In the days leading up to the collapse factory owners

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workers were killed when the building collapsed. In the days leading up to the collapse, factory owners were advised to vacate the building due to cracks appearing the walls, however, due to pressure to complete orders, factory workers were told a months wages would be docked if they did not turn up for work the following day (Devnath and Srivastava 2013 ). Ignoring this advice caused the fatalities and injuries to a further 2515 people (Butler 2013 ). Within the factories in the Rana Plaza complex clothing for high-street brands such as Zara, Mango and Primark were being produced at the time of the collapse (Nelson and Bergman 2013 ). What all these 2 A.M. James and B. Montgomery
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brands have in common is that they are fast fashion retailers who aim to bring catwalk-inspired fashion to the high street, as quickly and as cheaply as possible. The pressures being placed on the factories to complete the orders on time will have come directly from the brands in question. However Rana Plaza is far from the only social disaster of recent times, from late 1990 to the present day there have been 28 reported incidents in garment factories with 22 of these having fatalities. During this time, almost 2000 factory workers have lost their lives due to various social com- promises being placed on the manufacturing supply chain (Bhuiyan 2012 ). The need for social responsibility in the supply chain has never been more prominent. Social responsibility can be de fi ned as when all human interaction in the clothing supply chain work in good working conditions and are paid a fair living wage. This term, however, is often misunderstood and frequently interchanged with other terms such as ethical or sustainability. Whilst social responsibility and sus- tainability often come hand-in-hand, the de fi nition between the two can be quite clear. Social responsibility and ethical refer to the human interaction within the garment supply chain, while sustainability is the long-term durability of the envi- ronment. A further issue when attempting to de fi ne this term is the lack of industry standard, leaving the meaning to be very subjective and interpreted very differently from company to company. As previously discussed, social aspects of the supply chain are not limited to just one stage of the process and can affect different people in many different ways. Social responsibility can refer to working hours, working conditions, health and safety of the working environment and worker s pay. It has been suggested that when discussing ethics the term is far too broad in its de fi nition, too loose in its operations and too moral in any other stance (Devinney et al. 2010 ). Despite the dif fi culties surrounding the terminology there are many examples of engagement from the perspective of the retailer. This again comes in many different forms from retailer to retailer, with many setting goals or targets to aim for in the near future. The use of more organic cotton, further engagement in Fairtrade and the use on non-toxic dyes are all generic examples of such engagement. Marks and
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  • Fall '19
  • Business Ethics, Corporate social responsibility, Alana M. James, Bruce Montgomery

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