Usually when a company brand manufactures its wares in a third-world country, they don’t really talk about it.
Gap is showing us why.
The clothing company recently announced plans to start making its clothes in Myanmar. The news would have probably gone unnoticed had executives not called it “a historic moment” for the country. They were referring to the fact that Gap will be the first clothier to manufacture its products there since U.S. sanctions ended in 2012.
But human rights groups have other opinions.
From The Huffington Post
Myanmar has a miserable track record when it comes to workers, who are frequently underpaid and horribly mistreated. Gap simply wants to get its clothes produced as cheaply as possible, the advocates argue, and it's dressing up the move as global philanthropy.
In a press release
, Gap says it made the decision after “a rigorous due diligence process.” The company is also promising to “voluntarily disclose and publish information about its practices in Myanmar consistent with the United States Government’s reporting procedures.”
Still, as recently as November 2013, an exhaustive study
of working conditions in the country revealed that workers earn “extremely low basic wages” to work ““in unsafe, hot, overcrowded factories, typically for around 11 hours per day, 6 days per week.”
Perhaps a lot can change in seven months. Or perhaps Gap just wants to spend less money to make chinos.