Bangladesh factory collapse
Despite some earnest progress, workers, including children, are still being exploited. Big factories that supply major brands are better regulated, but many of the smaller operations -- just one link down in the supply chain -- are still engaging children in some of the worst forms of child labour.
I know that global trade is critical to raising many poor families out of poverty -- as in the Bangladeshi families noted above. But the economic model I want to see more of is one where strong local economies around the world are meeting people's needs in a sustainable and healthy way.
“You are what you wear. Today, it’s becoming more and more important to choose your apparel consciously and to make sustainable fashion choices.”
According to an Ipsos poll, when shopping for clothes, 76 per cent of Canadians feel stress that they're paying too much for something while just 59 per cent are concerned about child labour. With the sun shining brighter every day, I plunged into my sons' closets last weekend, in search of spring clothes that would still fit them. Sitting there, sipping, I thought of another little boy, one whom I hadn't seen in a while. His name is Jewel.
As Canadian consumers, we have the power to help change the plot for the world's children. It lies in the decisions we make about our purchases. Do we contribute to keeping children trapped and enslaved, or do we make the decisions that help set them free? On the World Day Against Child Labour, we must all consider our roles in the story.
The notion that the Rana Plaza factory collapse came out of the blue and took everyone by surprise is sheer fiction. The companies who sell these clothes have known for a long time that there are serious problems with the working conditions in the factories they use. But talk about addressing those issues is about as cheap as the clothing they sell.
One year ago this week, a girl named Tahmina went to work. That morning, the Rana Plaza factory where Tahmina worked collapsed. She survived, but her supervisor and over 1,100 other workers were killed in one of the worst industrial disasters in history. We all want to know what we can do -- individually and collectively -- to prevent a future tragedy.
Every year on October 7 workers around the globe recognize the World Day for Decent Work. It reminds us of the current and constant downward pressure placed on workers, as incomes stagnate, as wealth concentrates in the hands of the privileged few and as jobs become more insecure and more precarious.
There's no truth to the idea being propagated by US retailers like Gap and Walmart that signing the Accord on Fire and Building
Unlike other start-ups, Ms. Mehrvar knows each of these women in Cambodia who is counting on her company, Lotus, to succeed. She launched the firm as a for-profit social enterprise, and for the textile industry in the developing world, her company couldn't have arrived at a better time.
The recent collapse of a multi-storey factory in Bangladesh was a tipping point for a trend of transparency in retail. Shoppers vote with their dollars, and have the power to shift marketplace trends. But if you lack the knowledge to enforce that power, you might as well be powerless. Don't worry: There are apps for that.
The shock felt by Canadians following the recent tragedy in Bangladesh shows that we, as a country, care deeply about the welfare of others. In the wake of this tragedy, the NDP has called for stronger corporate accountability rules. Action to strengthen corporate accountability for Canadian companies operating and contracting work overseas is well overdue.
Canadians are not sitting back any more and taking bad corporate behaviour. We may have arrived at a tipping point where increasingly Canadians who have been shoved, are pushing back. The RBC "fire Canadians" story broke on a weekend. By the start of the week, politicians had heard from constituents across Canada. Over in Bangladesh, a garment factory collapsed in Rana Plaza, killing more than 700. And just because a videographer caught a glimpse of a Joe Fresh clothing label and some editor put that on Canadian television, suddenly Canada's best-known retail leader, Galen G. Weston, was all over the media.
The price of a piece of clothing is not at all indicative of the working conditions of its manufacturer. On top of that, implying (or outright saying) that there is something morally wrong with paying ten dollars for a t-shirt is incredibly classist. The truth is that when brand names charge higher prices for their items, that extra cash usually goes to two places: into the pockets of CEOs and other higher-ups, and into the company's advertising budget.
Let's stop asking whether a company should stay in Bangladesh or leave the country. Instead let's ask whether that company is willing to take steps to create stable jobs that are safe, where workers have the right to organize, and where they receive a living wage.
Last weekend, renewed demonstrations calling for better pay and working conditions broke out and are continuing. Because the garment industry makes up the core of the Bangladeshi economy, its leaders and business class cannot afford to ignore the internal calls for change. In fact, whether they listen depends on the demand for clothes made in Bangladesh being sustained. A boycott would work against this outcome.
People take clothing for granted but producing a simple garment is incredibly complex. Consider what goes into a simple cotton shirt. Cheap clothing is cheap partially because it consists of low-grade material. Bangladeshi garment workers earn 18 cents an hour for work in substandard facilities, working for Western garment companies with eyes trained on profits. What can we do?
Joe Fresh’s owner, Loblaw Co., held an emergency meeting with the Retail Council of Canada Monday to discuss how the company
Some Canadian consumers are calling for a boycott of Joe Fresh after the clothing brand confirmed some of its products were