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Published: Jan 24 , 2019
Author: Stephen White

I’m sitting in a Starbucks at an airport, and on the wall opposite me is a sign proudly announcing “99% of our coffee is ethically sourced”. I should be proud of them. Haven’t they done well to help protect the environment and make sure that coffee growers get fair trade prices? But instead, my immediate thought is “what happened to the other 1%? Is that unethically sourced? Why? Couldn’t they have tried just a bit harder and eliminated unethical sourcing altogether?”

Published: May 02 , 2013
Author: Stephen White

As the death toll from the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment manufacturing building in Dhaka, Bangladesh approaches 400, the attention of the world’s press is focussing on the Western companies who buy merchandise from the manufacturers located in this and other similar buildings. Reports over many years have highlighted issues of sweated labour, pitiful wages, and the employment of young children. These are disgraceful abuses of human rights which buyers claim they were unaware of at the time, and appropriate noises about improving conditions for workers are made, only for the same allegations to crop up again a few months later...

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A quiet word?

Matt Hancock, the Tory MP made a telling point in parliament recently. Anyone who has to deal with people who have a very different personality dependant on whether you meet them one to one, or in a public format will recognise the situation.

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