Consumer Goods & Textiles
As many as 3,500 Bangladeshi workers are reported to have been suspended or fired for taking part in protests against sweatshop wages at garment factories on the outskirts of Dhaka over the last six weeks. Dozens have been thrown in jail amid a major police crackdown on the organizers.
Some 40,000 workers in seven Yue Yuen shoe factories in Dongguan city, China, went on strike last month to successfully demand that their employer make pension payments required under the law.
SportsDirect, a British sports merchandise retailer, has been accused of employing workers in sweatshop like conditions by Channel Four Dispatches, a UK TV program. The broadcaster aired undercover footage shot by a reporter at the company's Shirebrook warehouse in northern England.
Kalevala, a 19th century epic poem from Finland, was inspired by traditional verses from the ancient forests on the border of central Finland and Russia. Today some of the 600 year old trees around the Kalevala national park are being chopped up to make cheap furniture for Ikea, according to activists.
Shopping in a Target store, you know you're not in Wal-Mart. But, critics say that in terms of working conditions, sweatshop-style foreign suppliers, and effects on local retail communities, big box Target stores are very much like Wal-Mart, just in a prettier package.
Walmart is coming under increased scrutiny for its ties to a garment factory in Dhaka where 112 workers were trapped and killed in a fire in late November 2012. The company, which buys $1 billion in clothing a year from Bangladesh, initially tried to deny any connection.
At least four people were killed when Cambodian police opened fire on a garment workers protest in Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh. The workers were demanding a minimum wage of $154 a month from employers who supply Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands as well as H&M.
Stora Enso - a Swedish paper manufacturing giant - has been blacklisted after investigations into its supply chain in Pakistan showed that the company was knowingly using child labor. In March, AP7, a major Swedish pension fund, sold off its $4.1 million stake in Stora.
Adidas, the German sportswear company, is making Olympics uniforms for the UK team at sweatshops in Tangerang city, near the main international airport of Jakarta, Indonesia. Young female workers are paid 5,000 rupiah (54 cents) an hour for a 65 hour work week, according to revelations made in the Independent newspaper.
Behind the five intertwined rings of the Athens games, underpaid workers are sewing the shirts, gluing the shoes, and putting zippers to running suits and track apparel branded as Olympic--in working conditions that would make even the most highly trained athlete sweat.