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corporate citizenship

Retail and Apparel Brands Move Forward With Separate Bangladesh Safety Pacts

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 8, 2013 06:38 PM

A mostly European coalition of 70 leading clothing brands, retailers and trade unions backed by the International Labor Organization and the IndustriALL and UNI global trade unions has announced the next steps for their precendent-setting, five-year Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

In a joint statement, EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht, ILO Director General Guy Ryder, and Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dupi Moni "welcome(d) the fact that over 70 major fashion and retail brands sourcing RMG from Bangladesh have signed an Accord on Fire and Building Safety to coordinate their efforts to help improve safety in Bangladesh’s factories which supply them. In this context, they encourage other companies, including SMEs, to join the Accord expeditiously within their respective capacities.”

Their remarks were targeted at the brands that are holdouts from the European-dominated IndustriALL coalition. Indeed, only a handful of North American brands have signed the global accord, including PVH (owner of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and other apparel brands), Abercrombie & Fitch, Zac Posen and Sean John, as well as Canada's Loblaw, which owns the Joe Fresh fashion label now sold in JCPenney stores across America.

By signing the finalized plan, which was released on Monday, the signatories vow to submit a list of names and addresses of all Bangladeshi factories used by July 15. The list, which is expected to total near 1,000 factories, will be made public along with inspection reports.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Samsung, Asics, Roxy and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 8, 2013 09:31 AM

In the News

Samsung misses second quarter forecast as analysts fear smartphone brand has peaked (if not in Asia).

Asics tightens factory oversight in Cambodia after accident.

Roxy under fire for sexualizing female surfers in new campaign. 

Alcoa faces hard decisions on aluminum capacity.

America Movil invests $40 million in Shazam music app.

Apple plans to stream Time Warner Cable channels on TV.

Asiana Airlines plane likely experienced pilot error as Boeing jet crash parsed.

BMW maintains US sales lead over rivals in June.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Uniqlo Rejects Bangladesh Safety Agreement as Worker Unrest Spreads

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 28, 2013 05:12 PM

Uniqlo, the fourth-largest retail brand in the world, has gone the way of Walmart and refused to sign the Bangladesh safety agreement, opting instead to monitor its factories on its own.

"We want to first focus on what we can do right now, on our own," Yukihiro Nitta, head of Fast Retailing's Corporate Social Responsibility group told the Wall Street Journal. He said the company also will hire a Japanese company to assess the soundness of its suppliers' factories in Bangladesh, noting that ultrasound and x-ray technology can be used to check for cracks in concrete and piping.

Most of the 30 companies who have signed, including Uniqlo’s rival H&M, are European. Meanwhile, American companies including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney, Sears and Target have all held out on the point that the agreement includes a legally-binding clause, one that they argue could hurt US companies more than their international counterparts. For Uniqlo, this isn’t the first time the company, owned by Japan’s Fast Retailing, has come under activist pressure. Earlier this year, the brand bowed to a cause to sign a detox pledge spearheaded by Greenpeace, in which the company agreed to stop releasing hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain and products by 2020.Continue reading...

brands under fire

As Deadline Expires, Walmart, Gap Under Fire for Refusing to Sign Bangladesh Agreement

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 16, 2013 05:38 PM

As the May 15 deadline has come and gone to sign the IndustriALL-backed Bangladesh safety agreement, the abscence of a number of US brands has become even more apparent as more than 30 international retailers have agreed to the terms defined by international labor organizations to ensure the repair and future maintenance of Bangladesh's growing garment industry. Last month, Rana Plaza, an eight-story factory employing mostly young women collapsed, killing 1,127 people.  

