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Shoppers vote Primark least ethical retailer

Primark has been voted Britain’s least ethical clothing retail, according to a survey by The Times newspaper.

The survey, carried out by Populus, found that of all UK clothing retailers Primark was viewed by consumers as the worst offender when it came to addressing social and environmental issues.

Marks & Spencer topped the table as the retailer best addressing social and environmental issues, followed by George at Asda and Debenhams.

The survey showed that the overall rating of every high street retailer has either gone up or stayed the same over the past year, except for Primark’s rating, which fell.

The findings came four months after a BBC Panorama programme found some Primark suppliersin India were sub-contracting work to companies that use child labour.

Earlier this year, an exclusive Drapers poll found that Primark faced losing up to 42% of its customers following the programme.

Readers' comments (7)

  • It looks like too many retailers are jealous of Primark.
    It is easy to say 'M&S is the most ethical' (based on 'we say that we are the most ethical') but someone should add:
    - their products are the most overpriced,
    - they fit and wear very poorly and
    - they are the least appealing to the customers.
    Just using labels such as 'fairtrade cotton' means nothing, except to naive customers who believe that they are helping the world to stay alive.

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  • Hi Savo,
    I'd like to know why you think labels such as 'fairtrade cotton' means nothing?
    You don't believe workers should get a fair wage? Or that we should encourage a reduction in the use of chemicals and use more natural pesticides and fertilisers.
    I don't think fairtrade cotton on it's own will save the earth - but every positive change we make will all add up. Companies such as M&S should be encouraged for making positive change, not shot down in flames. Fairtrade cotton does cost more and you should be willing to pay the real cost of sustainable production if you want to "save the earth".

    Paula Beaumont
    Purity -

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  • For anyone who doubts it, this clearly shows the power of the media. The BBC Panorama programme combined with the response of the other broadcast and print media - particularly the "if it's that cheap, someone must be getting exploited" attitude, with no reference to markups - has demonised Primark which at least is signed up to the ETI and sells organic cotton. Of course there is plenty that Primark still needs to do but I'm sure there are many retailers and brands selling at much higher prices who are doing less.

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  • I totally agree with you Paula. How would we like to go to work for £10 a week?
    We all have the responsiblity to make a change


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  • Savo's post below is nonsense. You cannot possibly start to compare M&S and Primark and to complain about M&S with regards to styling and price is crazy. M&S is a fantastic store which is leading the way with fairtrade and green issues. Primark however is a vile product of the greedy society we now live in. I long for the day that the UK returns to appreciating quality stores like M&S and boycotting trash like Primark. For once I agree with the media and applaud them changing the image of this retailer to abuser of workers rather than the saviour of the shopper.

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  • Excellent thread *wry smile*....any demonisation of Primark is good for the industry. It's whole culture is going to be as unfashionable as the nasty, stomach clogging pap they call ''bread'', made by the same company (ABF).

    Parallels with the bread, the clothing and the customer demo will soon filter through to the mainstream (by that, I mean 3-4 yrs) and walking around town with an overstuffed Primark bag could be akin to wafting around in a real baby seal coat.

    Takes time though. P Green and his stonking margins will be the next thing to come under scrutiny.....has a bit already....but seemed to vanish quickly. Mags can't afford to lose the ad revenue.

    But the younger generation take their info from a wide range of sources now...the power of the printed media, already under attack, could vanish into thin air over the next decade.

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  • OH forgot to add....M+ S does such a huge variety of fits. Primark is a bit one size fits all (within the size ranges). It's something M + S don't promote that much (I think). My dad orders shirts with diff slv lengths him, that is worth a premium price.

    Primark, standard fare for standard on-one can say that is going to be a hot new trend.

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