the subsequent riots that they evoked), the Bangladesh government is now allowing unions to form without first getting the consent of the owner. Plus, there has been a contract with retailers and Bangladesh (this has been in the works for years, undercut by Wal-Mart two years ago [see my link Wal-Mart tightens up on suppliers/Profits Over Safety], but it has finally come into fruition) with a number of the biggest retailers signing, including H & M, which is Bangladesh’s largest import buyer.

The Contract

What is the contract? The contract is a legally binding agreement that will require rigorous and independent safety inspections of factories with public reports and mandatory repairs. Also, the costs of the repairs and improvements will be made by the Western retailers up to $500,000  a year. Plus, these businesses must stop doing business with any factory that refuses to make safety improvements. The retailers that have signed the agreement: H & M, Inditex (owner of Zara’s), Primarc, Tesco, C & A, Abercrobie & Fitch, PVH (Calvin Klein), Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD, Tchibo Saitsbury, Topshop, Benetton, Carrefour, and Mango. See the top link for names of more of the U.K. retailers that have signed the agreement.

The Holdouts

The following retailers have not committed to the contract for improved safety conditions: (U.S.) Wal-Mart, Gap, Target, J.C. Penny, Sears, Children’s Place, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, (U.K.) Matalan, Peacocks, River Island. The Gap has not signed because it wants more protection from being sued. (I don’t think Bangladesh will relent on this, the Gap can always use the old Walmart ploy – it’s called the blind eye ploy – we don’t really follow our subcontractors, so we are not liable). The Gap has 78 factories in Bangladesh, but Wal-Mart has 279 factories, and says they already have their own rules to conduct safety inspections – but it only requires inspection of 60% of the factories. Wal-Mart, also, has a large team of experienced lawyers that fight off these types of lawsuits all the time, see link: Walmart’s legal disputes from Hastings Law.

Should We Care if Companies sign the Agreement and Should we Buy Clothing From Bangladesh

“Consumers could help pressure retailers to switch orders from Bangladesh, which would bring about change”, says Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “We have seen it in the case of ‘blood diamonds’, how when consumers become aware and avoid purchasing diamonds that are not sourced properly then the industry is forced to change.” (Maybe they should call it ‘Blood clothing’?)

Blood clothing

Blood clothing

Babul Akhter, head of Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Federation said “Garment entrepreneurs are above the law here. There is hardly an example of an owner being prosecuted for this kind of outright murder.” He added: “The Western retailers are also complicit because they give a blind eye to the manufacturers shoddy practices.” I think the answer to the question of buying from Bangladesh is no.

Childhood Labor

This subject (of childhood labor) has been ignored in all of the reporting on the Bangladesh disasters. And in this most recent collapse, there is no mention of how many underage children were killed in the collapse. That is because it is a touchy subject. In the “formal garment factories”, there are not supposed to be any underage workers. The Bangladesh Factory Act sets a minimum age of 14 years of age and hazardous work must be 18 years of age. The interpretation of hazardous is quite varied, some think it means continual hazards. Then the “formal garment factory” are very few – they are kind of like the Manhattan executive buildings. Many formal, if not all, subcontract and this is where the informal garment workers labor. (Probably like within the Rana building). Based on 2012 statistics, there are 42.4 million Bangladesh children (between ages 5 and 17 years of age).  Of these 42.4 Million children, 5 million are working full time (most working 6 days a week and 56.2% working more than 40 hours per week), and a half million children work and go to school (they average 5 – 19 hours per week). Children work in the following disciplines: 52.7% in Agriculture, 14.6% in manufacturing, 14.2% in trading and 18.5% others. In the garment manufacturing, children under 14 do jobs like thread cutting, machine cleaning, hand stitching and dyeing, older children – weaving and button stitching, sometimes embroidery and printing. Based on the data, it would seem that about 20 -25% of informal garment workers are underage. That would mean approximately 250 underage workers perished in the Rana building collapse. If you don’t like buying clothing made by children, then stop buying from certain countries, especially from East Asian countries like: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and China.  We have turned a blind eye for too long. And the media continues to bury the truth. Maybe some day we will awaken. Say No to Blood Clothing. Buy American.

