Best Global Green Brands 2014

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...

brands under fire

Bangladesh Hangs in the Balance as North American Retailers Weigh Options

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on May 14, 2013 07:01 PM

As it stands, 1,127 lives were lost in the factory collapse in Bangladesh and over a dozen international retailers have signed on to the binding Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement as the May 15 deadline looms. 

In a move that was hailed as "game-changing," H&M, Bangladesh's largest producer, signed on to the agreement on Monday, which promises to ensure independent inspections of all factories and financial aid to improve factory safety. “With this commitment we can now influence even more in this issue," said Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability for H&M, in a statement posted on the fast-fashion retailer's corporate website. 

While H&M's decision may have influenced other signatories like Italy's Benetton, Spain's Mango and Britain's Marks & Spencer, it has yet to affect the decisions of North American retailers including Gap Inc. and Walmart.Continue reading...

brands under fire

H&M, Primark Sign Bangladesh Safety Agreement; Gap Says It's Next [Update]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 13, 2013 06:39 PM

The rescue efforts in Savar, Bangladesh have officially been turned over to recovery as the death toll surpasses 1,100 in what has become the worst accident in the history of the garment industry. But 20 days later, it seems that progress and change is beginning to emerge from the rubble of a decrepit industry. 

The Bangladeshi government has agreed to let garment workers form trade unions without the permission of factory owners—a breakthrough in workers' rights in a de-regulated country, where garment factories were shut down this week following worker unrest over wages and conditions.

The proposed  safety plan, backed by a coalition of labor groups, calls for independent inspections of factories and a legally binding fire and building safety plan requiring retailers to help pay for improvements to factory safety and is an amendment to the 2006 Labor Act lifting restrictions on forming trade unions in most industries.

The pact also calls for changes regarding severance payments, welfare fund payments, management practices and payment and banking standards. In what could be a game-changing announcement, Swedish retailer H&M announced Monday that it will sign the binding agreement.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Benetton Finally Admits Involvement as Activists Demand Action in Bangladesh

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...

brand collaborators

Target Prepares to Launch Pro-Social Designer Collection with FEED USA

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 6, 2013 11:41 AM

More than 50 million Americans are “food insecure,” according to a 2011 US Department of Agriculture study. In its latest designer collaboration, Target is partnering with FEED Projects to help change that. 

Target is joining forces with Lauren Bush Lauren's FEED Projects, which has previously partnered with Gap, Bergdorf Goodman and Pottery Barn, but the Target partnership is the largest to date. The collection is due to launch June 30. The duo just wrapped up a five-city tour of Feeding America programs that took them to food banks and local pantries in San Francisco, Minnesota, New York City and more. Target and FEED are hoping the partnership will generate 10 million meals for Feeding America.

"Target (has) such a massive reach that we just don't have," Lauren told USA Today. "So it's wonderful when we can partner with Target to really just blow it out and have such a big impact in a short amount of time."Continue reading...

brands under fire

As Death Toll Passes 500, Brands Consider Pulling Out of Bangladesh Factories

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...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Monster, Twitter and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 09:15 AM

In the News

Apple sells largest corporate-bond offer in history.

Monster sues to halt effort to curb energy drinks.

Twitter opens up self-serve ad platform to all businesses.

Chrysler Group auto sales rose 11 percent in April; Ram truck sales were up 49 percent.

Coda Holdings electric-vehicle maker files for bankruptcy.

College Football Playoff unveils new (and quite boring) logo. 

Domino's results ride pan pizza wave.

Fisker Automotive fell apart because it sought too much, too fast.

Ford says sales of Lincoln MKZ have shaken off supply and launch problems.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Global Brands Come Under Fire as Another Factory Disaster Claims Nearly 100 in Bangladesh

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...

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