Employ staff - Primark has a code of conducts that are followed by factories and suppliers to ensure that their clothes are made in a good working conditions. This includes:
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labour shall not be used
- Living wages are paid
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practised
- Regular employment is provided
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
These are the code of conduct that is followed within Primark’s factory to help their employees to work in a fair and good working condition. Primark has become more ethical over the years to ensure that their employees can work in good conditions. There is no discrimination encouraged by Primark as they have believe that their employees are very important to the company. If their code of conduct is not followed by suppliers and worker, their contract will be terminated by Primark. This is because they trying to become more ethical and sustainable. To make sure that their code of conduct is followed; their ethical trading team carries out an audit to ensure that their factories are functioning efficiently.
In the year 2007-2008 Primark was exposed for using child labour. There were children used to produce fast fashion clothing at very low prices for Primark. They worked in very poor conditions, earning no more than 7p an hour for very excessive hours. The money they earned was used for clean water, shelter, clothes, education, health care and transport. This is very unethical as children are used put together clothing with their bare hands. As a part of their fate to get back into the good books of their customers they sacked 3 suppliers in India as they did not follow the ethical treatment.
The media today still believes today in 2012 that child labour is still being used by Primark. According to Dutch multinational research institute “young teenage girls have been found working at the four firms which produce solely for the export market. Some girls are forced to work overtime or banned from leaving the factory compound”.
A couple years ago Primark used to sell sandblast denim, to their customer, but after becoming exposed, they have become more ethical over the years. They have stopped selling sandblast jeans as it risks their workers’ health. Primark are now looking for alternative techniques that are safe and viable.
Raw material – Primark products are mainly sourced in China, India, Turkey and Bangladesh. Primark import their cotton from Himalayas Mountains Nepal. There is no evidence that Primark has any contribution to deforesting.
Manufacturing - Primark are committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from our stores. They have been working with the Carbon Trust to develop their Carbon Policy which is displayed in all their stores. In the year 2008 Primark Carbon footprint was measured 27,000 tonnes. Primark has created a long-term programme to create sustainable improvements in labour standards with their suppliers in China, India and Bangladesh. They are working with global and local partners to help increase the wages as well as the improving production management system. Primark has estimated that within a year, as part of their recycling strategy they will save 238,000 trees. They also plan to reduce road use by 160,525 miles, saved 27,869 gallons of fuel and cut 21,576 lorry trips to our stores.
Distribution - To move their goods around Primark uses chutes, wave prick because it’s more efficient and requires less labour. Primark also uses pallet live storage as they have had problems in the past with storing. Primark has been encouraging greener business practise by recycling all of their store waste. They have been recycling cardboards, hangers and plastic through their new centralised recycling. With this they are planning to make their distribution system more carbon neutral.
Animal testing – Primark once tested their makeup and toiletry before the year 2009. There became a stop to their testing on animal once they joined the ETI group to become more ethical and sustainable. This is shown within their ethical policy.
Primark has many different stakeholders such as:
Primark’s key methods of communicating with their customers are by, creating an ethical trading website, where they are able to share their concerns with Primark. By becoming more ethical over the years Primark is able to give their customers affordable fashion clothing, while keeping them well informed on their ethical issues. Primark has also created a school project as a way of interacting with their consumers more. This involves students creating a website on Primark’s stakeholders and the importance that they play. The students are also sharing ethical challenges that Primark will face. This helps Primark’s consumers have a more understanding on their ethical issues and methods of solution to solve them. As a stake holder Primark customers want low priced fashionable goods for the value of their money, which will means that Primark will have to try and balance the becoming more ethical and sustainable which juggling the expectations of their customers. This will add a lot of excessive cost Primark.
Primark’s share holder own shares within the company, which means they have an input on the decisions that are made by Primark. Primark keep their stakeholders informed by sharing their corporate social responsibility report. This will mean that they able to see what Primark’s behaviour are towards ethical issues. Primark’s shareholders would expect an increase in their dividends as more money is being spent from their pocket to become an ethical and sustainable business. They would also want their sales to increase as well as their profit.
- Workers and communities
As a part of Primark’s plan to become more ethical they are communicating more efficiently with their worker and communities. Primark’s clothes are made in China, Bangladesh and India. Within these countries Primark has listened to their problems and challenges that they face. With the information that they have gathered they are able to launch development programs to help their workers and communities such as, the HER project, where they provide essential health, hygiene, and nutritional education and awareness for women garment workers and their families and communities. This will have a great impact on their worker and communities. Workers and communities would require a respectable and professional workplace; this would include the good conditions, fair wages. They would also want the helping hand to a healthy lifestyle, such as educations, better quality jobs and solutions to health problems. These are some of the problems that they rely on Primark to support them with.
- Trade unions
Primark has used many different methods to engage with their trade union groups. They have set off by listening to the different opinions of their worker and try to find solutions to overcome the problems. By performing ethically it will have a positive impact on their trade unions as they will be listened to and treated fairly. As Primark is a part of the ETI and international labour organisation they are encouraged to improve labour practises. As a stakeholder of Primark the trade union would want a fair understanding within decision-marking about wages, pay rise but also right to fair working hours and holidays. These are problems that the trade union would like Primark to have a helping hand with.
While Primark is performing more ethical, it might be as benefit to their suppliers if they don’t have the same values and ethics as Primark. This could mean they night lose Primark as a customers. On the other had Primark has a code of conducts which all of their supplier and factories must follow as a part of their way of becoming more ethical. If their code of conduct is not followed the Primark, will break of the contract and again lose Primark as a customers. Supplier would like a long-term contract with Primark with fair terms and conditions especially if they are dealing with supplier that has ethical morals.