Reference

Child Labor in the Informal Garment Production in Bangladesh

07
May
13

Socially responsible shopping poses challenge

Bangladesh disaster: Socially responsible shopping poses challenge – Boulder Daily Camera. As a follow up on the fall down of the Rana Building In Bangladesh, the second disaster in Bangladesh garment factories in five months, comes the follow up question: How do you buy “ethically made” clothing? The article was published on April 30, 2013 in the Boulder Daily Camera and on May 5, 2013 in the Mercury News.

‘Ethically made’ Clothing poses challenge

Few Options for consumers after Bangladesh disaster by Anne D’Innocenzio (Associated Press)

New York – You can recycle your waste, grow your own food and drive a fuel-efficient car. But being socially responsible isn’t so easy when it comes to the clothes on your back.

Take Jason and Alexandra Lawrence, of Lyons, Colo. They eat locally grown food that doesn’t have to be transported from far-flung states. They fill up their diesel-powered Volkswagen and Dodge pickup with vegetable-based oil. They even bring silverware to a nearby coffeehouse to avoid plastic utensils.

But when it comes to making sure that their clothes are made in factories that are safe for workers, the couples fall short.

“Clothing is one of our more challenging practices,” says Jason Lawrence, 35, who mostly buys secondhand. “I don’t want to travel around the world to see where my pants come from.” (Cop out – Blog Editor’s note, he just refuses to see.)

Last month’s building collapse in Bangladesh that killed hundreds of clothing factory workers (over 1100) put a spotlight on the fact that people in poor countries often risk their lives working in unsafe factories to make the inexpensive garments Westerners covet.

The disaster, which comes after a fire in another Bangladesh factory killed 112 people in November, also highlights something just as troubling for socially conscious shoppers: It’s nearly impossible to make sure the clothes you buy come from factories with safe working conditions. (I disagree with that last statement. -Ed.)

Few companies sell clothing that’s “ethically made,” or marketed as being made in factories that maintain safe working conditions. In fact, ethically made clothes make up just 1% of the overall $3 trillion global fashion industry.

It’s even more difficult to figure out if your clothes are made in safe factories if you’re buying from retailers that don’t specifically market their clothes as ethically made. Major chains typically use a complex web of suppliers in countries such as Bangladesh, which often contract business to other factories. That means the retailers don’t always know the origin of clothes made overseas. (And they don’t want to know. -Ed.)

And even a “Made in USA” label only provides a small amount of  assurance for a socially conscious shopper. For instance, maybe the tailors who assembled the skirt may have had good working conditions. But the fabric might have been woven overseas by people who do not work in a safe environment. (For this type of garment, the label should read, “Made or assembled in the U.S.A from imported fabric. -Ed.)

Most global retailers have standards for workplace safety in the factories that make their clothes. And companies typically require contractors and subcontractors to follow these guidelines. But policing factories around the world is a costly, time-consuming process. (So? In essence, you are saying that the companies that were so cheap in the first place that they outsourced the U.S. jobs to Bangladesh  are, also,  too cheap to check and see if their minimum standards are adhered to. -Ed.)

In fact, there were five factories in the building that collapsed in Bangladesh last month. The produced clothing for such big-name retailers as Children’s Place.

Some experts say that retailers have little incentive to do more because the public isn’t pushing them to do so. (Bold print was my idea. -Ed.)

America’s Research Group, which interviews 10,000 to 15,000 consumers a week on behalf of retailers, says that even in the aftermath of two deadly tragedies in Bangladesh, shoppers seem more concerned with fit and price than whether their clothes were made in factories where workers are safe and make reasonable wages. (Such a sad commentary on Americans. -Ed.)

In the light of the recent disasters, though, some exports and retailers say things are slowly changing. They say more shoppers are starting to pay attention to labels and where their clothes are made. (Yeah! – Ed.)

Fair Trade USA, a non-profit that was founded in 1998 to audit products to make sure workers overseas are paid fair wages and work in safe conditions, is hoping to appeal to shoppers who care about where their clothing is made. In 2010, it expanded the list of products that it certifies to include clothing. (Their website is fairtradeusa.org)

The organization says it’s working with small businesses that sell items to big merchants. It also says it’s in discussions with other big-name brands.

