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The Myth of the Ethical Shopper
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport calls Li & Fung’s operations “ephemeral.” It has 15,000 supplier factories in 40 countries, but doesn’t own or operate any of them. It’s a coordinator, configuring cotton suppliers, textile mills, stitching and sewing houses into a straight line just long enough to deliver one order to one buyer, and then reconfiguring them for the next.

Li & Fung does inspect its suppliers and send reports back to its buyers. But there’s no guarantee that orders will be filled by the same factory twice, and audits are often carried out after the order has already been placed. And so clothing companies have no ability or incentive to fix what they find.

Jeroen Merk, a researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam—and one of the few academics who’s investigating the megasuppliers—says their business model is deliberately organized to keep buyers separated from factories. If brands discover what factories charge, they might work with them directly and keep the margin for themselves. Some companies ordering clothes through megasuppliers, he says, don’t know which factories they were made in—or even which countries.

After the Tazreen fire, NGO campaigns focused on how Wal-Mart was responsible for 60 percent of the clothing being produced there. But Wal-Mart never actually placed an order with Tazreen. In fact, over a year before the fire, Wal-Mart inspected the factory and discovered that it was unsafe. By the time of the fire, it had banned its suppliers from using it.

So here’s how its products ended up at Tazreen anyway: Wal-Mart hired a megasupplier called Success Apparel to fill an order for shorts. Success hired another company, Simco, to carry out the work. Simco—without telling Success, much less Wal-Mart—sub-contracted 7 percent of the order to Tazreen’s parent company, the Tuba Group, which then assigned it to Tazreen. Two other sub- (or sub-sub-sub-) contractors also placed Wal-Mart orders at Tazreen, also without telling the company.

We are not going to shop ourselves into a better world. Advocating for boring stuff like complaint mechanisms and formalized labor contracts is nowhere near as satisfying as buying a pair of Fair Trade sandals or whatever. But that’s how the hard work of development actually gets done: Not by imploring people to buy better, but by giving them no other option.
workersrights  safety  wealthinequality  fashion  economy 
15 hours ago by campylobacter
While leaks are common, disasters involving gas rare in N.H.
As Massachusetts copes with one of the nation’s worst residential natural gas disasters, New Hampshire can be thankful that even though 120,000 customers have natural gas in the state, it has seen few major accidents and a single fatality over the past three decades.
concordmonitor  naturalgas  pipelines  columbiagas  restoration  safety 
yesterday by eversourcenh
The Massachusetts Gas Disaster Could Spark An Energy Crisis | OilPrice.com
An unprecedented tragedy struck a small portion of eastern Massachusetts last week when dozens of houses in the towns of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover in the Merrimack Valley began to explode, as if spontaneously combusting. One 18-year-old man was killed when a chimney flew off of an exploding house and landed on his parked car, and an additional 25 people were injured.
oilprice.com  naturalgas  pipelines  columbiagas  restoration  safety 
yesterday by eversourcenh
Deadly Dangers Lurk In Natural Gas Distribution Lines
We accept a lot of risks in life. In every year since 1946, at least 30,000 people have been killed in car accidents on U.S. highways. In some years, that number exceeded 50,000. Yet we continue to drive, even though more than 100 people are killed on average each day. Why? Because driving makes life easier and more convenient for us, and so it’s a risk that we accept.
Forbes  naturalgas  pipelines  columbiagas  restoration  safety 
yesterday by eversourcenh
How The Weather Channel Made That Insane Storm Surge Animation
"Bringing extreme weather to life obviously isn’t an entirely altruistic goal; it’s compelling television, too. Potts contends, though, that videos like this one also contain a valuable safety message. You know what nine feet is, and you know what water looks like. But the two rarely go together, outside of swimming pools and disaster movies. Seeing what it looks like on a street corner that resembles your own might be enough to get someone to evacuate if they’d had any hesitation. At the very least, it lets the rest of the world know just how bad it could get."
a:Brian-Barrett  p:Wired★★  d:2018.09.13  w:1000  weather  visualization  television  safety  from instapaper
2 days ago by bankbryan
NH firms say gas lines here are safe | New Hampshire
As hundreds of utility workers continued the slow process of checking more than 8,500 gas meters after a string of fires and explosions rocked northern Massachusetts Thursday night, companies in New Hampshire reassured customers that their gas lines are safe.
UnionLeader  gas  pipelines  safety  columbiagas  restoration 
2 days ago by eversourcenh

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