There was a connection between Primark and the Rana Plaza plant that collapsed on April 23, 2013, killing 1,134 people. Primark canceled clothing purchases in 2020, leaving workers susceptible to famine and homelessness.
After a lot of pressure from activists, Primark finally agreed to pay for their orders. However, the company hasn’t said how it made sure the money got to the workers, even though it says the program has been done right.
Remember that garment workers at Primark made only $113 per month while the company earned $485 million in profits last year! And we need not travel very far to see that nothing is changing.
A well-known newspaper says that less than two months ago, 1,000 textile workers in Myanmar who make clothes for Primark were locked up in their factory to keep them from joining anti-coup protests.
So far, there is no news or information regarding the investigation that Primark allegedly initiated on March 5 after a local labor organization raised concerns.
People who worked in the garment industry were some of the first people to take to the streets of Yangon to protest the military takeover.
Condition Of Labor
Primark as a company has taken some great steps to improve how it treats its employees ethically, but there is still a lot of room for progress.
The company has signed the Cotton Pledge and Bangladesh Accord on the Fire and Building Safety Pledge, which pledge to boycott Uzbek cotton.
They are also a part of the Ethical Trading Initiative and follow its code of conduct. Nonetheless, it does not guarantee a living income.
Primark, like many other fast-fashion brands, doesn’t own its own factories. Instead, it hires its suppliers to make its clothes.
With no control over its supply chain, Primark can avoid being held accountable for factory workers and any potential labor issues despite all the talk about ethical practices and audits.
Also, it got a score between 31% and 40% on the Transparency Index of Fashion, which shows that it doesn’t have enough safeguards or plans to protect workers and suppliers in its supply chain from COVID-19.
Primark could move up in this category if it was more open about its auditing methods and suppliers, if it paid its workers a living wage, and if it improved health and safety in its factories.
With the GoTransparent movement targeting Primark and five other major fast fashion brands, Primark will be compelled to comply if it intends to maintain its reputation.
Is This a Case of Greenwashing?
Primark has started a campaign with influencers. Laura Whitmore is the face of “Primark Cares,” an effort to help the people who make their clothes and protect the environment.
It was announced two weeks ago on their Instagram that she is the new ambassador for “Primark Cares” with the hashtag “Sustainability should be available to all!” Okay, we can now all agree that there are obstacles to purchasing sustainable apparel.
The most obvious impediment is monetary. A basic white t-shirt can be purchased for less than ten pounds at H&M, yet the same item can cost more than thirty pounds at sustainable labels such as Organic Basics.
There is a valid explanation for why these prices are higher. I agree with you that sustainable brands might be pricey.
Growing up in a large culture of shopping at places like Mango among others, has also spoiled me: getting the right materials that will last and finding manufacturers who use ethical procedures and pay their employees fairly shouldn’t be cheap.
People should always prefer buying used clothing over new, but it is understandable that it can be difficult to locate exactly what you want, like something “trendy.”
Therefore, one thing within our control is deciding how and where to spend our money. And to be honest, most people are exhausted and irritated by firms that capitalize on consumers’ desire to be more environmentally conscious by offering “accessible” items that are anything but.
Impact On The Environment
To begin with, Primark is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Since 2002, it has used paper bags instead of plastic bags and implemented steps to reduce waste and packaging.
Primark has worked with the nonprofit Delivering Good in the United States, through which stores give unsold merchandise to individuals in need.
Since 2010, European Primark stores have donated unsold clothing and shopping samples to Newlife, a charity that supports disadvantaged and terminally ill children and their families.
As part of the Greenpeace Detox campaign, the firm also pledged to eliminate dangerous chemicals from its goods by 2020, although there is little evidence that it is on course to reach this goal.
Primark has started to figure out how it affects the climate by tracking and reporting the greenhouse gas emissions that come from both its own operations and some of its supply chain.
But it hasn’t said much about what it’s doing to cut greenhouse gas emissions outside of making stores more energy efficient, and it hasn’t set a goal for doing so.
Given that its parent firm, Associated British Foods, has set a goal for one of its subsidiaries, British Sugar, this is unexpected.
Primark’s environmental actions are a start in the right direction, but they are insufficient to reduce the brand’s colossal carbon footprint as a quick fashion chain, therefore its “Not Good Enough” rating for the environment.
To move up in this category, Primark needs to start using eco-friendly materials in its products, set clear goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and wastewater, and put in place the right policies and programs for managing resources and getting rid of them.
The business has taken admirable steps to minimize waste and boost energy efficiency in its facilities and shops, sign the Cotton Pledge and Bangladesh Accord, and adopt the ETI Code of Conduct, but it still has a long way to go.
In the end, Primark’s business model, which revolves around producing a lot of cheap, disposable fast fashion, is incompatible with the ethics of ethical fashion and is bad for the environment, the workers, and the animals.