The fashion Industry Is criticized widely for not maintaining the ethical standards. From the use of animal fur, exploiting child labor, low wages. Promoting superficial image of women and racial discrimination, the fashion industry has caused its fair share of controversy and bad press. The complex thing about ethics is that it has different meaning for different individuals.
Some might consider a particular issue extremely offensive and unethical while, for a deferent individual the same issue would not be unethical or offensive. It Is a decision of an Individual to consider and different people have different feeling about Issues. For some wearing cloths made through child labor would not be a big deal but for another individual this would be a wrong act. Therefore this remains a controversial subject of which very few things can be spoken about with certainty. In order to under it in a more proper way, the example of Primary is taken.
The company is a well renowned brand and a hit in the United Kingdom ever since It was launched. Primary has been found Involved In the use of child labor. In the current paper, the company Primary Is also being compared tit one of its competitors; the TX Max in terms of ethical codes and conducts. The paper cares to investigate the causes related to the issue in the case and also the response which was obtained from the general public. Table of Contents 1 Introduction Ethics and profits do not always go hand in hand.
That is not to suggest that all profit making organizations go against the ethical standards, but certainly there have been many cases where ethics and standards have been compromised to sustain or and that is the moment where the true colors and course of the business are reflected. The fashion industry is criticized widely for not maintaining the ethical standards. From the use of animal fur, exploiting child labor, low wages, promoting superficial image of women and racial discrimination, the fashion industry has caused its fair share of controversy and bad press.
Being in the spot light of media with all the glamour and glitz has also kept the glare of the media focused on this particular industry which can cause due and undue scrutiny. In a research, Enemies and Rajah (2011) stated that ethics means values, norms and general habits. The rights and wrongs are Judged through ethics. The dos and don’t of the society are defined with the standardization to some level of good and bad. 1. 1 Unethical practices in the Fashion Industry The complex thing about ethics is that it has different meaning for different individuals.
Some might consider a particular issue extremely offensive and unethical while, for a different individual the same issue would not be unethical or offensive. Alton and Junkyard (2003) analyzed the fashion industry and the way consumers look towards it. The author stated like any business it is eventually the consumers who make the final decision as they have the option of purchase or rejection of the reduce depending on their own Judgments about company’s ethics. It is a decision of an individual to consider and different people have different feeling about issues.
For some wearing cloths made through child labor would not be a big deal but for another individual this would be a wrong act. At times there is no legality attached to it. The legal system does not charge an individual who buys from such a fashion outlet, but it would remain an individual’s decision. Hence, this remains a controversial subject of which very few things can be spoken about with certainty. 2 The Causes 2. The Case (Primary’s use of Child Labor) Usually big brand try different methods to keep operations clean.
They try their utmost to stay away from unwanted controversy and protect the image that has been built by extensive use of monetary and non monetary resources. Daily Mail (2008) exposed the case of Primary. The brand had been a tremendous hit in Britain ever since it’s opening. It had attained a positive and high status among the fashionable people of the country. The brand was considered high on quality but low on mice which made shopping at Primary a literal bargain. However, the reporter exposed the season or the tool through which the brand was able to produce quality at a lower price.
The operations or manufacturing which is offshore located in India was practicing extreme child labor. Young children were made to work hard and long through the heat. The age of children started from 11. Their Job was to sew tiny beads and sequins onto the designed t-shirts by candle Light. The Company was alerted by a BBC program Panorama that children were being used as labor. An 1 1 year old boy named Matches was being paid about app for a day’s long toil. The boy claimed that the payment is based on the number of finished cloths and during ajar orders; raps could be made in a day which amounts to app.
When a major order comes about, the problem expands as the sewing beads are tiny in size and to finish the order they have to work all the night. Electricity conditions and supply both On the contrary, another big name in fashion industry is of T. K Max (also known as T. J Max) is a bit in its native country; which is the United States of America. Unlike Primary, the company is well renowned not only for the goods that it tends to produce but also for its “No” to the unethical conducts and child labor. Critics have en looking for the flaws in the company but surprisingly they had not found any (T.
K. Max, 2014). 2. 2 Unsafe Environment and Bad Working Conditions for Illegal, Underpaid and Overworked Employees Dihedral (2009) indicates that the workers who are hired in the Primary’s supplier’s factory TNT Knitwear at Manchester are working illegally and in poor conditions. TNT Knitwear is one of the major clothing suppliers for the Primary. BBC UK sent an undercover reporter to the TNT knitwear factory where it was discovered that workers were hired without any proper information or paperwork. The workers were quite overworked with working 12 hours in a day for seven days a week.
The minimum work wage for the workers back then was E. 73 per hour but the workers at the TNT Knitwear used to be paid almost half that amount. The working conditions for the employees were quite disappointing as well because there was no heating in the factory and the workers had to work with their coats on and in an uncomfortable state. With the toilets being under repair, the males and the females had to share a toilet which was quite unhygienic. The kitchen at the TNT Knitwear was noted to be quite dirty so the workers used to sit on the hipping boxes of Primary to have their lunch.
