blame the consumers
Who should be held accountable for tragedies like the Bangladesh factory collapse that killed so many garment industry workers? Jerry Davis, writing in the Sunday New York Times, says that consumers need to recognize their blame in the global marketplace. Consumers demand cheap products, which forces companies to pressure their suppliers to cut costs at every corner. The loser is the laborer who makes the initial products in the supply chain.
Our willingness to buy garments sewn under dangerous conditions, chocolate made from cocoa picked by captive children, or cellphones and laptops containing “conflict minerals” from Congo create the demand that underwrites these tragedies….If we want to see fewer tragedies like the one in Bangladesh, we as consumers need to reward the companies that make the effort to verify their supply chains and shun those that do not. Make it unprofitable to be unsafe.
While I agree with Jerry, in principle, that consumers’ demand for low-cost items will inevitably lead to these sorts of problems, consumers are actually very inertial creatures. If we put all our hopes in changing the global marketplace in the wallets of people like Joe Schmoe from Brownsburg, Indiana, we’re not likely to see much change. Most changes in supply chain management begin with a few committed activists who are willing to go out and pressure the company through “naming and shaming” tactics. Public humiliation still seems to work.
Subscribe to comments with RSS.
Comments are closed.