anyone know which brands of kids' trainers are ethical?(80 Posts)
just that really. I hear that the usual suspects - cica etc - are actually rubbish. But they need to be proper trainers, not hemp and cardboard espadrilles.
Dunlop Green Flash ?
not really trainers and it depends what you mean by ethical
I've got "The Good Shopping Guide" which lists Hi-Tech and Puma, among others, as being more ethical brands. Their criteria take into account a whole load of things like pollution, other brands the company might be affiliated to, the way they market as well as workers rights etc.
You can get New Balance for kids - TKMaxx had some a few weeks back.
"Ethical" is of course a tricky issue.
Nike are held to be the worst offenders, but I wonder if the question is well posed ?
Nike et al find poor people to work in their facotries, because they're cheap.
To me that means they give them more money than they would have through whatever they can get from local economic activity.
Providing that they are not coerced by heavies from the government, then if they are making a free decision to work in the factory, it is presumably that is because they have worked out that this makes their lives (a bit) less bad.
Is employing poeple like that bad ?
Also many of these factories employ women, often explictly favouring them in a way that would be illegal in most civilised countries.
We note that in many Asian societies girls children are seen as an accidental and unwelcome by product of having sons. Note that on most of these countries girl foetuses are much morel ikely to be aborted. Does a woman't right to choose over ride her right to be born ? Hard one that, I don't have a simple answer, actually I don't even have a complex one.
Also the "accidental" death rate for girls under 5 in many of these places is vastly higher than for boys, even though in the west boys are more likely to die.
If your factory emplys women, they they suddenly are a portal to the cash economy. This is good for the women who have been born, as well as those that might.
Women who can earn money have a damn sight more equality than anything you are going to get by well intentioned laws or "education programmes".
Of course not everyone in these cultures like empowered women.
I'm not saying Nike are nice people, I can't think how you can tell.
The other thing I get irritated about is when people spout on about the import of exotic fruit, vegetables blah, blah and the pollution that accompanies such trade because most arrive by air freight. What they forget is that the pollution from such actitivities is miniscule compared to the damage to the environment that arises from the lifestyle in developed countries like Britain and USA. The poor farmers in developing countries want a chance to earn their way out of poverty and I for one will support them. Similarly, the workers for Nike etc are at least helping their families. I bet if you ask them that if they had the choice of working there or starving, which do you think they would choose? What is ethical about denying these people a job that puts food on the table?
Its very easy to have these lofty goals with respect to the exploitation of the poor in other countries when you live a life of luxury in comparison but if these companies did not exist, the lives of the poor workers would be worse. These companies should be accountable for how they treat their employees and this is where the consumers should be flexing their muscle. IMO,there is nothing to be gained by boycotting such companies for so called "ethical reasons" because the only people who will suffer are the poor workers.
Indeed, there are so many conflicting goals.
Women's rights so closely track the industrial development of an economy that many economists, especially the type who can count see a strong causal relationship.
However Guardian reader types talk of "respect for other cultures".
You can't have it both ways.
The moment women can earn their own money, your classical patriachal cultures is screwed big time.
Women are cheaper to employ (live with it), and thus your typical capitalist hires them. Very few jobs actually require zero skill, and so there now is an incentive for families to educate their daughters (and allow them to live).
Pretty much all religions & cultures have fought this, sometimes successfully. 3 centuries ago you could run your society with extravagant inefficiency and got away with it. Now even the socilaist countries are imploding or trying some form of faux liberalism.
As you know my family are from Jamaica and if it wasn't for the low paid work that the women do, many families would starve. When Edward Seaga, the Jamaican Prime Minister capitulated to the World Bank in the 1990s and allowed the Jamaican dollar to go into free fall for the sake of free market economy, many Jamaican's were dragged below the poverty line. However, it had to be done in order for the economy to develop. It was painful but at the time, I don't think he really had a choice (but I'm not an economist so I can't really make an informed judgement).
Domiconnor, do you know me or something? You seem to be imputing ideas to me that I had no idea I had - ideas so generalised and unproven that I would be ashamed to have them. Because I want ethical trainers, I am against womens' progress? I didn't put my question well? You are such a pompous, pedantic old windbag, presenting your arguments as faits accomplis, bludgeoning threads with your heavyhanded opinions. Go boil your head, and then read the oxfam report on trainers in the developing world, and tell me that these companies are de facto doing better than local economies would have done.
Ok, self parping now in rage at DC.
