Luxury brands and forced labor

faithbw

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Mar 22, 2017
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A new study finds that luxury brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Prada don't fare well when it comes to forced labor.

"Many consumers assume that more expensive products are made ethically in high-quality factories. But the rankings revealed that luxury brands had among the lowest scores. Prada received an abysmally low score of 5, for instance, and Salvatore Ferragamo scored 13. The LVMH conglomerate, which includes brands like Fendi, Celine, Rimowa, and Christian Dior, scored 14, while Hermes was not much better at 17. Many of these brands make their products in Europe, but KnowTheChain says that European workers are also vulnerable to exploitation."

Link to full article below.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90279693/did-a-slave-make-your-sneakers-the-answer-is-probably
 

redgreenblue

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Aug 4, 2013
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A new study finds that luxury brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Prada don't fare well when it comes to forced labor.

"Many consumers assume that more expensive products are made ethically in high-quality factories. But the rankings revealed that luxury brands had among the lowest scores. Prada received an abysmally low score of 5, for instance, and Salvatore Ferragamo scored 13. The LVMH conglomerate, which includes brands like Fendi, Celine, Rimowa, and Christian Dior, scored 14, while Hermes was not much better at 17. Many of these brands make their products in Europe, but KnowTheChain says that European workers are also vulnerable to exploitation."

Link to full article below.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90279693/did-a-slave-make-your-sneakers-the-answer-is-probably

I wouldn’t believe too much in this ranking. Nike got a 63.

Luxury brands usually get low ranks, because they don’t disclose their details. This does not automatically mean they produce at an ethically high standard, but it would be more honest not to rank them or to give score intervals.
 

Jen Meyers

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Jul 13, 2017
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If I read the report correctly, the scores are based on information disclosed by the companies, right?

I have no doubt many luxury brands sometimes participate in shady activities, but I don' t think it would be fair to score them based on the fact that they aren't fully disclosing their practices.

I think brands like Nike, Gap, fast fashion, etc, scored higher due to public pressure from the exposés of their manufacturing practices. These companies had to set up initiatives and become more transparent to mend their relations with consumers. I don't think any luxury brand faced the same level of scrutiny compared to Gap, etc., so they probably never felt the need to publicly disclose their manufacturing practices/supply chains.

On another note, I believe Kering got a higher score (compared to the other luxury brands) because of Stella McCartney, and Gucci starting Gucci Equilibrium.
 
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Liberté

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Jan 5, 2007
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A fee things to consider in addition to the fact that non-disclosure means lower score is that different luxury brands have very different levels of control with the production chain (prada seems to have less control and vertical integration than let's say hermes) and forced labor also exists in Europe, the US and the EU with Italy not exactly having the best track record.
 
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Lake Effect

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Feb 25, 2017
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I don't think the lack of transparency on the part of luxury labels lets the off the hook though. There could be nothing wrong but since consumers pay thousands of dollars shouldn't there be more transparency?
I googled a couple of articles that are a few years old and one of them was on the influx of Chinese immigrants to Italy in the last 20 years and the rise in manufacturing employing them by luxury houses subcontracting to them. So they can state made in Italy on their products. While obviously there are legit companies, the sweatshop model still abounds.
Unfortunately this type of transparency presents a marketing nightmare, IMO. People want their handcrafted artisan illusion.
 
Mar 10, 2007
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Unfortunately this type of transparency presents a marketing nightmare, IMO. People want their handcrafted artisan illusion.
Yes, but you know what? People don't want to pay for it. Maybe if everyone had to be transparent, people would support the small farmers, the artisans, the small businesses instead of allowing themselves to be hoodwinked into thinking that they can have true "lux"/artisanship without actually...you know...supporting the infrastructure needed for artisans to thrive.
 
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lara0112

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Dec 11, 2006
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I am doing research into this topic right now - to be precise the annual disclosures these companies provide - interestingly, they provide a lot more than other industries - I am focussing on high-end luxury only though. Hermes in particular discloses a lot on their artisans (not sure about all the workforce) and that they try to ethically source skins etc etc . however, what goes on behind the scenes is typically another matter in all industries and there are worse and less worse offenders
 

doni

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Oct 10, 2007
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I think this is quite an absurd ranking.
The Chinese swearshops in Italy, mostly Prato, are an issue. This is one reason why for example Gucci is right now going in the direction of insourcing more.
Most of Hermes employees are in French territory employed under French law. That already tells you that they have a 35 hour week, social security, health insurance, tons of paid holidays... come on, Nike employees are better off? Personally, I doubt it.
 

Oliver11

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Dec 28, 2009
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I googled a couple of articles that are a few years old and one of them was on the influx of Chinese immigrants to Italy in the last 20 years and the rise in manufacturing employing them by luxury houses subcontracting to them. So they can state made in Italy on their products. While obviously there are legit companies, the sweatshop model still abounds.
Unfortunately this type of transparency presents a marketing nightmare, IMO. People want their handcrafted artisan illusion.
It's partly that, but also there is an underlying problem that hardly any young people in Europe want to become craftspeople :sad: Craftsmanship needs to become sexy and companies need to offer it as a wholesome and rewarding career option, which we all know will result in prices going up significantly.... Catch 22!
 
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Lake Effect

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Feb 25, 2017
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It's partly that, but also there is an underlying problem that hardly any young people in Europe want to become craftspeople :sad: Craftsmanship needs to become a sexy and companies need to offer it as a wholesome and rewarding career option, which we all know will result in prices going up significantly.... Catch 22!
That’s a good point. You reminded me of something, since I use carry mostly vintage Coach. Apparently the lore of Coach back in the ‘80’s, and the owner then even published a book, is the majority of their bags, products were made in a loft in NYC. Mostly made by leather craftsmen who immigrated from other countries.
 
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