No Sweat Shoes Might Not Be As Sweat Free As They Claim

No Sweat crossed out

This is terribly disappointing and shocking information, but it points to the need for us to be critical shoppers and not passive consumers when it comes to all things, even those that claim to be “Fair” or “Green.”

I’ve written about No Sweat before and found them to be an impressive company overall. They made a switch a few years back to start offering products made overseas, but they put in some stringent measures to ensure fair labor practices including outside independent auditors. And they even put the reports on their site. “Brilliant!” I had thought, a new standard in the efforts to be conscious consumers. However, I neglected to even take a look at one of the reports.

Here, courtesy of adbusters browsing, is some of what those reports contain:

Question 2: Have you ever had a bad experience at work, like forced labor or underpayment of wages?

[The numbers indicate number of employees responding, and not percentages]
Yes: 39
No: 11

Question 6: If you add up your wages, wage supplements (food, Lebaran bonus), and your level of satisfaction at work, do you think you are paid fairly?
Yes: 8
No: 42

Question 10: What is the most accurate description of your experience at work?
Positive and friendly: 6
Fair – no complaints: 7
Unpleasant (pressured to work faster or disrespectful treatment from supervisors): 37

Q: So, are these Sweatshop free shoes, or another example of Greenwashing?

3 thoughts on “No Sweat Shoes Might Not Be As Sweat Free As They Claim”

  1. WoW! How horrible. 🙁 Eye-opening stuff for sure. I would hope that they are working towards improving those areas where they “scored” poorly.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  2. I’m glad to see an opportunity to comment finally. When Adbuster’s 1st ran this “expose” there was no way to comment and no link to the No Sweat site, where a pretty exhaustive review of this situation can be found.

    http://www.nosweatapparel.com/sources/PT-Sepatu-Bata.htm

    Adbusters cites ONE “audit”, led by a a founder of a competing union with a history of conflict with the union leader who represented the workers at the Bata factory. The “auditors” had no previous auditing experience and refused management’s offer to inspect the factory. Nor does Adbusters mention their own bias in the situation as the parent company that produces the blackspot sneaker- No Sweat’s 1st competitor in the righteous sneaker business.

    I’m confident that our Indonesian factory was no sweatshop & that workers were content with the current labor leadership. I’m less certain about how democratic that union was. It wasn’t a company union- it was a union company & the union had come to control the factory more than mgt. I encourage all who are curious to read our conclusions as well as all the material behind it. we are no longer sourcing from there but it’s a fascinating story & very instructive.

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