Achieving Moral Sourcing in the Clothes Industry

Globalisation and price conscious consumers coupled with sufficient labour at a very cheap price have added towards apparel creation moving in to less developed countries. Because of this, developing countries involved in production gained the technical expertise, overseas investment, employment opportunities and economic growth whilst organisations liked the benefits associated with cost advantages. However, with disclosure of labour exploitation in manufacturing plants led to the creation of varied labour expectations and codes of conducts with the intentions of improving the working conditions of attire workers.

Nevertheless increasing costs, diminishing margins, ethnical barriers, size and the financial status of companies managed to get hard to put into practice systems that could ensure ethical souring consequently regarding to perversity thesis the requirements brought misery to the very people it possessed intended to help through unemployment and poor economic progress making good tactics only a differentiation tool for organisations. This accepts the need for an ethical sourcing system, which helps the development of the industry and the labour expectations hand in hand whilst creating a wholesome working environment, and considers various levels of collaborating as the way forward.

This matter will be discussing issues related to moral sourcing and implications on utilizing an accurate monitoring system in order to lessen and stop the exploitation of labour in both developed and expanding countries. In coming to the final outcome, sub issues such as Moral Sourcing, Sweetshops, behaviour and dedication of consumers, multinationals (sellers such as Nike and Difference) will be analysed in depth. Academic documents such as, the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Retail and Syndication Management, Humanomics, South Asia Economics Journal, Clothing and Textile Research Journal has used. Therefore, the headings and sub headings discussed comes from the collective research on this issue.


The competitive benefit of any industry typically depends on the cost structure, which decides final price of the product. Competitive benefit of apparel creation has migrated from region to region, the silkworm crises in Europe in the 19th century contributed towards development of Japanese textile industry and subsequently the garments industry. However, the introduction of the Japanese economy saw the increase in the labour cost and development costs which led to moving market sectors such as apparel manufacturing directly into other Asian countries following the soaring geese modal and at the moment countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia are main players; in apparel manufacturing.

According to the research conducted by Joergens (2006), it is apparent that individuals are not eager to pay more for ethically created products. "Sourcing clothing ethically while providing good working standards', and conditions to personnel and also to provide sustainable business modal in the cloths' country of origin" can be explained as ethical sourcing whilst according to Webster's online dictionary moral consumer is defined as "a person who comply with accepted benchmarks of communal or professional behaviour'';.

Why Moral Sourcing

Understanding the concept of a sweatshop is the ultimate way to understand Moral Sourcing. Therefore, "producing garment whilst violating individuals protection under the law of the employees such as civil, economical, political, and interpersonal within the work place can be define as a sweatshop", , child labour, unreasonable income and overtime pay, insufficient health and protection policies are some of the defining factors of your sweatshop.

2. 1 Sweatshops:

Increased globalisation in the retail business has added towards upsurge in demand for products and services. To be able to accomplish the demand changes and also to gain a competitive position on the market clients such as Nike, Reebok and Space have depended on large numbers of suppliers making contracting, subcontracting and home worker a key part of the industry composition. Encouraging, the developing crops to be move from unionised to non-unionist work sites, as regarding Phillips Truck Heusen and Kimi closing down factories in Guatemala and Honduras. Increased capital freedom in conjunction with programs such as NAFTA and GATT, that was design for a good cause, contributes towards surfacing sweatshops as companies will try to minimise cost to be able to maximise profits and shareholder wealth, using producing countries with ample supply of cheap labour with limited opportunity. For example Indian textile and clothing industry provides job for 35000 million 11% of the labour push. The textile and clothing industry in Sri Lanka contributes 6% to its GDP (Gross Domestic Development) and employs 6% of the labour drive whilst making textile and clothing industry a major contributor for countries monetary development.

2. 2 Important elements in figuring out a Sweatshop:

Violation of health insurance and safety, flexibility of association insurance policies and procedures such as captive and child labour with low remuneration completes a sweatshop whilst lack of basic needs such as hearth safety, clean drinking water, and sanitary requirements falls under inadequate health and safety facilities. Matching to Hobbs (1999) cited by Rivoli (2003) child labour is mostly obvious in factories in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Referring to Kwong (1997) and Varley (1998) cited by Rivoli (2003) advises procedures such as bonding of employees to recover the debt or problems incurred, using under age children, forcing the employees to go over the legal working hours in order to attain the daily development plan are areas of child labour. Furthermore depriving the employees to being signify by indie unions in order to get and attract international buyers contributes towards differentiating honest sourcing from unethical sourcing.

