An estimated 21 million people – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys – are victims of forced labor around the globe.1 These victims work in virtually every industry and across sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, construction, entertainment and domestic service.
California is considered the seventh largest economy…in the world! So most every major company in the world does business in the state of California. And California’s consumer base, you and I who live in California, is the largest in the good ole US of A! So because California is uniquely positioned it has led the way in eradicating slavery and trafficking worldwide. Yay California!
Let’s check this out. Here is a shot Lululemon’s website. Oh look! It’s right there on the bottom…The California Transparency Act! Hallelujah! (Believe me, not all websites are this clear and easy to find what you’re looking for!)
Clicking leads to their Zero-Tolerance Policy:
Wow, this makes me feel pretty assured that Lululemon is not employing forced laborers. When I’m looking for athletic wear, this may be my new go-to. Yes, you have to dig, but it should be there! The wording may be different from site to site making it even harder to find. To go a little further, you can check out Lululemon’s score on Know the Chain which shows how companies measure up in their compliance. Here is Lululemon’s score
Then I chose a company that had a low score at Know the Chain, Prada. I scoured that website and while I found some really cool sunglasses, I could find no mention of their practices. Even though I found nothing, it doesn’t mean they used forced labor, its just that they are not in compliance with the law which could result in penalties. (If you find something, let us know!) Further research is needed by looking at their annual reports or writing to the company.
A recent survey of western consumers revealed that people would be willing to pay extra for products they could identify as being made under good working conditions. Would you? If we make our voices heard that we prefer to buy from companies that have a zero-tolerance for using forced labor, then it will encourage companies to comply and strengthen their efforts to eradicated slavery. This is a way for companies to bolster sales, enhance relationships with consumers and maintain brand loyalty. The best way to be heard is with our dollars! Let’s put our money where are hearts are!
This is one solid way to find out about the products we purchase. Though this reporting isn’t perfect. Language is vague on websites and there is a lot of clicking to find what you’re looking for. And I’ve heard stories how factories fool inspectors by playing a certain song over the loudspeaker to signal taking all the underaged children out the back door to avoid detection. It is not perfect. But I feel its a start. This is a way to begin my journey of being more informed.
A friend who has four growing kids asked, How can I clothe this brood using only Fair Trade goods when the cost is so much higher? She has the heart but not the finances. I get that! Next post I’ll explore others ways we can learn to become a more Compassionate Consumer that will fit most budgets.
Would love to hear in the comments your thoughts so far!