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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?

NC78 Mon 29-Apr-13 12:34:26


TapselteerieO Mon 29-Apr-13 12:42:18

Frugal H&M don't seem to be doing any better than Mango/zara/levi - see here - I am more likely to shop at H&M than any other store, because it is cheap, convenient and local, I get clothes for myself and my children there - they are within my means.

ppeatfruit Mon 29-Apr-13 12:49:06

This is being discussed on R2 now and there are terrible background details like the fact that the 3 extra storeys were built without planning permission and the actual building was built on a lake that had been filled in with sand without the right bases,it gets more and more shocking.

FrugalFashionista Mon 29-Apr-13 13:16:19

Ok, all purchases on hold, much better wink
I'd like to see some way of progress reporting too - there have to be incentives for companies to improve, otherwise those who are labeled bad will only further shortchange their suppliers and become even worse.

I like the 'Nudge a brand' idea on the Rankyourbrand site!

TapselteerieO Mon 29-Apr-13 14:20:16

Saw the news today with a young girl who was on the top floor of the building when it collapsed, her mother is still missing. Watching all the families with their photos of the workers still missing standing by as the bulldozers went in, so, so heartbreaking.

I hope this is the point where everyone involved in fashion accepts some of the blame for this, and stands up for those too weak to fight for themselves.

ppeatfruit Mon 29-Apr-13 15:45:15

It's so terrible that it has to take 350 deaths to make this scandal get into the news. On R2 some callers were saying that its not the companies' or the consumers' fault it's the govts. of Bangladeshs' (sp)? fault. So that's alright then angry

QueenofWhatever Mon 29-Apr-13 15:45:24

I've just signed this petition.

FrancesFarmer Mon 29-Apr-13 17:45:43

I have signed it, QueenofWhatever.

I hope something comes of it.

TapselteerieO Mon 29-Apr-13 19:02:57

Signed and shared with FB friends.

hollyisalovelyname Mon 29-Apr-13 19:46:30

Frugalfashionista H&M and Cos have the same owners.
Whoever said it is 21st century slavery- you are right. We the consumers must be able to do something to help our fellow (wo)men.
'Evil triumphs because good people say nothing'

moggiek Mon 29-Apr-13 20:51:12

Primark have said they will take care of the families of those dead or injured, and are asking other retailers to do the same.

FrugalFashionista Mon 29-Apr-13 21:05:32

Ok that is a decent move from Primark.
But they and others really have to address these issues or the same will happen over and over again!
Thanks for the various petition links, have signed!

TapselteerieO Mon 29-Apr-13 21:40:16

Do you have a link Moggie?

TapselteerieO Mon 29-Apr-13 21:47:48

"The collapse of the Rana Plaza building once again highlights the failure of corporate social auditing schemes. Two of the factories had been audited by the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), and many of the other brands have auditing schemes in place. Despite repeated fires and building collapses in Bangladesh, brands still rely on company audits to ensure basic fire and building safety regulations are being adhered to.

Therefore, steps must be taken now to review the safety of all suppliers in Bangladesh to prevent further tragedies. The most effective way to do this is for all brands and retailers buying from Bangladesh to immediately sign and implement the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement."

The above is from today Press release: Labour Behind the Label urges brands to sign Safety Agreement.

TapselteerieO Mon 29-Apr-13 22:24:07

It is only fair that companies that profit from these incredibly poorly paid workers should pay compensation, not just to the families of victims in this situation, but in every case. A fire in November 2012, in a garment factory in Bangladesh - where there was no fire escapes and over 120 people died - victims are still fighting for compensation.

This debate cannot only be about compensation, no one should have to work in these conditions, it is about basic rights to work in a safe and healthy environment - surely even the companies involved can see the benefit of that for the worker, productivity and for the image of their business!

ppeatfruit Tue 30-Apr-13 09:25:57

Queen I have signed too. The problem with unionising and health and safety is that it would have to take a major change in the culture of corruption and saving face that is endemic in some countries.

On the news last night it said that the Bangladeshi govt. refused the offer of help made by the U.N.(?) saying that their own emergency services could deal with it. sad angry

TapselteerieO Tue 30-Apr-13 10:28:02

Ppeat even though it might not be easy it is still the only way to make sure people don't die, we don't accept that kind of treatment in this country, companies that profit from the low wages in these countries should be required by law to ensure that working conditions are fair in all the factories they buy goods from.

