NYU Stern
Share / Print
Opinion

Address the Real Challenges

By Michael Posner

Michael Posner_article

Disney, in cooperation with other megabrands, needs to work with governments (including our own), civil society groups, academics and others to explore alternatives to the current outsourcing model.

Some have praised Disney’s decision to pull out of Bangladesh as a step forward for workers’ rights. It's not.

Disney’s departure does nothing to address the real challenges, which require a commitment by big global brands to stay in places like Bangladesh and be part of a collective effort to protect the well-being of factory workers.

A senior Disney executive justifies the company’s action by asserting that pulling up stakes in Bangladesh is “the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain.” But Disney’s departure does nothing to address the real challenges, which require a commitment by big global brands to stay in places like Bangladesh and be part of a collective effort to protect the well-being of factory workers.

Ask the workers in those factories, mostly young women, what they want. They will tell you two things. First, they want to keep their jobs, desperately. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the rapid expansion of the garment sector in recent years has put food on the table for many, lifting families out of extreme poverty. Second, they want to be treated with dignity, which begins with going to work in a safe and secure environment.

Read full article as published in The New York Times

___
Michael Posner is a Professor of Business and Society.