brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 9, 2013 05:47 PM
The death toll at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh has surpassed 900 as another factory fire has claimed an additional eight lives in the industrial district of Mirpur.
Fortunately, the fire in the 11-story building that manufactured mainly sweaters was closed for the night and workers had left the premises, according to Reuters. According to reports, the factory's managing director, a member of the board of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association was meeting with friends in the building when the blaze broke out. The fire was fueled by massive piles of acrylic products used to make cardigans, jumpers and pajamas for customers including Britain's Primark and Spain’s Inditex Group. The eight victims died of suffocation in stairwells trying to escape from the smoldering acrylic that produced immense amounts of smoke and poison gas. Among the victims were also two local government officials.
For what it's worth, the horrific state of factories in Bangladesh, magnified by global news coverage and relentless social media attention is finally starting to have an effect on those involved.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 3, 2013 05:06 PM
Nine days after the fatal collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Sahar, Bangladesh, the death toll has surpassed 500, and the outcry against the conditions, companies and governance responsible is augmenting.
Bangladesh is now the world’s second-largest apparel exporter after China, with 80 percent of those exports servicing the US and the European Union. In return, those big brands provide jobs and support for millions, but is that enough? After multiple fatal accidents, western brands face harsh scrutiny over sourcing policies and the obvious lack of labor and safety regulations put into place by its suppliers.
“We need to be careful now not to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said Sara Hossain, a high-court lawyer in Bangladesh to TIME. “The question should not be shutting down the factories. It should be, 'How do you make employment safe and secure?'” Garment factories in Bangladesh pay the most and carry a certain cachet for that reason, despite safety issues. “Young men and women with a few years of schooling consider that the RMG [sector] gives them more independence and [makes them] more socially acceptable,” added Rushidan Islam Rahman, research director at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 24, 2013 06:45 PM
The spotlight on global retailers sourcing product from Bangladesh just got brighter as another garment factory collapse in Bangladesh has killed 96 people and injured more than 1,000 in Savar, 20 miles outside of Dhaka. It’s the latest in a series of horrific accidents and fires plaguing Bangladesh's booming garment industry, including last November’s Tazreen factory blaze that killed 112 workers.
In Savar, factory owners reportedly ignored a warning about a crack in the building and an advisement to not allow workers into the five garment factories housed there, which employ mostly women. "There was some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor," said Muhammad Anisur Rahman, according to Reuters. "The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory."
Rahman said his firm was sub-contracted to supply Walmart stores and Europe's C&A, but subsequently said he was referring to a past order rather than current work. Reuters reports that website New Wave, owner of two factories in the building, listed 27 majority buyers, with firms in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Canada and the United States.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 12, 2013 04:34 PM
AT&T has landed at top spot on CR Magazine's 14th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, beating out other top Russell 1000 large-capitalization companies on merits including human rights and corporate governance.
Rounding out the top 10 on the new list: Mattel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eaton Corp, Intel, Gap, Hasbro, Merck & Co., Campbell Soup Co. and Coca-Cola.
The ranking crunches 298 data points of disclosure and performance measures across seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance and philanthropy.
Notably, 26 companies on the 2013 list were not on the 2012 list, while 11 companies have appeared on the list every year since 2007. For those that were bestowed the honor, many were quick to highlight the significance of employee participation to the success of the company's initiatives.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 29, 2013 10:33 AM
Plenty of people in developing nations can get their hands on Coca-Colas, but they can’t seem to always get themselves the right medicine to keep one in nine children from dying before the age of five. Something wasn’t quite right with that equation and nonprofit ColaLife found a way to right the imbalance: ship the medical products with the Coke. The first test of this will take place in Zambia, Africa.
“Utilizing a new packaging technique, ColaLife aims to distribute ‘social products,’ such as oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements, to help sick children in need of medication,” Fox News reports. “The medication will be packaged in newly developed AidPods, which are wedge-shaped to fit in-between the necks of the Coke bottles in a crate of Coca-Cola.” Not only do the AidPods carry micronutrients and supplies to fight dehydration, but they also become water-sterilization containers when emptied out.
Certainly it behooves Coke to get involved in such a project since cola companies in general take a beating about marketing their sugary products to children. Coke has been immersed in an anti-obesity campaign that promotes exercise and healthy eating and, of course, drinking Coke.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 1, 2013 04:38 PM
The horse meat scandal is spreading across Europe, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, seizing media attention and making retailers and consumers squeamish at the thought of what could be in their meat.
Four beef products sold by Bird's Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA as the Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducts a third wave of tests.
An aptly titled article, "Having a cow over chow," asks, “What is it about horses? Over in Europe, everyone is happily munching on frozen lasagnas and shop-bought meals from various supermarkets, knowing it has all kinds of dodgy cuts of beef in it. But when it emerges they contain horse meat, everybody gags…Consumers need to ask themselves: When you buy something cheap, why is it so cheap? The answer is often uncomfortable to swallow.”
The FSA is asking retailers to test beef products for the presence of more than 1 percent of horse meat. Specific products in the headlines include Birds Eye's Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagna (removed by the company from store shelves last week), Brakes' Spicy Beef Skewer and Taco Bell's ground beef.
"Once we learned of this issue, we immediately voluntarily tested our product for our three Taco Bell restaurants in the UK,” said a spokesperson for the company, which has posted a response to the horse meat crisis on its UK website. "Based on that testing, we learned ingredients supplied to us from one supplier in Europe tested positive for horse meat."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 28, 2013 11:27 AM
In what seems like impeccable timing, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke delivered a sustainability-focused keynote at the annual City Food Lecture in the U.K., ultimately challenging the accusations made about the company in a damning Oxfam report earlier this week.
The speech, which focused on the escalating perils of water scarcity, outlined that fresh water overuse poses a serious environmental, political and social hazard. Water is an issue near and dear to his heart, as the Swiss company is the world's No. 3 producer of bottled water, and looking to expand in water-constrained markets such as China.
“It is anticipated that there will be up to 30% shortfalls in global cereal production by 2030 due to water scarcity,” he said. “This is a loss equivalent to the entire grain crops of India and the United States combined.” What's more, he added, “We could produce what we produce today with half the water we use.”
In his address, Bulcke cited his company’s reduction of water usage by a third with 1,200 agronomists working with Nestlé to better manage its water use. Bulcke also commented that consumer acceptance of misshapen fruit and vegetables is necessary to cut waste of food products, as well as spoke out against the fuel industry for using food crops to create biofuels.
Bulcke also took the opportunity to further address the horse meat crisis affecting retailers such as IKEA and manufacturers in Europe, a crisis that compelled Nestle to pull some food products off store shelves last week. “Widespread fraud is being committed by a few across Europe. I understand that many consumers and many of you in the industry feel misled, I feel the same. This should not happen, it is unforgivable. We have let our consumers down.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 12, 2013 01:41 PM
Amazon is off to a banner year with its customers, according to two studies from Harris Interactive and Foresee.
According to the 2013 Harris Poll RQ Study — "RQ" standing for "reputation quotient" — Apple and Google join Amazon in the top five as companies that are seen as more than simply "tech" firms, while the Walt Disney Company, Johnson & Johnson, and The Coca-Cola Company maintain their "great reputations."
In the survey, “16 percent of the public said that the reputation of corporate America showed some improvement — 7 percent more than in 2012 — while 49 percent said it declined, which was 11 percent less than those who felt this way last year.”
Amazon.com is at the top of the heap, edging out Apple’s position last year as the most reputable company, while AIG and Goldman Sachs again hold bottom positions along with Halliburton, American Airlines, and Bank of America.Continue reading...