Fair Indigo is an online retailer that sells clothes and accessories that are certified by Fair Trade USA, including $59.90 pima organic cotton dresses, $45.90 faux wrap skirts and $100 floral ballet flats. (Here is the link to Fair Indigo and the “Made in USA” for women).

Daisy Organic Made in USA t-shirt

Daisy Organic Made in USA t-shirt

Rob Behnke, Fair Indigo’s co-founder and president, says some shoppers are calling and citing the latest fatalities in Bangladesh. End of article.

Blog Editor’s Comments

It is not that difficult to purchase ‘ethically made’ clothing. First, you have to be aware and care. You don’t have to travel to Bangladesh to know that it probably isn’t safe working conditions or fair pay. One must realize that clothing coming “”modern, civilized countries” like: the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, Norway and The Western part of the European Union, including the Scandanavian countries. Purchasing a “Made in USA” garment is an ethically safe choice. There is a question if the fabric may come from another country, but then it will be identified on the label. So read the label. If you must be 100% sure, purchase a “Made in USA” garment where the material and the manufacturing is made in the USA.

The European Union (the second choice after the United States)

These are the European Union nations: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden. The European Union usually will have safe working conditions and fair wages ( definitely the countries of Western Europe are ethically safe, the Eastern Bloc countries are not as solid).

The Other Countries

So, we have identified the ethically safe countries, but what about the rest. I will divide these into two groups, the first group is highly probably not ethically safe (greater than 90% not ethically safe) and the second group which is indeterminate – possibly safe, maybe not.

The Ethically unsafe countries

These are the countries that are usually very poor countries overall, that have a very low wages and poor or non-existent safety standards for workers and a poor track record of making things under fair wage and fair/safe conditions.

In an overall view, the Ethically unsafe countries would include: China ( the biggest violator), the east Asian countries and islands, Central America, South America (except Argentina), the Middle East (except Israel), Russia and its previous territories, and all of the African nations. Listing of some more of the countries: Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, Columbia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama, Brazil, Russia Mexico and all of the African nations – 95% of the factories will have unsatisfactory working conditions. So, avoid them at all costs.

The Undetermined Countries

This list of countries is for countries that have the potential of decent wages and decent working conditions, but does not necessarily mean they are a safe choice. These countries include Taiwan, S. Korea, The Bahamas, Turkey, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Poland, the American Pacific Island Territories, and the Baltic Countries. One of the ways to see if a country pays a decent wage is to click this link to Wikipedia on minimum wage per country.

Buy Ethically and Buy American and always avoid the unethically made garments from Bangladesh, China and other poor countries. As of May 17, 2013, the death toll of the Bangladesh building collapse is over 1,100 people.

24
Jan
13

Wal-Mart tightens up on suppliers

Wal-Mart tightens up on suppliers

Subcontractors must have firm’s approval, it says by Anne D’Innocenzio (Associated Press) January 23, 2013

Bentonville, AR. Wal-Mart has alerted its global suppliers that it will immediately drop them if they subcontract their work to factories that haven’t been authorized by the discounter.

Wal-Mart’s stricter contracting rule, along with other changes to its policy, comes amid increasing calls for better safety oversight after a deadly fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Wal-Mart and other retailers. The fire in late November killed 112 workers at a factory owned by Tarzeen fashions. Wal-Mart has said the factory wasn’t authorized to make its clothes.

Garment found in Bangladesh fire

Garment found in Bangladesh fire

In a letter sent Tuesday to suppliers of its Walmart stores as well as Sam’s Clubs in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, the company says it will adopt a “zero tolerance” policy on subcontracting without the company’s knowledge, effective March 1. Previously, suppliers had three chances to rectify mistakes.

Wal-Mart also said it plans to publish on its corporate website a list of factories that haven’t been authorized to manufacture goods for Wal-Mart.

Also, starting June 1, suppliers must have an employee stationed in countries where they subcontract to ensure compliance, rather than relying on third-party agents.

“We want the right accountability and ownership to be in the hands of the suppliers,” said Rajan Kamalanathan, Wal-Mart’s vice president of ethical sourcing, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We are placing our orders in good faith.”

Wal-Mart will hold a meeting for clothing suppliers from the U.S. and Canada on Thursday to explain the new policy changes.

