Blog: Leonie BarrieGap sweats it out

Leonie Barrie | 13 May 2004

While I was in Guatemala last week I visited several factories making clothes for Gap – some of which have been embroiled in labour disputes with the retailer in the past. Today, though, it was Gap itself taking a swipe at its suppliers, admitting to poor, sometimes hazardous, working conditions at many of the 3,000 overseas factories supplying its clothes. “Few factories, if any, are in full compliance all of the time" it said.

Hitting back at critics who say it isn’t doing enough to ensure fair working conditions at factories around the world, Gap packaged the admittance as part of its social responsibility initiatives. And so far its strategy seems to have paid off, with human rights critics and shareholder groups greeting the news positively – even though they have been provided with a lot of fodder.

There’s no doubt that being socially responsible is likely becoming more and more trendy in the corporate world. And it could well be that Gap’s actions prove to be the first of many. After all, the same global supply chain is used by most retailers at some point along the line – and the others are likely to feel obliged to respond too.
 
Today Gap seems to be riding high over its decision to bare its soul. But it will be well aware that such a stance carries risks: only last year Nike was forced to reach a court settlement after publicly denying that it used sweatshop labour.


BLOG

Why digital supply chains are top of mind

Confirmation that digital supply chains are top of mind for apparel industry executives came last week with the latest plans from global sourcing specialist Li & Fung....

BLOG

Navigating global political frictions and economic uncertainty

As a barometer of the issues top of mind for apparel sourcing executives, it is hard to beat the annual Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong. ...

BLOG

Trump and Brexit generate more confusion

Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" - while the British government's attempts to clarify the specifics...

BLOG

Bangladesh works to resolve labour activist issues

The Bangladesh government was forced to respond late last week to pressure over its crackdown on labour activists after a number of global brands and retailers, including H&M and Inditex announced pla...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?