While American clothing brands and retailers have been actively involved in the ensuing dialogue, the only two to sign the agreement by the deadline were PVH (which owns the Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Van Heusen brands) and Abercrombie & Fitch, while Walmart and Gap publicly declared their opposition to the plan

To date, the list of signatories includes: Abercrombie & Fitch, Aldi, Benetton, C&A, Carrefour, El Corte Ingles, Esprit, G-Star, H&M, Helly Hansen, Hess Natur, Inditex (Zara's owner), jbc, KiK New Look, Lidl, Loblaws on behalf of its Joe Fresh and Primark brands, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, N Brown Group, Next, PVH, Rewe, Sainsbury's, Stockmann, Switcher, Tchibo, Tesco and WE Europe.Continue reading...

china

Year of the Snake Sneakers Arrive As Nike Preps Its Black Mamba, Again

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 24, 2013 01:07 PM

With the Year of the Snake dawning, Nike's zodiac cycle is complete: The approaching Chinese New Year will bring what Nike claims is a 12th version of its special edition zodiac animal-themed shoes.

In 2001, Nike had just one zodiac offering, the Air Force 1 Low 3M "Snake." In the ensuing years, some Nike zodiac shoes were better than others. (Air Max 1 Year of the Ox, anyone? Nike Dunk High pigs?).  This year, with a better creature to work with, and as it had with last year's Year of the Dragon, Nike —along with its Jordan brand — has introduced a collection of serpentine shoes.

Nike isn't alone: Shelves of shoe stores in China are about to be filled with scaly offerings that would make Indiana Jones shudder. Continue reading...

brands under fire

Bloomberg Says ING New York City Marathon Will Go On [Update: It Won't]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 2, 2012 04:01 PM

To run or not to run — that has been the burning question in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York this week.

As New York continues the massive clean-up and restoration of a wounded, limping city, with millions still without power, food, water and transport, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was adamant the ING New York City marathon (rededicated as a "Race to Recover" with proceeds to relief efforts) would go on, even though the starting line is in hard-hit Staten Island. The refusal to reschedule the race has been widely protested, while observers are questioning the impact on title sponsor ING, and fellow sponsors including Timex and Asics.

“The city is a city where we have to go on,” stated Bloomberg in a press conference on Thursday, arguing that the race must go on for the cash and morale infusion. "There's an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people. We have to have an economy,” Bloomberg said in a news conference Thursday. "It's a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you know, you've got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind."

Update: At 5:21 pm Friday, the mayor's office confirmed media rumors that the race will not go ahead on Sunday. Bloomberg told the press, "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it." And while this means there will be no 2012 NYC marathon, New York Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg said canceling was the right move, telling AP, "This is what we need to do and the right thing at this time." ING also supported the cancellation, commenting, "ING U.S. understands that many people, businesses, as well as its own New York-based employees have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy this week. The company encourages everyone to consider making a donation or to volunteer with a nonprofit that is helping with disaster-relief effort if they are able to do so."Continue reading...

e-commerce

The Other Shoe Drops: Adidas, Nike and Asics Ban eBay and Amazon

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 12, 2012 10:01 AM

For marketers these days, it's all about digital and taking advantage of all it has to offer. Adidas, though, is pulling its wares off two of the web's major e-commerce hubs — Amazon and eBay — because it's convinced such sites are cheapening its image and damaging its brand value. According to the UK's Marketing Week, the ban goes into effect in January and will extend to its Reebok brand.

Adidas, on a high coming out of Euro 2012 and heading into the Olympics, isn't the only major brand that's pulling back on e-commerce sites — Nike and Asics are also restricting Internet sales, a move that has drawn the attention of German competition authorities. "Adidas isn't the first, and they're definitely not going to be the last to do what they did," said Wes Sheperd, CEO of Channel IQ, an online services provider catering to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, according to AuctionBytes.com. "There's a storm brewing here."Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: McDonald's, British Airways, Nike and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 25, 2012 01:26 PM

With 32 days before the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games kick off in London....

Official sponsor McDonald's UK offers sneak peek at designer Wayne Hemingway's sustainable, Mad Men-inspired uniforms that will debut at its biggest restaurant (if for only six weeks), which is now under construction at the London Olympics Park:Continue reading...

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