Kamalanathan said Wal-Mart is looking to create a fund that factories can use to improve safety.

Critics quickly dismissed Wal-Mart’s moves as inadequate and said that the retailer needs to do more.

“It shows that Wal-Mart is feeling a great deal of pressure in the wake of public scrutiny,” said Scott Nova, executive director at Workers’ Rights Consortium, a labor-backed advocacy group. But he noted the company’s response isn’t adequate unless Wal-Mart and others pay their suppliers more so they can cover the costs of repairs.

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Editor’s Note

I am not one that takes potshots at Wal-Mart but these “corrections” and “zero tolerance” are truly lame, like the one where the supplier has to be, at least, in the same country as the company that subcontracts with them. Wow, that is laying down the law. Of course, Wal-Mart is no stranger to public outcry over their labor practices both within the U.S. and outside the United States. How many recall the one big hubub when Kathy Lee Gifford had a line of clothing at Wal-Mart and it was discovered that this clothing was all made by child labor? Well this “new policy” pales especially in the light of the following article:

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Profits over Safety

Retailers passed buck in Bangladesh to prevent factory fires by Allen G. Breed, Anne D’Innocenzio and Scott Mayerowitz (Associated Press on December 16, 2012) About a year and a half before a fire at a clothing factory in Bagladesh killed 112 people in November, executives from Wal-Mart Stores, GAP and other big retailers met nearby to discuss ways to prevent the unsafe working conditions that have made such tragedies common.

Bangladesh garment factory fire

Bangladesh garment factory fire

Representatives from a dozen of the world’s largest retailers and fashion labels gathered with labor groups and local officials in April 2011 at the three-day meeting held in the 15-story, glass-walled headquarters of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association in Dhaka, the capital. They were considering a first-of-its-kind contract that would govern fire safety inspections at thousands of Bangladesh factories making T-shirts, blazers, and other clothes Americans covet.

Under the terms of the agreement, each company would be required to publicly report fire hazards at factories, pay factory owners more to make repairs and provide at least $500,000 over two years for the effort. They would also sign a legally binding agreement that would make them liable when there’s a factory fire.

Discussions seemed promising. Then, on the second day, Sridevi Kalavakolanu, director of ethical sourcing for Wal-Mart Stores, spoke up. “In most cases very costly and extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” Kalavakolanu was quoted as saying in the minutes of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press. “It is not financially feasible…to make such investments.”

The statement from the world’s largest retailer, with $447 billion in annual revenue, essentially sucked the air out of the room, witnesses said. It also set the tone for the rest of the meeting, which ended the next day without a single company agreeing to the plan.

I think that really had quite an impact on…everybody who was in the room,” said Ineke Zeldenrust, who was at the meeting representing the workers’ rights group Clean Clothes Campaign. “It was quite clear that we were far from a solution.”

Retailers often claim they know little or nothing about conditions at factories, because the long and intricate manufacturing chain runs through several contractors and sub-contractors. Wal-Mart and others whose garments were found in the ruins of the fatal Tarzeen Fashions on Nov. 24 say they had severed ties with the factory or were unaware their clothes were being produced there.

Auditors hired by Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., inspected the Tarzeen factory in 2011, giving it an “orange” or high-risk rating. Months later, the third-party auditor did a second inspection, giving it another “orange” rating. And early this year the factory was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for the retail giant. The company said a supplier – who has since been fired – had moved Wal-Mart production there without its knowledge.

Building fires have led to more than 600 garment work deaths in Bangladesh since 2005, according to research by the advocacy group International Labor Rights Forum.

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More Editorial Comment about Wal-Mart inspections (Numbers from “The Wal-Mart Effect” published 2005)

In 2004, Wal-Mart bought products directly from fifty-three hundred factories in sixty countries around the world and Wal-Mart reports that every one of those factories are inspected at least once. They also audited twenty-three hundred factories of its vendors – factories producing goods technically for other companies, but whose merchandise ended up on the shelves of Wal-Mart’s stores (like Tarzeen?). Wal-Mart inspectors did more than 30 factory inspections a day – 12,500 in 2004.

