Friday 26 July 2013

The 1% Campaign: An Update

Back in April, we highlighted (and joined) Ms. Wanda's 1% Campaign. They're trying to get high street retailers to sign a pledge--commit 1% of their profits to improving their supply chain, making them more ethical and transparent.

They've recently published an update. There's good news and bad news.

The response from the public has been very encouraging, and bolstered by a groundswell of support, Ms. Wanda's went to three retailers to see what they could do. That's where things go downhill.

Of the three, only one, Mothercare, bothered to properly respond, and then to say that they couldn't sign up as they were already involved in other schemes. They refused to say what these schemes were--slightly suspect, as surely any ethical affiliation is good PR. M&S promised and failed to get back to Ms. Wanda's, and Top Shop never replied.

This is disappointing, but somehow not particularly surprising. The big High Street names will do things on their own terms, and tend not to respond to public pressure unless it's overwhelming and starting to threaten sales.

This doesn't mean the end of the 1% Campaign. Far from it. It's proven that consumers are keen to see change and need a clear voice to get behind. Esther Freeman of Ms. Wanda's remains adamant that the campaign has meaning and reason, saying:

If we want to shop ethically, and companies want us to shop with them, then they need to be more transparent and take clear and meaningful action.
The 1% is a simple way for consumers to know the retailers are taking this issue seriously. And if they are doing it already, then why not just sign up?
Why not, indeed? I urge you to join Pier32 and the hundreds of concerned shoppers in getting the High Street to be fair and transparent about where their clothes are coming from and how the workers that make them are treated.

Sign The 1% Campaign Petition. 

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