In this report I will be talking about how my chosen organisation, which is Primark, uses ethical issues to consider in its every day operational activities. Primark may not have some ethical issues that I will be discussing about in this report, but I will talk in detail about how they could use them, issues in their business. I will be explaining how Primark’s way of selling affects ethical issues and will be discussing about the things they need to be aware of whilst selling their clothes.
Primark were doing very well whilst taking the environment into serious consideration whilst selling their clothes however, a very disturbing accident occurred in one of their supplying factory. This was a disturbing issue which saw 1,100 people get killed when Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh on the 24th of April 2013. This caused a lot of pollution, workers lost their jobs and houses were destroyed, this called a lot of people to protest against Primark because they had ruined the fact that they were called one of the best companies in the world who would consider the environment when selling their clothes.
What did they do to improve? They focused developing on a new programme with new life foundation which is the UK’s biggest disability charity specialising in support to aid children with all kinds of disabilities. They do this by recycling all their unwanted clothes and merchandise, all the profit from this is then used in support of the new life foundation. By recycling their unwanted clothes Primark can help the environment by decreasing Landfill and they could also reuse valuable resources. They also encourage every single customer of theirs to recycle their unwanted clothing and any other plastic resources (such as hangers) too.
They are involved in a charity which will give them customer loyalty from some people. In my opinion I think that Primark have done a very good job after the collapse of their building and they are now expanding their contract with New Life Foundation in order to recycle as much unwanted clothes as possible. They could have made improvements, such as finding more recycling companies and getting into partnership with them who are in a different country so they have customer loyalty from them too. Sustainability:
Being sustainable is when a business is able to be maintained at a certain level whilst taking the environment and people into consideration. Sustainable cotton is one of the key fibres that Primark use in their clothing; we know that Primark is sustainable because it makes profits for shareholders; they offer employment opportunities for example throughout Christmas when they are most busy they employ extra staff to help out. Primark are ethically sustainable because they also pay taxes of the governments of the countries in which they operate and have factories in. By doing this Primark looks after the society by producing cheap clothes for society and looks after its stakeholders.
Moving onto sustainable cotton, Primark produces cotton where the practice of agriculture is limited and working conditions are extremely poor. They don’t buy raw cotton themselves, but work with farmers and organisations to introduce programmes which will help make their cotton sustainable and improve the lives of the people who depend on it. They introduced programmes in China and India in 2013 so they are enabled to work with farmers from those two growing countries and to improve working conditions; they helped people by giving them training to support workers to improve agriculture practices which ultimately leads to more yields. This means more sustainable cotton for Primark. In my opinion I think Primark have done fantastically well to build a sustainable future, after the Rana Plaza incident Primark have stepped up their work and are trying extremely hard to build a much more sustainable future for themselves. Human Rights:
Treating everyone the same no matter what colour, ethnic background, religion or gender they are, these are rights which are believed to belong to every person. However, Primark were tested when the BBC programme Panorama had exploited the fact that children as young as 7 years old were working to earn only RS.40 a day (60p) and working conditions were horrific. My chosen organisation denied all accusations and said they didn’t know anything about these conditions and didn’t know anything about child labour that was taking place in Tirupur, India. This led on to the sacking of three suppliers for breach of trust from Primark as they denied the fact they had any information on these terrible conditions and children working for up to 14 hours a day and making only 60p.
Many people had lost their jobs and Primark had refused to take responsibility for those who were sacked and were not ready to compensate. Did Primark do the right thing? No, I think that Primark made a mistake for sacking their suppliers where they could have improved working conditions in India. They are a multi-million company and are known worldwide they had the money to improve working conditions for their workers instead of sacking 3 suppliers, which means that people who were not at any fault had lost their job and couldn’t provide for their families. In my opinion I think Primark could have easily overcome this situation which occurred in June 2008 by improving working conditions, they have gone against the rights of some people as research showed hundreds of people lost their jobs who had a right to be working there and were at no fault what so ever.
This is when a business introduces dishonest or fraudulent conduct, typically involves bribery. My chosen organisation clearly states it its code of conduct that no bribery or corruption will be tolerated. A bribe can involve giving or offering a type of reward such as money or any form of gifts which will be used to gain a commercial advantage for the person giving the bribe. Primark have stated that all their suppliers, retailers and employees are not to take any sort of bribes from anyone however; serious action will be taken towards those who do for example getting fired straight away.
On April 29th 2013 Mohammed Sohel Rana was arrested 8 days after the Rana Plaza incident and he was the owner of the factory. Rana had approval for the building which is to be five floors but he added three more illegally and people claimed that he had taken some sort of corrupt way to build three more floors and they started pointing fingers towards him and started accusing Rana for the accident. In my opinion i think Primark should take this incident as a lesson and they should get rid of all the corrupt people who they are in partnership with.
Trading Fairly: This is when an organisations goal is to help producers and workers in developing countries to get good prices on their garments. As we all know that Primark have the cheapest prices on garments that are made from countries such as India and Bangladesh. The ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) had recognised their efforts in 2011.
This is when an organisation agrees to comply with all applicable domestic and international laws, statutes, ordinances and regulations. Primark has clearly stated in its code of conduct that they are committed to full legal compliance with the laws and regulations for every single location where they conduct their business. They will not accept law being broken by any of their employees, retailers or suppliers. They will sack any employee who breaches against the law whilst working at any location where Primark is conducting it business, it will not sell to the people who break laws whilst selling and they will not knowingly use suppliers who violate applicable laws and regulations. However, on 11th January 2009 a shocking story which was released by the BBC showed that Primark had been probing law breaches where one of their suppliers had breached employment and immigration laws.
Allegations suggested that workers were caught being paid £3 an hour, by undercover journalists. My chosen organisation was extremely concerned by these allegations as these breaches could lead onto fines over £10,000. The supplier who had been caught had admitted that he had employed people who had illegal status in the UK and those who were employees had admitted in front of a camera. I think Primark would have been shocked by the allegations and had to pay up the fines, in my opinion I would do routine checks around all the locations which my organisation was conducting its business to make sure no illegal issues are raised.