It has been highlighted that certain manufacturers or employers do not provide a satisfactory working environment for their employees in terms of cleanliness, sanitary and health safety. Environment that does not comply with the standards, doubtlessly gives an unpleasant and unhealthy spot to work in. For instance, this can significantly affect the health of employees and increase or spread particular sickness or infection around or among the working group. As a result, it can lead to inability to work because of the infection or sickness.
Not to forget it can result in the spreading of disease or germs if the disinfection or sterilization procedures for the products in the factory are not carried out properly. The workers at the TNT Knitwear were illegally living in the UK as most of them had their asylum application under process and few had their visas expired almost a decade ago. Moore (2013) further indicates that the factory of Primary in Bangladesh had crashed din to no obvious mason other than weak construction, killing and injuring some workers.
There is a lock of health and safety rules at the Primary stories in Bangladesh as the fire escapes are blocked and there is no ventilation available. Primary needs to work hard on providing its workers with better working conditions and needs to keep a check to see if they are authorized to work in the I-J. Being operating in the same very industry, T. K Max has never used any unlawful and unethical means and modes to manufacture its outputs. Rather, the company has set standards for carrying out operations.
The top level management ensures that these set principles must not only be implemented but ought to regularly practice as well. As per the company’s profile, T. K Max takes it as an obligation to take care of all the aspects of manufacturing fashion outfits and accessories, rather it is also concerned about the means and modes which its suppliers tend to use (T. K Max, 2014). 2. 3 Why do incidents like Prim ark happen? Stated that consumers today hold power. They could dictate terms with regard to ethics if the organization is not a monopoly.
The concept of corporate responsibility has been widely studied and enforced through legislation and regulation. Scrutiny from media is also another vital factor. All these factors can be subsided with the introduction of globalization and modern day awareness of consumers. However, the author stated a different perspective and claimed that certain modern day pressures on corporate in a way divert them towards unethical means. Investor’ capital has much more mobile, economic activates: has become speculation driven.
And rapid changes to technology have brought about a certain short sightedness about businesses. The idea is to be able to sell more and more in a short span of time. Hilton, Choc and Chin (2004) explained that with globalization, businesses have changed their working methods. National boundaries and distances are no longer an issue as such. However, this creates a sort of a void and grey area. For example, Primary which was selling cloths in Britain was getting its supplies from India. The circumstances, situations, society, norms. Saws and regulations, and more importantly laws’ implementation processes (or in many cases lack of it) creates a huge problem. Child labor and bad working conditions would be considered extremely immoral and incorrect in the eyes of a British audience. Child labor issue to be an example: Especially the norms. Culture. And ideas of the society make child labor, a thing to cut if and those who use children are not viewed with favorable view. On the other hand, in India especially in the more under developed areas. Where education is on the lower side, population growth higher. ND economic condition are in dire condition, child labor almost becomes a necessity. One man father more than half a dozen children, with no state support it is almost impossible to run a family like this. Hence, children labor becomes sort of a necessity for that child and his or her siblings to survive. It is a catch 22 like situation where if consumer’s stop buying from Primary. Eventually that kid is going to suffer and will not be able to bring home the money the family needs so very much of. There is another side of this case which was looked upon by Fletcher (2008).
This was the consumer’s point of view. The question is that whether all the consumers who buy from companies who use child labor don’t just care? Are they immune to it or they consider it fine to have such a working system? The answer provided by Fletcher (2008) stated that with the credit crunch some consumers an in a way pushed into buying such brands. The cost of products has gone upwards and the power of buying has gone downwards. Therefore. Brands like Primary continue their sales despite much resentment and negative publicity.
The author stated that it is estimated that around 158 million children across the globe aged 5 to 14 have to work in conditions which can he termed hazardous. However, despite much noise and uproar about it, things keep going on and brands are able to shake off scandals and move forward. The author interviewed two middle aged mothers about how they feel about using brands which are using children as labors. One woman was of the opinion that she had no qualms about such practices being wrong. Children labor and bad working conditions are wrong practice but was unable to identify which brands were using them or which ones are not.
She claims that some expensive brands also do it. Therefore, she would rather buy from Primary understand. The economic side of things takes over from the ethical values. For a brand which is widely reported to have used unethical practices is being preferred over other brands as its costs are lower and other brands are put in the unethical bracket on basis of hearsay or perception. Another mother who worked as her doctor followed the same beliefs. She stated that she had discussed with her children, forever stated that it is not Just Primary but other brands which are involved too.
She blames her children for such her unethical shopping as she claims that when kids nag for new and slick dresses, ethics and morale are easy to forget. Management at T. K. Max believes that keeping customers happy and satisfied is the core ingredient of success. Nowadays, the customers have become more literate than before plus the level of awareness in them has also increased noticeably. This means that the customers cannot be dodged now. Therefore, in order to avoid all the uncertainties and unpleasant circumstances, the company T.
