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Walmart and IKEA Work to Empower Women
If you’ve read much about ethical fashion and empowering women, you’re probably surprised to hear good things about Walmart and IKEA. Big box stores are notorious for having a detrimental effect on the environment and people. (Learn more about ethical fashion.) But here’s some good news. “US retail giant Wal-Mart has launched a special training programme for more than 60,000 female workers at 150 of its supplier factories in India, Bangladesh, China and Central America,” according to Just-Style. And “The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) … has partnered with IKEA Foundation in a project that aims to help build the self-reliance and financial skills of over 50,000 women in 500 villages in three districts of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populated but least developed state,” according to Technorati.
Here’s more from the articles about how Walmart and IKEA are working to empower women:
“We wholeheartedly believe that investing people is good for business, but also good for communities,” Meredith Menhennett, Wal-Mart’s senior manager of ethical sourcing tells just-style. “It will strengthen communities within the supply chain, it will also strengthen families.”
The partnership programme, to which IKEA has pledged €30 million, aims to promote this target group’s financial literacy, thereby “strengthening their technical, institutional, managerial and financial skills so that they are able to play a larger role in the social and economic development in the villages.”
There’s still progress to be made. These and many other companies are far from perfect, but it’s encouraging to hear that companies are responding to consumers and the problems in the world around them. It’s empowering to know that most corporate efforts like these come about not from the bleeding, compassionate hearts of executives, but from the consistent cries of consumers. Companies know that if consumers aren’t happy with them, they won’t buy their products. And that gets them where it hurts: the bottom line. So don’t underestimate your power as a consumer to change the world. Find tools for ethical spending.