And the results? In 2004, violations were serious enough at 108 factories that they were banned from doing business with Wal-Mart (Boy, that must have been bad – that must have been the “red” light violations). Another 1,211 factories had serious enough violations that they were disqualified from doing business for some period (probably the “orange light” violators like Tarzeen); 260 of those corrected their violations and were permitted to come back as suppliers.

The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman

The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman

Of the 12,500 inspections, 92% were announced and 8% were surprise inspections. (The gold standard is unannounced inspections as well as interviewing workers off-site with the use of independent third-party auditors – none of which are followed by Wal-Mart.) Wal-Mart reported 9,900 of the inspections resulted in violations serious enough to either suspend a factory or put it on notice. (If every one of those 1,000 surprise inspections brought 1,000 serious violations, there would still be 8,900 serious violations at facilities that knew inspections were coming).

Conclusion

Wal-Mart’s job is to deliver low prices and obey the law. It does not worry about the environment or pollution around the factories, it does not have to worry about the working conditions or the safety of its workers – their notion is that it is the problem of the companies they contract with, even though Wal-Mart is the root of the problem. “Because of the pressure of cost,” says S. Prakash Sethi, an export on global factory conditions, “factories do everything to save on the third decimal of a penny. Wal-Mart is one of the primary, if not most important, engines that pushes those costs down.”

Quotation by Charles Fishman, author of The Wal-Mart Effect

“Wal-Mart is not just a store, or a company, or a powerful institution. It is also a mirror. Wal-Mart is quintessentially American. It mirrors our own energy, our sense of destiny, our appetite for bigness and variety and innovation. And Wal-Mart is not just a reflection of American society and values. It is a mirror of us as individuals. In a democracy, our individual ambivalence about such a concentration of economic power, even when that power is ostensibly on our side, is a signal. Both as individuals and as a society we have an obligation to answer the unanswered questions about Wal-Mart. Otherwise we have surrendered control – of our communities, of our economy, of some measure of our destiny – to decisions made in Bentonville.”

01
Dec
12

Bangladesh Clothing Factory Fire Kills 112; Major U.S. retailers’ clothing found in debris

From the Associated Press, Thursday, November 29, 2012, San Jose Mercury News.

Blaze shows subcontracting maze – Bangladesh factory was used despite retailers’ rules by Julhas Alam

Dhaka, Bangladesh – The garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 people were killed in a fire had been making clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney, Sears and other major retailers – some of whom say they thought they had stopped doing business with the place.

The apparent confusion underscored what some industry experts say is a major obstacle to improving safety in Third World factories: Many major retailers in the U.S. and Europe rely on such a long complex chain of manufacturers, vendors and middlemen to keep their shelves stocked that it is difficult to keep track of where certain products are made.

Amid the blackened tables and melted sewing machines at Tazreen Fashions, an Associated Press reporter discovered clothes and account books Wednesday that indicated the factory was used by a host of major U.S. and European retailers.

Bangladesh factory fire

Bangladesh factory fire

Among the items discovered: children’s shorts with Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory label, hooded sweaters marked “Disney Pixar,” shorts with hip-hop star Sean Combs’ ENYCE tag, and sweaters from the French company Teddy Smith and the Scottish company Edinburgh Woolen Mill. Sears was also among the companies listed in the account books.

The tragedy at the beginning of the holiday season is putting a spotlight on dangerous workplace conditions around the world, with no clear answers to how consumers should react or who is responsible.

Wal-Mart said that it received a safety audit that showed the factory was “high risk” and had decided well before the blaze to stop doing business with Tazreen. But it said a supplier had continued to use Tazreen without authorization.

When pressed for an explanation of how a supplier could use a factory without the retailer’s approval and whether it happened often, Kevin Gardner, a Wal-Mart spokesman, did not directly address the issue in emails to The Associated Press.

Sears said it learned after the blaze that its merchandise was being produced there without its approval through a vendor, which has since been fired. Walt Disney, which licenses its characters to clothing makers, said its records indicate that none of its licensees have been permitted to make Disney-brand products at the factory for at least a year.

Combs’ Sean Jean Enterprises did not return calls.

