The ethical claims of some of our biggest retailers have been exposed as a clever marketing tool that masks their real attitude towards social responsibility, according to a new study.
The investigation concludes that while some retailers talk about their green and ethical credentials, they are prepared to heap further misery on some of the poorest workers on the planet.
ActionAid is now calling for the creation of an independent watchdog to scrutinise the claims being made by retailers, who continue to boast about their ethical policies whilst amassing ever-increasing profits at the expense of vulnerable workers in developing countries.
Such a body would be welcome as the likes of Tesco are exerting a stronger influence on the UK economy and its consumers, as well as expanding operations around the world.
There are pressures on consumers, mainly a result of the aspirational nature of society.
So when the ActionAid report is released, but then quickly followed by a new green shopping initiative backed by Tesco, M&S and other leading British companies then the mixed messages help to further confuse the situation.
Just as the retailers are offering to help shoppers to cut carbon emissions, so the initiative helps to off-set the criticism of the companies’ ethical rating.
But, ultimately, the greatest watchdog for such retailers is the public. If we don’t like the way companies do business, shouldn’t we take our custom elsewhere?
If only it was that simple.
At the end of the day the pull of a bargain remains too strong and the likes of Tesco and other large retailers will continue to play on that desire to make substantial savings on the goods we buy.
We do not approve of the conditions workers around the world are forced to endure to provide us with our bargains.
Yet the day the opportunity to pick up a pair of jeans for less than £10 is irresistible and that is why Tesco and other large retailers continue to grow.