Unethical activities obvious in the apparel industry can be categorize in to three main areas these are as follows work/ human being right, environment and product consumer protection.

Reports open to the public provides information about areas of concerns but will not give enough evidence of acute cases and is basically because of the insufficient reliable information. However, finding 70 Thai immigrants in a US based manufacturing plant for only $0. 70 cents per hour, Difference labelling products manufactured in the Island of Saipan under incorrect working conditions and time as made in USA in order to save 20% tariff. NIKE employing 8000 lacking any employment contract with an harmful men to women percentage using Chinese migrant workers in Korea whilst exceeding daily legal working hours, limiting holiday seasons (2-3 days per month) with compulsory overtime and punishments for refusing overtime. REEBOK subcontractor violating Chinese labour laws by exceeding the utmost working hours per day with compulsory overtime and unpaid help unfinished production goals, punishments for conversing during work which can total up to 18 times pay without meeting the least wage and overtime pay requirements offers enough information and petrol against multinationals and sweatshops.

Stakeholder behaviour towards Ethical Sourcing

3. 1 Community and Private Sector Initiatives:

Referring to Freeman (1984) Cited by Playground and Rees (2008) organisations are prone to focus on the demands of various stakeholders. In early day the stakeholders included customers and shareholders and employees however discussing Freeman (1984) cited by Park (2008) in the present context stakeholders include any party who gets affected because of the functional activities of the company which include suppliersё workers and families aside from its employees.

United State governments (US) and European Union (European union) being the two major export market segments for South Asian and other countries in conjunction with the aggressive press coverage exposing inhuman operational activities which existed in the garments industry through the 1990s saw the united states department of labour pledging its determination towards preventing unlawful activities in the US apparel industry, whilst motivating the suppliers to become more knowledgeable with regards to labour regulations and practises and compliance and monitoring systems.

3. 2 Consumers Attitude towards Ethical Sourcing:

Research conducted in america (US) found more than 74% of the consumers would support the banning of products produced under weakened working conditions. Reinforced by review conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) where 86% of the consumers were towards garments created in moral condition with 66% willing to boycott the merchandise created under unethical conditions. Furthermore study conducted suggest individuals are willing to pay 28% more for $10 product and 15% more for something which will probably be worth $100. In contrast although consumers are inclined to pay more for moral products and be ethical consumers corresponding to Joergens (2006) they have emerged as price delicate and would like to buy more for the amount they spend alternatively than buying few ethically produced products.

Strategic Aspect of Ethical Sourcing

The external environment of an organisation will influence just how it operates involving cost, quality, which impact how the suppliers are been able taking labour and ethical issues into consideration. Therefore well laid out strategic goes will enhance the performance of the company whilst Hambrick (1983) and Porter (1974) cited by Dess and Davis (1984) suggests by looking at how organisations use their resources the tactical intend of the organisations can be identify. According to Porter (1986) cited by Park and Dickson (2008) organisations can create a competitive advantage within the other player from the way the organisation manages its resources. However, Murray (1988) thinks that organisational surrounding where it manages will determine the value of the resources and making environmental aspects necessary to the successful strategy whether it's differentiation, cost leadership or both. Relating to Mintzberg (1988) cited by Area and Dickson (2008) the broadened version of porters generic strategies illustrates the strategy to be cost mindful whilst neglecting honest issues in the outfits industry will are categorized as differentiation by price, provided products can be purchased at a cheaper price on the market gaining them a competitive gain within the players similarly strategy related to honest sourcing will be associated with differentiation by image which will lead to raised prices and creating an exclusive image in the potential buyers mind and contributing towards gaining a competitive border on the other players. Furthermore with the upsurge in honest issues related to outfits sourcing all major organisations are trying to differentiate by image using strategies and allocating resources corresponding to market necessity and tendencies. Countries such as Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have committed to complying with the moral standards and are using the better standards maintained on the market as a unique selling point. Furthermore the "Garments; without Guilt"; effort developed by the federal government and the private sector of Sri Lanka in order to position the united states as an honest sourcing vacation spot has added towards Sri Lanka becoming the only country with 39 International Labour Organisation Conventions gaining an advantage over the competition as a supplier who can cater to the needs of global consumers. Competitive advantages gained by Sri Lanka was mainly due to the timing of applying the ''value creating'' tactical initiative.

