October 29, 2007

Putting the kids in GapKids

The UK newspaper The Observer broke the story on Sunday that an investigation found children as young as 10 sewing GapKids clothing, revealing that "despite Gap's rigorous social audit systems launched in 2004 to weed out child labour in its production processes, the system is being abused by unscrupulous subcontractors".
In response, Gap released a statement the very same day announcing that "a very small portion of a particular order placed with one of its vendors was apparently subcontracted to an unauthorized subcontractor without the company’s knowledge or approval".
Clearly, apparel companies need to profoundly rethink the way they do business overseas, and the way they develop relationships with manufacturers and contracters, whose business rules and values may not necessarily match those of our own. In the middle is the consumer, who needs to ask themselves hard questions about the high cost of low prices, and what they are willing to carry on their conscience.

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