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Trade justice wristband not just

It turns out that the Make Poverty History white bands on the wrists of everyone who’s into such things at the moment has been made in factories which break Chinese working conditions law, as well as the standards of the Ethical Trading Initiative. Mainly because it uses forced labour and pays less than the minimum wage. Oops.

From The Grauniad:

A Cafod spokesman said: “We are disappointed this situation has arisen. However, we are now engaging with the supplier to improve conditions within the factory. Under the Ethical Trading Initiative standards, when we find out a supplier isn’t in line with those standards we don’t just pull away. We attempt to engage with the supplier and work with that supplier to improve conditions so they are in line with the Ethical Trading Initiative standards.”

Personally, I prefer this from The Indy:

“We were stupid,” said Dominic Nutt at Christian Aid. “We didn’t check it out, Cafod didn’t check it out, and Oxfam didn’t check it out.”

Really, though, this is the kind of thing you’d hope these charities would look into before they order tens of thousands of items. You’d think it would just be part of their day-to-day practice, to check out companies before ordering from them. But, to give Oxfam credit, whilst they ordered 10,000 wristbands from the affected factory, they haven’t sold these. It doesn’t really make much difference, because presumably the factory will still be paid, but I guess there’s not much more they could do in the circumstances.

Also in the Make Poverty History circle today, Bob Geldolf has been announcing the details of the Live 8 concert he’s planning for five weeks from now. Whilst it’s admirable that so many stars are coming together in this massive event for charity, I don’t understand the point of it. It isn’t being used to raise money, it’s supposed to serve as a message to politicians. Which I don’t understand. After all, people are not going to see these concerts because they support the cause, they’re going to turn up and tune in to see the celebs – so it’s going to send no greater message than that the public like pop acts. Which I think we already know. So what’s the point?

Surely, a more logical thing to do would be to ask people to amass at the stadia without any incentive, but simply to try and persuade politicians. This would not only spare the people of Edinburgh the descent of a million people on their city, but it would also actually send a message. The small problem being, not many people would go.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

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