Monday, 16 June 2008

I am really, really sorry (that we got caught)

The Guardian today reported that Primark has dumped its unethical suppliers in Asia. The clothing retailer said it "felt very let down" by the discovery that the clothing were sub-contracting embroidery work on dresses to child home workers.

You can read the full story here.

Now I hate to bring my cynicism our to play, but hey, we are talking child labour, £1 t-shirts and some of the gravest wrongs of this capitalist century. So, on that note, here goes:

Perhaps most interesting of all is the fact that the suppliers had been audited by the chain three times in the past year and half - clearly their audits aren't as thorough as the BBC's journalism. With these ills uncovered in such a public way, I guess Primark felt their usual way of dealing with such issues (i.e. "working with manufacturers to fix practices they don't like") would be a little inappropriate. Hear, hear.

Remember being a kid and doing something you'd been warned not to do? And then being caught red handed? Were you really sorry, or just sorry you were caught?

What do you think? And what of the other High St mammoths who - according to the article - are buying the same stuff and charging way more? Comments dear readers, send me your comments.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Having read this and feeling intrigued I went for a snoop around Primark's site. Interestingly on their front page they have their name, language flag buttons, and one singular link which says: Ethical Trading. It takes you to a whole microsite about their trading policy.

I'm fascinated to know whether this is something they put up since getting busted by the BBC, or something that's always been there?

Its such a defensive move that yells "we know what you think of us", I wondered what it would be like to work somewhere like that and whether the defensive feeling dribbles through.

There's really not much on their website, however I did find a note on their culture under the HR heading: Primark has invested in developing a corporate culture that...accurately reflects the product offering.