If you look at brands on the website fashion-conscience you can see it is doable, the brands that pay their producers fairly are obviously making a profit - there needs to be continual pressure on high street stores to prove they are ensuring workers are not malnourished due to starvation wages, that children aren't employed and workplaces are safe. If people don't want to have blood on their hands then we all have to stand up and say we are not happy about this and it has to change.

I am not sure how this will be done but I know it can be done. I am going to spend a lot more time trying to find alternatives to high street clothes, until I know that companies are making more of an effort.

Every time I put on a t-shirt now I check where it was made, and think of the working conditions it was made in, and I wonder if the person who made it has died because of being unsafe at work.

slightlysoupstained Tue 30-Apr-13 10:48:43

Would like to suggest two small traders (probably too small to make it into most of the lists above):

Bishopston Trading - have been going for about 30 years. Variety of clothes including school shirts (haven't used these as DS too young, but have bought some baby stuff which is lovely). Sadly it sounds like they've struggled in the recession - used to have 5 shops, now down to two and the online sales.

Who Made Your Pants Based in Southampton - heard about them a while ago, thought "oh I should try a pair". Haven't got around to it, till now.

ppeatfruit Tue 30-Apr-13 13:51:59

Thanks for the links slightly I just clicked on to Bishopston to read sadly that they are closing down after this season sad Maybe if we all buy something from them (they sound lovely and their stuff looks nice) we could keep them open! grin

DigWeedSow Tue 30-Apr-13 14:37:03

I don't know if it's already been mentioned but the Goodguide has some good info. Unfortunately a lot of the brands listed are US brands but there is quite a bit of relevant info on there. It's interesting to see that many of the brands that rate badly are sold at top end prices.

Another signature added to the petition Queen

MrsRadicchio Tue 30-Apr-13 15:02:38

A bit late but wanted to mention about fairtrade t-shirts in supermarkers / m&s...I heard the People Tree founder Safia Minney talk a while back and she said that these are basically heavily subsidised by their main lines. It would actually be impossible to create a £3 fairtrade t-shirt which a previous pp mentioned, and they can only do it because they have the profits from their main line. But then this gives the public a skewed view of how much ethical clothes should cost. Eg "I'm not paying £25 for a fairtrade t-shirt because M&S were doing them for £3 last year..."

slightlysoupstained Tue 30-Apr-13 16:41:21

ppeatfruit NOOO! sad Crap, if Bishopston Trading (who make both clothes and fabric) aren't viable, what is? Yes, let's buy stuff from them. DS has a few bits, lovely dungarees and trousers. And a fabulous stuffed dinosaur.

MrsRadicchio Good point, and wonder how much it's affected companies like People Tree and Bishopston.

QueenofWhatever Tue 30-Apr-13 17:53:01

Bishopston Trading is an interesting one, their main shop is on my local high street. The big problem - more than the pricing - is that the clothes are pretty dire and the colours sludgy. I confess to never even having been in their shop and I'm a hand-wringing liberal hippie type.

Until these companies can produce clothes people are desperate to buy, they will never become a commercial force.

Forgetfulmog Tue 30-Apr-13 20:27:16

Slightlysoupstained - thanks for the links; just had a look at Whomadeyourpants & what a brilliant website, I now want some pants!

applepudding Tue 30-Apr-13 21:20:55

MfrsRadicchio - that is an interesting point about supermarket fairtrade clothing being subsidised by other lines - I try to buy as much ethically produced clothing as I can - and as my finances allow which means that I do have a lot of fair trade T shirts purchased in Tesco and I always considered that there must be a difference between 'Tesco Fair Trade' and 'People Tree Fair Trade' due to the price differences.

Some suggestions to look at for ethically produced clothing - as others have said 'People Tree', 'Nomands Clothing', also 'Bibico', 'Komodo' and sites such as 'Purity Style' bring together a range of clothing.

I've also tried to find some manufacturer's of British clothing and have found (try googling) 'Nancy Dee' (dresses), 'Jumping Ships' (a few T shirty things not very inspiring), 'Postcard from Brighton' and Celtic Sheepskin (called something slightly different now - they do Ugg-type boots, and some British made knitwear but all their products are ethically made in EU). I have also seen British made knitwear stocked in Tesco and BHS. Unfortunately, aside from the 'Made in Britain' jumper I bought in Tesco they are all a lot more expensive than normal high street prices. As part of my search for British made clothing I also ordered a 'British Tweed' skirt from Boden, to find the label with a union jack inside printed with 'made in romania' .....!!

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