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Evaluate Business Conduct in the Clothing, Textile and Footwear Industries Using Three Ethical Principles of the Global Business Standards Codex

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Business conduct within the clothing, textile and footwear industries has changed over time as consumer demands have shifted. Consumers have moved away from the perception that quality can only be sourced in developing nations (Chan et al. 2012), to one where they are happy to withdraw their view on perceived quality in order to fuel their need for fast fashion. This leads to issues in itself including bribery and the citizenship principle and the exploitation of these workers with focus on the dignity principle within the Global Business Standards Codex. Alternatively the argument is in place that business conduct within the industry, and specifically within developing nations, can help provide a tool for economic growth of the employees and the developing nations as a whole, whilst providing a higher level of competitive advantage for the organisations actively participating in these markets. Ultimately it is about finding equilibrium, where by organisations continue to develop their production and manufacturing relationships within developing nations, yet place a higher focus on their socially responsible conduct.

Over time, barriers of distance between countries have dropped in significance for the clothing, textile and footwear industries. As freight costs became cheaper, and transportation methods improved on a global scale, the ability for an organisation to open up manufacturing and production facilities in countries further afield have increased dramatically. Coupled with consumers demanding clothes that replicate current trends as soon as they occur (Chan et al. 2012), organisations have moved towards cheaper manufacturing and production outposts in order to fulfil the need for this 'fast fashion' coined environment (Chan et al. 2012).

As these organisations expand within developing nations, it was reported that nearly ninety percent of garment producing firms advised that bribes to government officials are an issue that is unavoidable (Yamagata, cited Kasuga 2011). It is advised that these bribes are needed to withdraw bureaucratic delays. These payments go strictly against Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) measures that are being levied by these organisations with specific reference to the citizenship principle within the Global Business Standards Codex (Bettcher et al. 2005). Activists argue that this system has been too imperfectly implemented and does not have the ability to truly solve these issues of bribery (Santoro 2009). In order for businesses to truly marry its CSR measures with sound citizenship principles, organisations need to move away from their buying of positions in the bureaucratic queue to enhance their efficiency of operations (Kasuga 2011). It is stated that if the government in developing nations improve their administration services, firms can reduce these unofficial payments (Kasuga 2011). As the need for bribery diminishes, corporations conducting business in these developing nations would be on a more equal stance for providing greater levels of competitiveness.

With the increased expansion within these industries, and the focus on development in developing nations, there has been growing arguments that this level of globalisation brings about burgeoning issues centred on exploitation of workers and the spread of sweatshops (Crinis 2010). This spread has been brought about by the assumed competitive advantage of undertaking operations in these developing nations when compared to organisations acting solely out of developed markets (Tokatli 2007). The exploitation of workers has not necessarily been undertaken by the organisations conducting the business within these communities, but by the sub-contractors hired by these organisations (Crinis 2010). It has been highlighted further in inadequacies with minimum wage levels, levels of union participation and the inability for the unions in these nations to protect the employees' rights (Hoang & Jones 2012). These inadequacies between worker's rights in the developing and developed world have been highlighted by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) shining a focus on the respect for the individual worker and their dignity. They have called on these companies to take responsibility for their labour practices with independent monitoring of the factories of their subcontractors, and to focus on steps to allow workers a higher level of empowerment and representation (Santoro 2009). Consumers are able to aid the development of a sounder working environment for the employees by demanding clothes that are sourced through an ethical nature. There has

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