Ethical fashion is nothing new but it is a bit of a minefield. I’ll visit this subject again, as I’m still trying to get my head around it, but where better to start than that high street favourite Primark.
So the reason I started thinking about this was after a conversation with my boyfriend. We are trying to be a little more environmentally friendly with our eating habits (more of that next week) and are toying with cutting out meat. The issue inevitably came up of why we were so keen to cut out the cow and love the lamb but gleefully skipped out of Primark the day before with a whole spring wardrobe for £25.99.
Whatever your view on the style no one can deny the success of Primark over the last decade. A few mind blowing facts for you
- Primark has 325 Stores in 11 countries
- They employ over 68,000 people
- Primark generated 1.7 billion in revenue in 2017
- They do not have an online store
Looking at these facts it’s safe to say that Primark is here to stay and, amazingly without an online store, is still continuing to grow.
The general consensus with anyone you talk to (or I talk to) is that Primark’s history on the ethical side of things is not great. People seem to think that they either support child labour or that the working conditions are terrible. I decided that whilst I find it hard to believe that a company can produce a T-Shirt for £2 and still make a profit (don’t get me started on how McDonald’s make a profit from a burger for 99p), in 2018 they can’t be the big bad wolf we all think they are.
So before I try to solve this mystery let’s go back in time to 2013. Some of you may remember, and I sincerely hope you do, the collapse of Rana Plaza, a building near Bangladesh housing 5 garment factories manufacturing clothing for approximately 28 brands including Primark. 1,138 workers died and more than 2000 were injured. Let that sink in.
Like many tragedies, what happened after has not really done much to improve the public’s opinion of Primak. Lets remember though, its an opinion that has not stopped Primarks sales growing year on year. Primark was left with the reputation of the brand that didn’t care. In truth Primark was one of the first companies to sign up to the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety” in Bangladesh. It has paid over $14 million, which has gone to workers and families employed by its supplier, and many other initiatives.
Fast forward to January this year and the #GoTransparant campaign. Primark was at first hesitant to sign a pledge which called for full transparency of their suppliers. 70,000 people signed this petition and in February Primark did the right thing and published their global supplier list. If I’m honest I was thought I would be ending this article on a negative note. I heard a lot in the media about all the bad things Primark was known for but nothing about this latest turn of events, I only found the information through industry websites.
So can I carry on getting my bargains at Primark? I don’t know. Just because they are doing all the right things now does not cancel out the practices of the past but its a huge step in the right direction.
If you want to read the statement from Primark regarding this latest news you can find it on their website here
There’s some really interesting information related to this issue on this website
Have a lovely week