Last month I this column I wrote about technology creating its own reality and change in perception. And one of the examples I cited is the linkage between inexpensive clothing at major stores and chains linking to factory fires in Bangladesh and accompanying horrific photos.
As we all know, in the time in-between publication and this article, we have had yet another factory fire in Bangladesh. This fire with 1,127 victims is the worst industrial accident since Bhopal. The pictures of this horror jumpstarted a conversation about supply chain, albeit it may not have been labeled as such in the media. But how we buy clothing the advent of “fast clothing”, a view towards building codes, minimum wage in Bangladesh and other countries, the signing of firms to the Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the positions and reasoning of the 14 North American retailors that declined to participate – all these factors were played out day after day. The concepts of sustainability and corporate responsibility were themes throughout these articles and certainly are now on consumer’s radars as they shop and think about where their clothing comes from and how and where it is made. Whether articles in the New York Times or postings on my local town blog site asking how we can buy clothing responsibility.
Turning to this issue, Randy Lewis, who was our keynote speaker at the 3S Awards, and Joe Tillman, talk about Empowering People and Randy’s experience at Walgreen’s. As part of our program to support our 3SAward winners, the University of Tennessee offered winners its course on Vested Outsourcing. A report on the course including an interview with Ajay Chaturvedi, founder of HarVa, offers insight into how vested applies to non-profits, governmental agencies and NGOs as well as for profit businesses. And an article about the 2013 3SAwards continues our mandate to support and sponsor sustainable and responsible sourcing.