Speedy, I totally take your points, but as with DC, I have never expressed anything to the contrary. The desire to have trainers for my children not made by 4 year olds in Indonesia doesn't intrinsically mean I am anti progress.
hear hear sibdoms
let's buy ethical products, and join the campaigns that let companies know that their consumers care about how their workers are treated. and then maybe these women will not only have work but actually be treated with some dignity.
Oh jesus god, here we go, FFS.
Well said, CG and sibdoms.
I never imputed any idea to you, apoligies if I gave that impression. My view is that it's just so hard to work out what the effect of consumer action will be.
My cynical view of business is simply that if consumers care about X they will get told about X.
But it's cheaper to look good than act good.
yes, companies will always tell us what we want to hear. and yes, it is hard to work out what the effect of consumer action will be. and i'm no economist, so i can't do any more than trust the advice of the development organisations and pray that their methods work. but what's the alternative? other than to do nothing and preserve the status quo?
consumer pressure does make a difference. In crude terms, increasing demand for ethical products means more of those will tend to be supplied.
Agree that companies can put an ethical gloss on unethical things. Fine. So we have to find out if they are ethical, and if not, avoid their products and don't trust them in future. Reduce demand for their products. This is Ladybird economics.
Look at MacDonalds, the archtypal ethical firm. They now sell organic milk. Or GAP. Ethical consumer reported recently that they were no longer so dire in their use of sweatshop labour. Consumer pressure does make a difference. So does keeping informed.
MacDonalds, the archtyal unethical firm. FFS!
McDonalds aren't exactly the good guys, but not as unpopular as they deserve. Not sure quite what would happen if you tried to take 2.0 into one, but you'd not walk comfortably for a long time if you tried.
They did go through a green phase. A real, genuine one that they spent good money on, and hired in reputable groups to help them get it right. It's now on the curriculum of the more expensive business schools.
Basically what happened was a focus on packaging. McD's ship huge amounts of this. So they came up with greener boxes. This cost quite a bit.
But one set of green consulatants saw that this had issues as well, and every time McD's did what they were told, the bar was raised, so they gave up.
Any kid economist could tell you McD's mistake.
The Green utility function saw all waste as bad, and there is simply no way of shipping billions of anything without environmental impact.
Also the "consultants" bore none of the cost of implement their recommendations, but suffered a loss of utility from their peers if they were seen to endorse any impact at all. Thus there was quite literally no upper bound to the cost they would choose to impose upon McD.
Pretty classic case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.
could you put all that in English please, DC? Dates and links also good.
Read this a while back, trying to find a link of course googling on Mcdonalds and environment gets a lot of hits.
Normalised version of my post.
Firms won't write a blank cheque for environmental impact.
Companies like fixed predictable costs.
You want a company to do something, you have ot make sure it knows the cost ain't gonna suddenly leap up. They hate this. A lot.
Greens often want a blank cheque, and their goals are often inherently impossible.
A firm that produces a million tonnes of waste per year may be more less wasteful than 10 firms who produces 120,000 toness but will get more grief.
I don't know whether McD's produces more or less waste per bugrger than Burger King, Wendy's etc, but I do know that they are regarded as a class act in cost control, thus if greener stuff was commercially viable they'd grab it with both hands.
They also know that many parents are tragically dumb. You only have to see the sales of homeppathic "treatments" for children to see that.
Recently a relative of mine spoke of a child that had been abused by it's parents.
She'd taken a swarm of kids to McD's and the child wasn't happy, and had no idea what the "menu" meant, and didn't like the sound of anything.
He cried when she tried to educate him.
She blamed the parents.
They'd let their kid reach 6 with no knowledge of how to behave and order in a McDonalds. They had deprived the kid. She was clearly mildly angry with the parents.
Er - so if your child is 6 and doesn't know how to order a macdonalds they are deprived? Or is your point that your relative was bonkers? (confused emoticon)
Well, you know, greens have to raise the bar. That's their job.And Macdonalds have a whole lot of other problems than their packaging, innit.
DC I realise it's your style to present "facts" rather than arguments, but where do you get all this information from? I'd like to read all that stuff about McDs for myself.
it is not purely an issue of pay in sweatshop factories but the whole package of workers exploited with regard to hours worked, conditions, injuries, sackings, etc
they do not ask for goods to be boycotted but for people to campaign directly to change the status quo
choosing to buy eg trainers produced fairly is raising the bar
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