Advantages of experiencing sweatshops and the Negative Areas of Ethical Sourcing

Unskilled personnel such as machine operators who are typically women in the South Parts of asia do not wish to pursue a job nonetheless they work in order to make some quick cash before they get committed or to add for the income of family members and raise the living standards. Furthermore, due to the development of the apparel industry, predicated on the unskilled cheap labour, South Asian and other growing countries were able to attract international investment and technology subsequently lowering the unemployment levels, lowering the rural poverty. According to Heyward 1997 cited by Ponniah (1999) the 200 garment manufacturing plant programme prompted by the Sri Lankan government best illustrates the positive impact it had on the rural poverty and tapping in to the country's untapped cheap labour market. However, honest sourcing policies by the american government authorities and multinationals and the difference in thinking and circumstances that prevails in the Asian region and expanding countries have resulted higher labour costs stimulating buyers to move to another cheaper manufacturing destination for example: Nike relocating to Taiwan and Korea from Japan whilst creating unemployment.


According to Gere and Korzeniewiz (1994) cited by Area and Dickson, outsourcing have made organisations depend on an international supply chain which comprises contractors, subcontractors, real estate agents and distributors rendering it difficult to control, monitor and apply good working practices of the members in the resource chain.

Both potential buyers and manufacturers are concentrating on ethical sourcing and creation mainly because of the potential profitability, because of the intense pressure from federal government and private sector. The clients need to choose between cost advantages and negative unsafe promotion, which can have a long lasting influence on the profitability of the organisations. Therefore, sometimes a corporate communal responsibility coverage and well-documented rules of carry out can be use as a marketing tool. In the same way, in the case of manufacturers complying with the market requirements and being compliant will make them more appealing to the international and local buyers again increasing the earnings by differentiating them from the rest of the competitors altering the goal of Corporate Public Responsibility and Rules of Conduct.

Retailers use many suppliers from different locations, therefore it is very hard to develop as well as stick to Codes of Conduct because of difficulties faced when communicating the content anticipated to social and language obstacles, even though some organisations have gone to the level of working with the suppliers assisting them fiscally when required, in putting into action and monitoring conformity standard whilst showing commitment. The real reason for the company remains a problem since retailers will work with dealer from countries that does not adhere to these policies, without a clear cut response to who's bearing the price involved in utilizing and observing these specifications. Making the clients the main cause of price wars and exploitation, of labour in the apparel industry.

In addition, implementation of rules and good working tactics, supports the facet of "Perversity thesis where Anti-Sweat Motion risks departing in worse straits the very people allegedly being helped by the movement". Therefore especially in the growing countries where some work is better than no employment ethical sourcing procedures brings devastation to the people it tried out to help through higher unemployment, Lost income and slower economic development.

In a business environment where market and non-market forces are lobbying for an honest behaviour, organisational leaders are caught up between two worlds because of the perversity thesis. Sweatshop conditions are hard to eliminate due to social barriers (terminology and values), size of the businesses, differences in the market segments retailers goal, and governmental regulations. The organisations are moving towards keeping a balance by firmly taking up a collaborative stance with the suppliers to handle the honest sourcing problems prevailing in categories such as real human rights, environment and consumer safety, to make a socially dependable buying and management system which provides firms with better economical performance whilst minimising the negative influences such as, lack of employment and slow economic expansion. The introduction of the middle ground suggests the two categories for and against honest labour expectations to trust, that customers would keep on outsourcing it's creation to the countries with low incomes which will assist in the economic growth in conjunction with the politics support to encourage the "race to underneath" alongside ever-increasing demand for better specifications and higher financial increases for those employees.

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