And that's why it's so important to know where and how your clothing is made. If we are pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the garment industry each year, shouldn't those who spend their lives making our clothes reap some of the benefits? Fortunately, many companies are working to make sure that they do. This is part 3 of 7 of my guide on which stores to support, and which to avoid. In seven parts, I will be analyzing the policies of the companies that have stores in my local mall, Coquitlam Centre. If you don't shop at Coquitlam Centre (or even know where it is), don't skip over this, as many of these companies have stores all over North America.
The Gap has a pretty bad reputation, specifically since on of their buildings were involved in the 2013 Bangladesh factory collapse. But they are actively working to atone for their part in that tragedy. The Gap Inc. has adopted a statement under the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. Their statement says that child, forced and trafficked labour will not be used in any Gap products, and that they will actively monitor their factories. Gap Inc. had both announced and unannounced audits. However, they are mostly conducted by their staff.
Garage is the same company as Dynamite. Check out part 2 to see why Garage scored red.
Golf Town had no information on their supply chain.
The GUESS website also had no information on their supply chain.
Gymboree is a children's clothing store that cares about kids everywhere! In fact, they prohibit cotton sourced from Uzbekistan because of it's history of forced child labour. Their policy states that no one under the age of 15, or higher where the age of school completion is higher, is permitted to work in their factories. They go above and beyond though: "Factories are encouraged to develop lawful workplace apprenticeship programs whenever possible for the educational benefit of their workers, provided that all participants meet both our minimum age standard of 15 and minimum legal age requirements."3 They also state that they will not use forced, indentured or prison labour in the making of their products. They also monitor and assess compliance in their factories, but did not say whether it was through a third party company.
H&M impressed me a couple years ago when they announced that they would be increasing their prices in order to ensure that their garment producers were paid fairly. Their code of ethics is thorough and impressive. They state that child labour is unacceptable, but then say that saying no to child labour isn't enough. Since 2004, H&M has been working alongside UNICEF to help abolish child labour around the world, and have been able to help over million children in the process. Their code of ethics also states that young workers (those under 18, but above the legal age of employment) are to be protect from any type of hazardous work, work that may interfere with their education, or that could be harmful to their health, physical or otherwise. The code also states that they don't accept forms of bonded, prison, illegal or forced labour. H&M not only does yearly unannounced audits of its factories, it also visits them to educate workers about their rights, and to interview workers to ensure they know how their wages are calculated.
Hudson's Bay Company
They Bay has adopted a statement under the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which states that a third party company does social compliance inspections of their factories, and that child labour, forced labour and hazardous working conditions are unacceptable. It's pretty wordy, and doesn't say a lot other than that besides the fact that all factories must follow the laws of the countries they're in.
Icing is owned by Claire's. Check out Part 2 to find out why Claire's received a yellow score.
J76 is a yoga apparel company, but unfortunately, they don't seem to have any information about their supply chain on their website.
Jersey City also has no information about their supply chain on their website.