Last night, I finally got around to watching Tom Heap’s exposé of Primark‘s supply chain on the BBC’s Panorama programme. I wish I hadn’t bothered now – that’s an hour of my life I won’t be getting back.
I’d only recorded it because my interest had been piqued by the sudden cancellation of a similar programme (The Devil Wears Primark), scheduled to air a few weeks ago on Channel 4. Must be something really surprising going on, I thought.
Sadly no. It turns out that the shocking findings of this magnificent piece of investigative journalism basically boil down to:
- Getting huge volumes of “this month’s” dress in stores at a fiver a pop puts massive pressure on Primark‘s Indian suppliers
- To cope with these cost and time pressures, some suppliers illegally sub-contract work to children and refugees, paid just a few pence a day
- Primark‘s factory inspection scheme and membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative counted for nothing in uncovering these abuses
Thanks for the scoop, Tom, but I think most of us could’ve guessed that for ourselves.