GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic Still Reaping the Benefits of Bangladeshi Sweat Shops

A Bangladeshi woman works in a textile factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Manish Swarup/AP)On the heels of a factory fire in Bangladesh that killed ten garment workers, advocates are calling for a boycott of GAP, Old Navy and Banana Republic until they agree to join more than 90 U.S. and European brands and retailers in signing the Bangladesh Worker Safety Accord.

Dubbed Shop Your Values, the campaign encourages shoppers to boycott clothing made in brutal conditions in factories in Bangladesh, six months after a garment factory building collapse killed 111 workers, many under the age of 13. A "Fault Lines" segment, which was part of an in-depth investigative report by Al Jazeera, captured footage of a 12-year-old girl putting elastic into a pair of jeans with an Old Navy label, a subsidiary of GAP, Inc. 

"GAP, Inc. puts children in harm's way at its factories in order to boost profits," says Chris Dykstra, Publisher of TheContributor.com, a co-sponsor of the Shop Your Values campaign. "This business practice should not be accepted by consumers or the business community at large.  Those who practice it do not deserve to be rewarded in the market.  This tragic story must be told and the business community must focus on solving this issue, not perpetrating it.  We welcome other like-minded organizations to participate." 

The campaign's sponsors created a website, www.shopyourvalues.org, where visitors can pledge to boycott GAP and its subsidiaries.  The website also features articles about the Bangladesh Safety Accord and factory working conditions.  Signed pledges will be sent to GAP executives and individuals are encouraged to print the letter and hand deliver it to a local GAP, Old Navy or Banana Republic store. 

“We have seen firsthand how our choices impact the communities involved in creating our clothing," said Indigenous Designs CEO Scott Leonard, a leader in organic and fair trade clothing. "Businesses have a tremendously positive effect on the communities in which they operate when they are held accountable for worker safety. Shoppers need to know what's going on in Bangladesh. It's time to take a stand." 

Sign the pledge here.

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