THE ISSUE: Last week's building collapse in Bangladesh that killed hundreds of clothing factory workers put a spotlight on the sobering fact that those people often risk their lives working in unsafe factories to make the cheap fashions that Westerners covet.
THE REALITY: Consumers who care about the conditions of factory workers who sew their clothing find it difficult to figure out if their clothes are made in safe factories.
WHAT'S NEXT: Retail industry benchmark Fair Trade U.S.A., a nonprofit that audits products to make sure workers are paid fair wages and work in safe conditions, is hoping to appeal to socially conscious shoppers. In 2010, it expanded the products that it certifies beyond coffee, sugar and spices to include clothing.
- Society & Culture