In the latest issue from my journalist colleagues at the magazine Camino I read about the outlet company Lager 157. I used to know it as a place not that far from where I grew up, where people went to buy designer clothes cheaply. Now they have brought the Code of Conduct, that many companies have, to a new level with what they call Open Conduct. There they will try to show as much information as possible about the clothes – not just the names of the factories where the clothes are produced and use of chemicals etcetera, but also how much the price of a garment is raised in the every step of the distribution chain and some other economic calculations. Read more about it here (autotranslated from Swedish)
This is certainly an interesting idea, but as Camino puts the question: How would you react if you saw that the cheap top from Bangladesh has costed the company eight kronor (= less than one Euro) to buy?
Other companies reporting their activities from different sustainability aspects are H&M, IKEA and many others following the UN standars Global Reporting Initiative, GRI. In H&M’s CSR Report they publish for example the existence of child labour or if the overtime hours are within the legal limit.
At the GRI website it’s possible to see which companies publish their reports openly.
One can only wonder who has the time to go through all these reports before going out to buy a new television or a winter coat… But the Swedish grocery retail group Coop’s own sustainability report actually provided journalists with the material to write about bad working condtions in the production of some of Coop’s products earlier this year. So – there are people who do read them.