Retailers like Wal-Mart have clauses in place that require suppliers to disclose all factories and subcontractors producing for sale. But it’s hard to crack down on unauthorized subcontracting, said Josh Green, chief executive of New York-based Panjiva, which tracks shipments for factories outside the U.S.

“The reality is you have to have round-the-clock monitoring of every aspect of the supplier’s operations,” he said. “It’s just not feasible.”

Green noted that subcontracting is pervasive as suppliers look for ways to cut costs.

“You have relentless pressure that consumers put on retailers and that retailers put on suppliers to deliver lower and lower prices,” he said. “And that pressure is a key reason why you see factories cutting corners.”

Bangladesh’s garment industry – second only to China’s in exports – has long provided jobs and revenue for the desperately poor country, while turning out the low-priced products shoppers in the U.S. and other countries have come to enjoy.

Editorial comment

This is certainly a very sad story and one that didn’t need to happen. The factory windows were all chained up, so factory workers could not escape the fire. Nor did the factory have the normal fire protections in place, because it doesn’t have to. Working conditions (poor ventilation, poor heating, no air conditioning, hazardous environment) in these factories are poor. This is common in Third World countries. So who is responsible for this? Since the 1970s, we have started on this race to the bottom: low prices trump low prices – I would have to say it is both the consumer and the retailer. Obviously, it was the retailer that started this race. Wal-Mart with the “lowest prices” lured people in. And with Wal-Mart’s success other businesses entered the low price race war. And because one needs to increase profits on these low cost products, the retailers have continually cut their costs by pressuring suppliers to make clothing much cheaper – and this has caused the outsourcing problem, the loss of American manufacturing and a less than stable American economy. The American consumer is equally to blame. By continuing to put cost as the only criteria, it has fueled this race to the bottom.

In the race to the bottom, retailers have pressured suppliers to keep their own costs down. In fact, Wal-Mart has had a habit of going from factory to factory to get the lowest prices possible. The cost from the supplier to Wal-Mart is so low that the supplier really doesn’t make a profit. The supplier (or manufacturer) is usually a start-up company trying to gain experience. Once the factory gains experience they charge a more reasonable rate, and then Wal-Mart drops them to find another lower price supplier. For these suppliers, there are two ways that they make money: one, as already mentioned in the article, is that they cut corners; and two, which is abstractly referenced in the article, is making counterfeit products. This is actually quite simple. Let us say Wal-Mart contracts with the factory for 10,000 units. The factory then makes 12,000 units, gives the contracted 10,000 to Wal-Mart and sells the other 2,000 on the Black Market.

Counterfeit products is a well-known phenomenon in these countries. The reason given why this goes unchecked is a cop-out. Josh Green, chief executive of New-York based Panjiva, which tracks shipments for factories outside the U.S. said: “The reality is you have to have round-the-clock monitoring of every aspect of the supplier’s operations. It’s just not feasible.” But, let us say the factory is located in New York City. Do you think that counterfeiting from this factory would be found out? The answer is yes and very easily. The problem is there is not the effort. If Mr. Green would leave New York and go to Bangladesh more than once or twice a year on an announced trip, he would find more corruption. Or he could hire people to do surveillance or install cameras. Wasn’t he hired to find out corruption or maybe he was hired NOT to find out what goes on in the henhouse?

The retailers give the same reason why they can not track the vendors and middlemen who stock the items on their shelves. They say it is too difficult. I find this very hard to believe. For example, Wal-Mart keeps track of almost virtually item it sells, and can tell you instantly what store has them and how many items are in that particular store as well as the other stores and they also know how many items they have in their warehouses. The problem regarding the vendors is that they don’t make the effort, because consumers don’t care. If consumers don’t care, and the retailers happen to profit by it, why should they care as well? Nobody seems to care about this unless something happens – something like a fire in a garment factory that kills over a hundred people because of unsafe working conditions. Maybe people should care. Maybe people should do something about it. Boycotting the cheapest slave labor products that are made in unsafe working conditions ( and instead buying better quality possibly American made products) might be the correct first step, because retailers will not change their behavior unless something effects their profits (it is obvious that we can’t count on their ethics to alter their behavior or they wouldn’t have waited this long before a tragedy occurs). For further information, I recommend a link from Salon.

Aftermath of fire

Aftermath of fire




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