K Max has certain guidelines and principle which keep the company’s operations morally, ethically and environmentally upright. As per the company’s rules, its authorized vendors cannot use any unethical mean like taking advantage of labor from the ones who are underage. If T. J. Max fined any such practice, it will cease all its contracts, bonds and alliances with the vendors (T. K Max, 2014). 2. 4 Allegations made regarding child labor on Primary in 2009 While the management of Primary had cut off supplies from those three particular suppliers, it operations remained outsourced and in the sub- continent.
As discussed earlier. He issue was in a way down played made to look like an error of Judgment and selection on part of the corporate and individual foul play by suppliers. Hickman (2009) reported that fresh allegations regarding child labor from its suppliers in Bangladesh. While, the shareholders were delighted by the news of high profits, reports emerged in mainstream media that the company was once again involved its child labor and sexual harassment with respect of its suppliers. The code of conduct was not being followed.
The difference from the 14 report was that BBC had named the companies which resulted in ending of contract tit those companies. As discussed earlier that was not a suitable solution and it would only complex the situation even further for children. So, in the latest investigation which was conducted by War on Want, they declined to name the supplier as it only meant that their contracts would be torn apart and workers who already were under great deal of problem would face further issues. The Impact Impact of Responsible Management on Overcoming the Issue According to the scholars and researchers of University of Winchester (2014), a management is said to be responsible when it follows and fulfills all of its corporate social responsibilities with full zeal and zest. Researchers have termed this very CARS (corporate social responsibility) as a tool which management of the company tends to incorporate in its planning. There are several issues which companies come across every now and then. Some of them are critical whereas some are as normal as routine.
The issue of child labor is the burning question of all times. From social, economical and legal point of view, the induction and utilization of children for taking work from them more than their capacity and not paying them back Justly is omitting to be extremely focused upon and should be eliminated from the society something really serious, rather they only tend to care about more and more production in the least possible cost. It has also been noticed and observed that organizations make under age children to work completely but does not pay them the set amount of daily wages.
In order to exemplify the scenario, the case of Primary can be considered; which was however famous for its product offerings but on the other hand it was also famous for unethical practices; that is child labor (All and Khan, 2012). When the company gets surrounded by critics due to its engagement in unethical practices like child labor, then it becomes the core duty of a responsible management to bring the company’s name out of dirt. This is important because if such condition prevails, then the company; Primary primarily can lose the worth of its name not only in any one specific country, but everywhere where it operates.
Therefore for serving the purpose, the management ought to consider and dig deep into the CARS activities. As a response to the child labor practices, the perception of people regarding Primary has changed. They, however, made the potential customers o like and appreciate the quality which they produce, yet failed to bond the relationship between them. Its competitors; that are T. J. Max took the advantage of it by sticking more their codes of conduct (T. K Max, 2014). 4 The Response 4. 1 Reaction by the general public about child labor Hopkins (2008) highlighted that, after the news went public, them was an outrage.
Hundreds of people protested at the Oxford street gore of Primary. This was a direct response to the reports about child labor coming from Southern India. The protest was organized by War on Want which focused on the treatment of ill children in the manufacturing process. The protestors did not blame Just the Indian suppliers but they focused on the brand which they claimed had put so much pressure on the suppliers to reduce prices. It was inevitable to go through child labor. The report further stated that these scandals keep coming up time and again.
They urged the British government to bring in regulations and legislation attempting to eliminate such practice. In response to these Sues, Primary was forced in a way to sack three cloth suppliers from India as they were told that the program staff had substantial evidence of child workers. Response of the aroused issue was seen negative in the case of Primary. However in the case of T. J. Max, customers are found happy and satisfied by the practices and activities of the company. This has led this very fashion firm to the unmatchable heights of success (T. K Max, 2014).
However Primary could also be better if it abandons its unacceptable practices in the poor and underdeveloped countries in particular, where it was reported that Primary incorporates a huge amount of child labor in the production of its fashion clothes and other related accessories. 5 Possible Solution that Human Light Organizations ND Consumers Should Push for The way forward taken at that time by Primary can be termed as knee Jolt reaction to what the crowds and the media called for. However, what would have happened to those children and illegal employees who were working with Primary?
This is a question the protestors should be asking themselves. Fletcher (2008) presented the answer to this question to child labor issue as well. The closure of the factory doesn’t mean that those children would have started going to school. The RPR or app they were getting has been slopped due to have been that the protestors demanded that those children were given education n expense of the brand. This would have been a much better solution as it would have allowed the children to lead a better life in the long run.
Stopping child labor abruptly when media exposes such practices will never end or even reduce the problem. It would further complicate the issue and those out of Job children might become subject to abuse or get into criminal activities. Cutting one or for that matter throe supplier off would not prove anything substantial about the company’s behavior. Hickman (2009) stated that Primary looked towards creating more mechanism to control child labor. They created a website by the name of Ethical Primary. This was some steps towards becoming or trying to appear as an ethically correct organization.