How did the clothes you’re wearing get to you? Guardian journalists trace the lifecycle of the shirt on your back via the teeming workshops of Dhaka, where labour is cheap, factories are cheaper and just going to work can be fatal

Amazingly done interactive documentary by The Guardian. This was a huge eye-opener, and I’m definitely going to look more into ethical clothing because this - this is unacceptable.

Coming Exhibition: Loving Devotion: Visions of Vishnu

Coming Exhibition: Loving Devotion: Visions of Vishnu

“Loving Devotion: Visions of Vishnu”

Vishnu with Attendants, Bangladesh, 12th century, schist (stone), Collection of the Newark Museum

Who:  BYU Museum of Art

When: Sept. 5, 2014 – Feb. 21, 2015 (Mon-Sat. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.)

Where: 

Brigham Young University Museum of Art
North Campus Drive
Provo, Utah 84602

How Much:  Generally Free, some special exhibits require a ticket.

More Information: Here.

“…

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Ghulam Azam, the spiritual head of Bangladesh’s far-right Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party, was found guilty of “crimes against humanity” for the part he played in inciting and organizing death squads that allegedly slaughtered thousands in the final bloody months of Bangladesh’s 1971 war for independence.

Some Retailers Rethink Role in Bangladesh

Bangladeshis buried the dead Wednesday in Dhaka. The collapse of a clothing manufacturing center killed more than 400 people.

Ever since a building with garment factories collapsed in Bangladesh last week, killing more than 400 people, Western apparel companies with ties to the country have scrambled to address public concerns about working conditions there.

Benetton repeatedly revised its accounts of goods produced at one of the factories, while officials at Gap, the Children’s Place and other retailers huddled to figure out how to improve conditions, and some debated whether to remain in Bangladesh at all.

At least one big American company, however, had already decided to leave the country — pushed by the last devastating disaster, a fire just six months ago that killed 112 people.

The Walt Disney Company, considered the world’s largest licenser with sales of nearly $40 billion, in March ordered an end to the production of branded merchandise in Bangladesh. A Disney official told The New York Times on Wednesday that the company had sent a letter to thousands of licensees and vendors on March 4 setting out new rules for overseas production.

Less than 1 percent of the factories used by Disney’s contractors are in Bangladesh, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The company’s efforts had accelerated because of the November fire at a factory that labor advocates asserted had made Disney apparel. The Disney ban also extends to other countries, including Pakistan, where a fire last September killed 262 garment workers.

Disney’s move reflects the difficult calculus that companies with operations in countries like Bangladesh are facing as they balance profit and reputation against the backdrop of a wrenching human disaster.

Bangladesh has some of the lowest wages in the world, its government is eager to lure Western companies and their jobs, and many labor groups want those big corporations to stay to improve conditions, not cut their losses and run.

But as the recent string of disasters has shown, there are great perils to operating there.

Continue reading at The New York Times

Is Your Shirt From Here? JCPenney, Mango Among Companies That Used Fatal Bangladesh Factory

The list of retailers whose clothing was made at the Bangladesh factory complex where the collapse has killed nearly 400 is growing. Nina Strochlic on the unending cycle of tragedies.

Was your shirt or jeans stitched by one of the nearly 1,000 garment workers who were injured or killed in the recent factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh? You might want to check the label.

Bangladeshi volunteers and rescue workers are pictured at the scene after an eight-story building collapsed in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on April 25, 2013. (Munir uz Zaman/AFP/Getty)

In the week since an eight-story, four-factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh, online records and physical debris revealed a growing list of international retailers tied to the suppliers housed in the Rana Plaza building. More than a dozen brands have been identified—including big names like The Children’s Place, Benetton, Mango, and Primark—and a number of these companies have emerged to explain their association with the shoddily built, illegal bloc that housed the factories.

In an assembly line with so many middlemen, who’s to blame? Garment workers, among the world’s worst paid and treated laborers, increasingly have fallen victim to unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh, where the $20 billion garment industry employs 3.2 million people. But in the finger pointing after every disaster, little progress is made to fix the issue, as companies often blame corrupt government inspectors or factory owners, who blame companies for the pressures of a rigorous supply schedule. In the wake of a string of deadly factory accidents, critics argue a stricter set of checks and balances must be implemented across the board—and taken out of the hands of international retailers.

“You’re the leader in the industry, and the industry’s been structured in a way that keeps responsibility at a distance from you and that’s not acceptable,” says Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), of the companies. She calls the current systems in place “woefully inadequate” and saying, “frankly, they don’t want responsibility for those workers.”

The Daily Beast contacted 11 international retailers whose names surfaced in connection to the factories, and two responded with comments by press time.

Department store JCPenney noted that while no company-label merchandise was produced at the factory, product slated for its stores was. “While JCPenney has no direct insight into the development and sourcing of Joe Fresh apparel, we will continue to be a part of a broader coalition that aims to improve the safe working conditions in Bangladesh,” a spokeswoman said in an email to The Daily Beast.

Some, including Benetton and Mango, have acknowledged using the factories but said they were not official suppliers and had not been fully audited. “A one-time order was completed and shipped out of one of the manufacturers involved several weeks prior to the accident,” Benetton said in a statement. “Since then, this subcontractor has been removed from our supplier list.”

According to activists, labels were found for French supermarket Carrefour and European retailer C&A, both of which deny current involvement with the suppliers. The Children’s Place and the Dress Barn said they were prior customers but hadn’t done business with the factories in years. And despite one of the factory websites claiming Walmart as a customer, the world’s largest retailer denies the association.

Bangladeshi relatives of missing workers in a building that collapsed Wednesday hold pictures of their family members in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 28, 2013. (Kevin Frayer/AP)\


“We ask ourselves, how many more workers have to die for there to be a significant change?”


Others have been more forthcoming. Bonmarché, in the United Kingdom, confirmed it was working with one of the factories, telling The Daily Beast, the company has “a clear supplier code of conduct, in line with industry standards.” Both Loblaw Co., the Canadian retailer that owns Joe Fresh, and the U.K. clothing chain Primark announced they would dole out reparations to family members of the victims, including long-term provisions and immediate aid. “We are fully aware of our responsibility,” Primark said in a statement. “We urge these other retailers to come forward and offer assistance.”

Finish reading at The Daily Beast