From Mr Brendan Barber.
Sir, Michael Skapinker (“Time for Apple to open up its factories”, September 8) is right. Openness about where the goods that multinational companies and their customers buy are made is vital to ensuring that ethical standards are upheld, workers are not exploited and the environment is protected.
What Nike has found to work, and what Mr Skapinker urges for Apple, is also true for Locog, the body which is running the London Olympics. Following discussions with the Trades Union Congress-backed Playfair 2012 campaign, Locog has taken positive steps to ensure mascots, T-shirts and other branded goods are made by workers who enjoy decent wages, good health and safety, and can join unions. It has written the base code of the Ethical Trading Initiative – principally adherence to the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation – into its contracts.
But so far Locog has been wary of revealing where the goods are made. Between now and the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I hope it will have the courage Nike and others have shown – and that your columnist urges on Apple – to open up. Transparency is good for workers, good for customers, and part of the Olympic ideal.
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, London WC1, UK
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