How do we trust the Retailer?

I’m sure many of you watched Panorama: Primark: On the Rack last night.

I like when I go into a shop and there is signage about the shop’s ethical policies. I want to believe them but I have this nagging feeling …it’s too good to be true feeling…I should know better. In my head it’s just common knowledge that cheap garments equal some kind of exploitation. I’ve had nothing to prove it – this was just a something I taught from a very young age. I’ve always felt people should be paid what the job is worth to you, not the least amount you can get them to do it for – that’s a mentality that I hate. Anyway I think when people read the signs in shops about ethical labour policies they want to trust the retailer. It’s easier and if it’s a policy it must be true and it puts our mind at ease. Even if on some level we know or can’t believe that a top only costs a fiver; the shop has a policy, so it must be OK. After a programme like Panorama it’s all most impossible to for us the consumer to claim ignorance. What will retailers have to do to gain consumer trust?

Check out:
Ethical Trading Initiative
War on Want

Update: Primark Speaks Out
Primark director Breege O’Donoghue speaks out: watch the video at

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4 comments on “How do we trust the Retailer?

  1. Make Do & Mend
    June 24, 2008 at 11:11

    I didn’t watch it because I’m not a great fan of Panorama as their reporting techniques leave a lot to be desired.
    I do think ethical issues are important and actually the only company that can hold its hands up on this is American Apparal. Local factory in States, good pay and benefits.
    Most companies actually do soemthign that is exploitative including finishing a garment in a country so they can say made in Italy etc.
    Burberry recently shut down remaining UK factory making 300 people redundant to move oeprations to China/India.
    Also India has a very complex caste system that prevents some people from achieving in the way we can in the West.
    Short of not buying from anyone and then depriving people of livelihoods there is not a straighforward answer.

  2. Sarah
    June 24, 2008 at 11:11

    The programme last night cerainly made me think about how and where I spend my money.

  3. gilda
    June 24, 2008 at 22:22

    i didn’t want that and the clip no longer works so i’m gonna search for it.

    i don’t usually trust retailers when they say that. i’ve seen companies who claim their products help support the hundreds of women who have hand-crafted these (some product) and proceeds would go to help house them in india etc. i think that’s a lot of bull. the women probably get paid 3 cents per item and the company would charge something like $150 for it. we also had to do a project on company ethics recently and my friend researched on a certain american clothing company that said everything was made in the us. right.

    i’m interning now and when i go around to some manufacturer’s, they have chinese or mexicans working and sewing in some room that has no ventilation, has its windows and doors shut, o a/c nor fan, and basically feels like a boiler room. it’s disgusting and really sad. i hope one day if i ever have my own company that i would never ever do that to a worker.

  4. gilda
    June 24, 2008 at 22:22

    sorry, *watch* that, i mean.

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