Sunday, November 04, 2007

another opportunity for the gap

There's an update this morning on last week's story about The Gap discovering that a manufacturer in India was using child labor to produce items for the chain's Gap Kids outlets.

The Guardian UK — the paper that "outed" the retail giant — reports today that The Gap is putting together plans to label all of its products "sweatshop free." The company will work with Global March Against Child Labour, an NGO dedicated to bringing an end to sweatshops, to determine all of the details.

The labels will go further than just proclaiming the fact that they were not made in sweatshops. According to the Guardian, consumers will be able to go online and use the information on the label to track precisely where their purchase was made. And, if it was discovered that the products actually WERE made by child laborers and/or in sweatshops, the company would be vulnerable to prosecution.

Will The Gap be adding computer kiosks to its stores to enable you to access this information BEFORE you make the purchase? Similar to restaurants that enable customers to access nutrition information from in-store kiosks? Again, as I said earlier this week, the company should be using this as a an opportunity to educate the public. Let them promote their dedication to human rights in the store. They could provide access to additional awareness-raising or educational information (both on the computer and to take away) at these kiosks. They could incorporate word of mouth tools that would enable customers to share information about sweatshop labor, the company's commitment, and YES, their merchandise right from these in-store computers.

"Check out this new jacket I am buying. According to the new kiosks in the store, it was made in a factory that adheres to global human rights standards. If you want to learn more about the issue of sweatshop labor, click here. If you want to learn more about The Gap's commitment to being sweatshop free, click here. If you want to learn more about the jacket and other new items in the store, click here."

Do it.

What do you think?

By the way, Marka Hansen, President of Gap North America, posted a letter to their customers on their web site.

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