How do we know which retailers have ethical practices? Related to the Bangladeshi factory tragedy

(265 Posts)
Cristiane Sun 28-Apr-13 07:15:05

The news from Banglaesh gets worse and worse - 352 people dead so far in the collapses factory where people made clothes for Matalan, Primark and ther names.

I don't want to buy from labels that don't use sweat shops and don't use suppliers that have coercive or dehumanising working conditions. Does anyone know if there is a list prepared of the most ethical retailers?

VinegarDrinker Tue 30-Apr-13 21:40:55

For kids stuff I used to buy a lot from Green Baby though I can't remember if they were Fairtrade (they have gone out of business), they have been bought by Little Green Radicals who are Fairtrade IIRC. Frugi are pretty sound ethically from what I understand although not certified Fairtrade I don't think.

The difference is in the prices, it just isn't affordable to buy everything from these companies imho, although we get a lot of Frugi stuff from eBay (which in itself is hardly a paragon of ethical virtue).

FrugalFashionista Tue 30-Apr-13 21:53:38

Ladies just want to thank you - lots of great info and links on this thread, very interesting.

Livia Firth has a high-end ecological/ethical range on Yoox, worth a look if you have a bigger budget and are looking for party clothes. She had a stunning LBD but sadly it sold out... Her site Eco-Age has some good links too. Mentioning these because people often complain that ethical clothes are dull or too hippy. People Tree have a 1950s style top that I really like and may order at some point. I have a pair of ex Celtic Sheepskin (now Celtic & Co) houseboots and can really recommend them - they look great after 2yrs of daily wear and have survived a wash. Iirc they also resole their boots.

sleepdodger Tue 30-Apr-13 23:05:43

NB fair trade isn't always about factories, it's more to do with yarn though is a better indicator on product life cycle tracking
What happened in Bangladesh was truly awful and the clothing industry are concerned, but please don't tar all people in same way
The dramatic headlines don't reflect local ways of life ie man gets paid £100 month making £50 tops doesn't mention minimum wage is £80 month and actually is happy in us work being paid above average in factory With dr and childcare... I know this isn't all places and I'm not glossing over the bad but I guess I'm saying to abandon such stores- factories makes the situation so much worse
Think about the forums talking about value and then think about what value means to you

sleepdodger Tue 30-Apr-13 23:07:42

To add to fair trade tees point- it is possible to sell at low retails so competitively but this is on back off millions of other pieces, cotton farmers etc still get paid properly grin

Hoping to buy my next pair of jeans from monkee genes - but the Bangladesh disaster has taken away my desire to shop! Not exactly helpful for the victims....

randomtask Tue 30-Apr-13 23:30:14

If you look at Ethical Superstore, they sell all sorts of clothes (as well as lots of other things) from the main fairtrade brands-might make it a bit easier finding things.

Forgetfulmog Wed 01-May-13 08:51:25

Does anyone know anything about Lands End? I've looked at their code of ethics, but it's a bit airy fairy

ppeatfruit Wed 01-May-13 09:25:47

Of course it isn't ALL the factories in the 3rd. world sleep the awful thing is, and this makes me think we're all on an uphill impossible struggle, that to make bigger profits companies will change their bases to the next even poorer country. sad angry

Forgetfulmog Wed 01-May-13 09:33:05

I think that's exactly what happens all ready ppeat, that's why Bangladesh is currently the favourite for big companies as its the cheapest labour market.

ppeatfruit Wed 01-May-13 10:18:36

I thought that korea is cheaper? forget

ohms11 Wed 01-May-13 10:19:37

Www.makeitbritish.co.uk. Lists clothing retailers who still manufacture in the uk. Ethical and a boost to British manufacturing.

Forgetfulmog Wed 01-May-13 10:36:44
Forgetfulmog Wed 01-May-13 10:37:11

[[http://www.therichest.org/poorest-list/countries-with-the-cheapest-labor/ ]]

foxysocks Wed 01-May-13 10:57:48

not had time to read whole thread but can big up veja - my spring/summer trainers are from them and FAB. got them from asos but they stock lots of place online

also loving some bits on the fashion-conscience website, thank you for linking flowers

sleepdodger Wed 01-May-13 20:14:10

Bangladesh isn't always the cheapest and therefore the beat choice-
It's duty free so attractive but they do have the same style of product as say china or India

sleepdodger Wed 01-May-13 20:16:13

Also to add, uk manufacture is not always ethical sad
Many uk factories have forced or poorly paid labour issues too sad
I only mention this as an aside- its never assumed that things are clean cut unfortunately, so is really about trusting retailer

ppeatfruit Thu 02-May-13 08:21:18

Yes I know sleepdodger It is very sad and shocking that all over the world there are some people who don't give a shxx how they make a profit.

