Since 2013, Francesca’s, a trendy clothing boutique chain, has seen rapid growth. Their number of boutiques has gone way up, and as a result they have had to adjust their supply chain accordingly. This is the kind of growth that interests us, as changes in supply chains are directly related to labor rights and labor ethics, and justness in production. So, where does Francesca’s land?
On their website, they claim to be working within their supply chain specifically against slave labor and what they call “egregious labor practices.” However, most publicized information on their supply chain, especially in this season of growth, only has to do with finances and distribution.
On their website’s responsibility page, one point about their labor practices reads: “Based on current information, our supply chain is unlikely to incorporate slavery or egregious labor practices.” With a quick read-over, this sounds good. Great…unlikely to have slavery! But the reality is that we must demand a much higher standard than this. “Unlikely” isn’t good enough or solid enough to trust in for multiple reasons. First, it doesn’t ensure anything. Though they do require suppliers to report concerns and implement internal accountability, Francesca’s lacks any infrastructure within their supply chain to fight unethical labor practices from the inside out. Second, claiming the unlikeliness shows a lack of concern and corporate responsibility for what is actually happening.
There are several statements on their responsibility page that sound like a step in the right direction, such as requiring each order of goods to be certified by the supplier for compliance with labor laws. But the bottom line is, there is no public information on how they’re doing with this and there is also no third-party accountability or auditing taking place.
So, unfortunately, Francesca’s cannot be considered a transparent, just, and ethically conscious company to purchase from. They are choosing to not share with the public what’s going on within their supply chain. In addition, their efforts in labor ethics are not concrete enough to be held accountable for or to be considered impactful.
Written by: Madeleine Williams