Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Savar and the fashion supply chain


With the death toll now at a reported 700, people are right to criticise British clothing retailer Primark on the Bangladesh factory collapse in Rana Plaza (e.g. CNJ Editorial, 2 May "Primark’s Lady Bountiful act is simply a cop-out").

Together with Bonmarche, they failed to join other companies in introducing safety rules in January that would have barred any purchases from a factory inside the Bangladeshi building that collapsed last week.  After the huge loss of life at a garment factory associated with Walmart fire last year, US clothing giant J.C. Penny introduced new rules in its supply chain - were the executives here asleep?


But questioning surely shouldn't stop at the big players - the Camden Lock markets, a go-to for alternative fashion, are the 4th most popular tourist destination in London.  The supply chain of increasingly cheaply-made t-shirts and accessories, which have out-competed traditional traders over the last decade, is not transparent and likely to come from wholesalers who are equally culpable, but away from the public eye.

It would be welcome if the owners of the many markets here could get together and address this question.

Update:

Camden council obtains the majority of our uniform requirements from  Ben Nevis (a local company).

Within the council's supply chain Camden uses the following companies:

Gildan are the suppliers of Sweatshirts and T-shirts.
Fruit Of The Loom suppliers of Polo shirts
Regatta are suppliers of Fleeces and jackets.

These suppliers are all classed as Fair Trade companies and the clothing has not been derived from Bangladesh.

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