QUOTED: Factory Standards & Exploitation

factory smoke

“What threatens Bangladesh is not factory standards but political turmoil…As the British journalist Anthony Sampson once said, there’s one thing worse than being exploited by multinational corporations, and that’s not being exploited by them.”

The Financial Post writes: “Loblaw has been hit with two unsavoury packages in the past week or so. One was an order of dumplings of dubious provenance, destined for the head of its Joe Fresh clothing line; the other, a $2 billion class action lawsuit. Both related to the company’s sourcing of clothing from Bangladesh.

The dumplings, which were meant to be delivered last Monday morning, were the result of a scathing segment on cheap clothing by HBO comedian John Oliver on Sunday night. Other dodgy dishes were destined for Walmart, H&M, and Gap.

Oliver’s point was that, despite professed concerns about sweatshops and unsafe working conditions that have been around for 20 years, we keep hearing stories of child labour, building collapses and fires. Corporate executives wouldn’t eat a lunch subcontracted out by someone who couldn’t vouch for its ingredients, yet they claim the bad news from factories comes as a surprise.

Oliver’s food fight comes just two years after the collapse of the factory building at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, where 1,129 people died. The factory contained many companies that manufactured clothing for big name retailers, including Joe Fresh.

“This is going to keep happening as long as we let it,” Oliver concluded, “We need to show them.”

But show them what? And how?

Image: JuergenPM