I've just signed War on Want's Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops' petition. It made me realise no-one has mentioned their campaign yet which I've been supporting for a number of years now. You can get t-shirts too!

FrugalFashionista Sat 04-May-13 07:49:16

I am reading an excellent book, a British version of 'Overdressed'. Very interesting insights and analysis and an eerie name - 'To die for - is fashion wearing out the world?' by Lucy Siegle.

It explains, among other things, how and why the middle market (good-quality affordable clothes) has been one of the casualties of the fast fashion explosion. It's from 2011 so the examples are current and relevant. Can recommend!

Thecatsmum Sat 04-May-13 10:29:14

Personally I prefer quality over quantity and it really annoys me that the fashion industry has decided shops like Primark and co are what every woman wants. I'm more than happy to pay more money for British/non-sweatshop made clothes but the availability seems to be limited.

FrugalFashionista Sat 04-May-13 17:16:14

Catsmum what was new to me was that UK buys about half all of the imported fashion within the EU (that's what 'vibrant high street' means). About 40% of clothes in the UK are bought from 'value retailers' ie those that are most likely to shortchange their suppliers confused
About 15 years ago 90% what was sold in M&S was made in the UK - now next to nothing.

My DH grew up in a small garment factory owned by his family. He learned to walk in the cutting room and the seamstresses were family friends, often local mothers working part-time, not unlike most of us on MN. When the company went under in the 1980s and the jobs were lost, the women retrained and started doing something else. Restarting a similar domestic-production company is not simple - skilled laborers have been lost, and even if you could find some, it's not easy to make ends meet.

Lizzabadger Sat 04-May-13 17:47:27

Charity shops are the most ethical.

Sparkeleigh Sat 04-May-13 18:06:52

The Guardian has an ethical fashion directory that you can customise to choose fair trade / British made etc here http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/interactive/2008/jul/21/ethical.fashion.directory

It says it's updated regularly...

CatherinaJTV Sat 04-May-13 18:57:29

what Lizzabadger says - I do charity shops. Must get Freya underwear, since no other company produces a bra my size and fit (I have looked). One glance at the tables and I think I should go naked...

unlucky83 Sat 04-May-13 19:27:13

Lots of mixed ratings of the big high street brands on the links here...
I never buy big designer brands because when I looked into this years ago I found that often they treat labour and the environment as badly as the value brands ...(never been in a Gap store for almost 20 yrs -for some reason thought they were ethical and discovered they weren't...)
The problem we have that we either spend £25 on children's t-shirt or £1.50...we need a mid range I'm sure most people would be happy to pay £3.00 or £5.00 even £10 if that extra went to the workers...and not in increased profit...
Low wages in figures - not particularly worried about - it is all relative ...(will never forget an Indian friend laughing at foreigners saying how cheap it was - £1 to buy all their fruit & veg for a week at a market in Calcutta - she knew for a 'native' it would have been 10p...or how £150 was enough to install central heating in an orphanage there -and also wondering why it costs so much for us to sponsor a child - when the amount we pay a month should be enough to sponsor a village! -but that's another story...)
Problem is our attitude to all resources - and clothes are just a part of that ...so cheap that we have lots and don't look after them
We don't repair clothes anymore ....(remember DD1 going through a stage of putting her knee through her school tights on first wear...I couldn't bear the fact that all those resources, labour, transport, packaging had gone into something she could wear for less than a day -so I would darn them - all the time thinking 1) I'm mad -I can buy a new pair for less than £2, and 2) what will people think ...(she was only young and I don't really care what people think -but older DCs would be mortified...then I remember leather patches the elbows of my wool school jumpers at secondary - even though we weren't poor - they were expensive and the elbows wore out but rest was fine!)
But if we buy less the people who will really suffer are the ones who are making the clothes...
My logic is to boycott the designer brands who are make a huge mark ups eg £90 less money to Nike etc will effect the same number of workers as £5 less to Primark ...but have a more noticeable effect on Nike's income.... (Unless of course you spend £90 a year on brands and £90 a week at Primark)
(Disclaimer - not sure what Nike's reputation is like now - it used to be dreadful...might have improved...)

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