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Understanding Business Ethics Essay

Over the recent years, Primark have been recognized to not supplying organic cotton, as well as using child labour to manufacture their products. Unfortunately, nearly all cotton production is hugely reliant on pesticides which are derived from petrochemicals. It is known that 2.5% of all farmland worldwide is used to grow cotton where pesticides is harmful to the health of the farmers, environmental destruction and also has a knock on affect to the money they spend on pest.

Pressure groups
Environmental destruction – heavy pesticide used meant that biodiversity (used again), disrupts ecosystems, and contaminates water suppliers are reduced. So each year, farmers have to buy and use more pesticides to grow the same amount of cotton – increasing the annual damage to the environment.

Spiral debt (also poor in poverty) – it is known that in some farmlands, pest builds up resistance to chemicals, so that means that the farmer borrows money to buy more chemicals than before farmers also get less profit from crops. For example in parts of India agriculture chemicals take up 60% of the farmer’s production budget.

Health – many chemicals used in cotton farming are acutely toxic. The World Trade Organisation estimates 20,000 deaths and three million chronic health problems each year are the result of the use of agricultural pesticides in developing countries.

•Overseeing bodies
-government (UK, EU, un)
-Worlds trade organization (WTO)
-World health organization (WHO)

Government have regulation so that businesses don’t break the law in other countries and so that companies do a job well done. The role that the World
Health Organization takes is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is also known for the responsibility of providing leadership on global health matters, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends, etc. On the other hand, the World Trade Organization also plays a big part in businesses overseas, as WTO is a rules-based member –driven organization – where all decisions are made by the members of the governments.

CSR – Corporate social responsibility

Primark as a retail store buy their cotton from farmlands and believe in value of protecting people and the environment. These values inform their policies. They are aware that chemical pesticides and fertilisers used in conventional cotton farming are damaging the environment, to the health and livelihoods of farmers and to their communities. Also they recognise that the use of some chemicals in the production i.e. yarn, fabric, finishing, dyeing and sewing, damages the environment and people’s health.

From all this being in the light, Primark commit to the following:

•To promote Organic Cotton faming which encourages the use of natural pest management and soil fertility agricultural practise and decreases the use of chemical pesticides and fertilities.
•They also feel that the production line is vital to their business, and so it is, therefore they committed that for every stage of production to select processes which aim to prevent negative impacts on the environment and producer’s health.
•To support farmers and producers, along with the campaign for the farmers rights and support their development and to promote organic agriculture and environment justice.
•Primark also intend to contribute to the increase of Organic Cotton farming and production, seeing as they are willing on developing, producing and promoting product, which they believe by doing this they are making the best use of Organic Cotton. The retail store believe that by supporting the development of Organic Cotton farming they will be contributing to a more balanced relationship between people, the natural habitats that were being affects and most importantly the environment.

When it comes to organic production, it has been noted out that the dyes being used on the cotton has a minimum impact on the wearer, the producer and the environment. So they now try to use dyes that are free from harmful chemicals and even better them carry out stringent laboratory test for traces of these substances. During the cotton picking I would suggest that the farmers should wear mask that cover their mouth, so that know pesticides can damage their organs – as it has been known that several farmers have died, after couple of weeks farmers have had a knock on affect from these pest carried on the cotton.

So therefore this should not just be an instruction but should be one of their policies. If this concern is minimised then more and more farmers can live a healthier lifestyle while farming for cotton. In this case there are pro’s and con’s, and one of the con’s are that if there was less chemicals used on the cotton, then their might be a slight delay on the production line, since it could slow down from the lack of chemicals it has and needs for it to grow more quicker. This could be that retail stores like Primark are unable to purchase any cotton from the farmers due to this mess. Overall, the big picture will be that Primark will not be making any sales and making any profit, which equal to the suppliers and famers not getting paid.


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