It all began with underwear. Yes—I know—great way to kick-off a professional and informative blog on the shortcomings of the corporate world, right? But, I am here to tell the truth, and the truth is that I was in desperate need of new underwear. So desperate, in fact, that my mom was desperate—she caved and got me a Victoria’s Secret gift-card.
I was ready for my shiny new pair of “Is it hot in here or is it just me?” boy-shorts when I read an article about forced child labor tied to Victoria’s Secret’s parent company—Limited Brands.
More recently, the legitimacy of the Fair Labor Association (“FLA”) has been questioned amidst allegations of employee maltreatment at Apple’s Foxxconn factories in China (clickhere for more). The FLA is currently in the process of auditing Foxconn’s plants to “keep them in check.” However, the FLA doesn’t have the best track record itself (read here for an example of the Hanes factory in the Dominican Republic.). Last Friday, the FLA’s president, Auret van Heerden, announced that Foxconn’s plants have a “ton of issues”—which is the very opposite of what was said in previous reports (Here for more on that switcheroo). These wishy-washy statements are unsettling. The FLA Watch—a group that highlights theFLA’s flaws—calls them “nothing more than a public relations mouthpiece for the apparel industry. Created, funded, and controlled by Nike, Adidas, and other leading sweatshop abusers, theFLA is a classic case of the ‘fox guarding the hen house.’”
SO, my question for you is—as consumers making an effort to be more aware about the companies we do business with, are we S.O.L.? Who do we turn to if we can’t trust organizations, like Fairtrade International or the Fair Labor Association, that claim to be working for the public good? Should we be angry withVictoria’s Secret for their failed attempt to be more socially responsible? Should we be angry with Fairtrade International and the Fair Labor Association for failing to do their jobs? Should we be angry at the global-nature of the system—is it just too darn BIG to keep an effective eye on every farm and every factory?
What do you think?? Drop us a comment here and let us know – or check out our Facebookpage and continue the conversation there.