Inditex praised for eco-friendly Berlin store, fined for Brazilian slavery

Inditex's youth brand Bershka has opened its first German store in Berlin this weekend. While the clothing company clearly wished to impress the trendy capital with an eco-friendly store, the slavery case in Brazil weighs heavily on Inditex's sustainable image. 

Platinum award for ecological design in Germany

The new store on Tauentzienstraße, with 1500 m² one of Bershka's largest in the world, will be awarded the platinum “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certification, the highest category in one of the most demanding rating systems in the world. LEED stores have to follow the highest standards in energy conservation, waste reduction and sustainability. 

 

Currently, five Inditex stores have received the LEED certification, but according to the holding's “Sustainable Inditex 2011-2015” program, the aim is to make all of its stores LEED-certified by 2020. This would mean that the company's CO2-emission would be reduced by 30%.

... and fines for slavery in Brazil

While Inditex tries to work on its eco-friendly image, that does not necessarily mean that the fashion giant is human-friendly too. The Regional Superintendency of Labour and Employment of São Paulo found Bolivians working in slave-like conditions in a sweatshop for one of Zara's Brazilian subcontractors. Illegally transported to Brazil, they were locked in small apartments and were only allowed out to work – compulsory at least 12 hours per day. They were paid €0.7 for each dress they made (worth over €50 in Brazilian stores) and earned up to €69 per month, clearly under Brazil's – already low – minimum wages. 

 

Inditex has announced to appeal the fines imposed by the Brazilian Ministry of Work – about 500,000 euro – because it “cannot be held responsible for subcontractors who do not adhere to the Code of Conduct for External Manufacturers and Workshops of Inditex”, at the same time acknowledging that this was “a serious breach” of that Code. The group has promised to collaborate with the Ministry of Work “to ensure that such cases do not occur again”, but also stated not to change its working habits in Brazil. 

 

Probably for its efficient ways of working, Inditex has a real chance of making its way into the Eurostoxx 50, a list of the most valuable companies in the Euro-zone. Opening an eco-friendly store might well be an easier way to earn points for corporate responsibility than enforcing human-friendly circumstances in their own factories...

 

Inditex's youth brand Bershka has opened its first German store in Berlin this weekend. While the clothing company clearly wished to impress the trendy capital with an eco-friendly store, the slavery case in Brazil weighs heavily on Inditex's sustainable image. 

Platinum award for ecological design in Germany

The new store on Tauentzienstraße, with 1500 m² one of Bershka's largest in the world, will be awarded the platinum “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certification, the highest category in one of the most demanding rating systems in the world. LEED stores have to follow the highest standards in energy conservation, waste reduction and sustainability. 

 

Currently, five Inditex stores have received the LEED certification, but according to the holding's “Sustainable Inditex 2011-2015” program, the aim is to make all of its stores LEED-certified by 2020. This would mean that the company's CO2-emission would be reduced by 30%.

... and fines for slavery in Brazil

While Inditex tries to work on its eco-friendly image, that does not necessarily mean that the fashion giant is human-friendly too. The Regional Superintendency of Labour and Employment of São Paulo found Bolivians working in slave-like conditions in a sweatshop for one of Zara's Brazilian subcontractors. Illegally transported to Brazil, they were locked in small apartments and were only allowed out to work – compulsory at least 12 hours per day. They were paid €0.7 for each dress they made (worth over €50 in Brazilian stores) and earned up to €69 per month, clearly under Brazil's – already low – minimum wages. 

 

Inditex has announced to appeal the fines imposed by the Brazilian Ministry of Work – about 500,000 euro – because it “cannot be held responsible for subcontractors who do not adhere to the Code of Conduct for External Manufacturers and Workshops of Inditex”, at the same time acknowledging that this was “a serious breach” of that Code. The group has promised to collaborate with the Ministry of Work “to ensure that such cases do not occur again”, but also stated not to change its working habits in Brazil. 

 

Probably for its efficient ways of working, Inditex has a real chance of making its way into the Eurostoxx 50, a list of the most valuable companies in the Euro-zone. Opening an eco-friendly store might well be an easier way to earn points for corporate responsibility than enforcing human-friendly circumstances in their own factories...

 
Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors


Lidl launches Chinese web shop

22/05/2017

German supermarket chain Lidl has launched its own web shop in China on Alibaba’s online platform Tmall, similar to what many other Western companies have done.

This is Lidl’s battle strategy for the United States

18/05/2017

Mark the date: on 15 June, Lidl will open its first American store. In charge is someone who earned his stripes in Belgium and the Netherlands, but the main question is whether Ahold Delhaize should fear the German discounter’s arrival?

Chicago welcomes first Nutella Cafe

18/05/2017

Before the end of this month, Nutella fans can visit the very first Nutella cafe in Chicago. All types of sweet dishes are sold, most of them based on Ferrero’s chocolate paste.

Nestlé loses another battle in KitKat war

18/05/2017

Swiss chocolate manufacturer Nestlé has been trying to prevent competitors from creating chocolate snacks that look like its own KitKat brand for a decade. It has succeeded in about a dozen countries, but the attempt in the United Kingdom once again failed.

Colruyt to open fourth store in Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

18/05/2017

Providing everything goes according to plan, Colruyt will open its fourth store in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in November. Soon, it will open another three, although there is local dissatisfaction.

7-Eleven opens store without staff in South Korea

18/05/2017

American supermarket chain 7-Eleven has opened a South Korean store that operates without staff. Located in Seoul’s Lotte World Tower, the store uses biometric verification when processing payments.

Back to top