Mind the Gap

Returning from a week’s hols with the family I look with dread at the 1000+ total in Google Reader. Lots to catch up on.

One story breaking today I heard on the radio was about a BBC undercover report into sub-contractors of GAP who were caught using child labour. Presented with the findings GAP announced they would destroy the stock.

A close friend of mine sent this excellent email to GAP on hearing the news.

“Hello,

In the news today in the UK there is a story about clothing being made by
child labour – the story says that GAP are going to destroy the clothes made
– this seems to be a waste and a bit of an over-reaction.

I appreciate you have a brand image to maintain and protect so your initial
reaction is to destroy the clothes rather than put them on the market. This
looks to people like me to be environmentally irresponsible as it is a waste
of resources and time the children have spent making them. That response
sends a funny message back to people like me who I believe are in the target
group of consumers – GAP looks to be a bit over-reactionary and does not
think through its actions before issuing statements with a faint whiff of
environmental unfriendliness..

My suggestion is that you should clearly mark the clothes as being produced
this way so people do not confuse them with your normally produced items and
then maybe make the commitment to channel 100% of the selling price to a
either a Charity whose aim is to reduce Child Labour or, by working back
through your suppliers, giving to the factory that made the goods so the
workers there receive 100% of the benefit….. Another route maybe would be
to auction them on eBay and channel the money to a charity or the factory.
I believe this would mean you look to have done the best you can have done
in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

The other thing is people like me assume that, as a matter of course, you
will go right back through all your supply chains thoroughly to the people
doing the work ensure this does not happen again and put processes and
controls in place to ensure people are paid a fair price for their work and
the GAP name is no longer associated with any whiff of exploitation. The
action I propose above would also show that where you do find any cases now
or in the future, you take the right sort of action.

The other aspect which you may not want to have is that these items may have a rarity value which you may not want to have.

Many thanks for your time if you read this far,

Neil Good”

Great points which are well made.

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