Saturday, June 21, 2008

Primark Oped

While I've been on the road the last couple weeks, Primark, a UK discount retailer, announced that they were pulling orders from three Indian factories where the BBC (not Primark) had uncovered the use of illegal subcontractors and child labor. Glad they did that, though the decision to pull the orders without making any allowances for the child workers' education is far from ideal. I called Primark to chat about this, and surprise surprise, I still haven't heard back from them. I also called BHS, another UK retailer. Surprise, surprise, I still haven't heard anything from them, except a promise that they would get back to me as soon as possible. Ditto Reiss, previously one of my favorite clothing stores. Whistles, to its credit, at least tried to get in touch with me, but unfortunately has NOTHING on its website either about supplier conditions. Too many companies are pulling the wool over our eyes by telling us nothing about the working conditions in their factories - and crucially, what they're doing to improve them. Watch Primark's incredibly misleading video on its supplier network here. Read my oped on this issue that ran on Friday in The Times here.

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