Zara: Demand Driven Child Exploitation

Zara, the mostly vertically integrated retailer famous just as much for its supply chain as its fashionable threads, can now add another credit to its list of accomplishments: child labor exploitation (credit for the title and the hat-tip, by the way, goes to Pierre Mitchell). According to an article I just read, "The Spanish fashion chain Zara's parent company Inditex, had started an investigation into the "extremely grave" accusation that one of its sub-contractors is paying the children 20 cents to sew the interior of 50 pairs [of shoes] a day ... Children are being employed by the sub-contractor to make the shoes in Felgueiras, a depressed area where many textile factories have closed in recent years, stated a report." Zara is more famous for its fast, nimble supply chain than its choice in cheap labor. Perhaps this is how they can afford to air freight shipments to stores worldwide -- which they have been known to do.

Jason Busch

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