Beyond corporate social responsibility A Primark case study
Page 6: Conclusion
The industrialised countries of the world benefit from the lower costs of labour in countries such as Bangladesh and India. However, more consumers are now asking if this is ethical and questioning its sustainability.
Some trade-offs between stakeholder needs are inevitable. CSR does not come free. It involves a real commitment of resources, management time and energy. On the other hand, as studies of the HERproject in other countries have shown, each dollar invested in the health of female employees can yield more than three dollars in business benefits. In addition, the improvements in human well-being are incomparable.
Despite criticism of globalisation, business and trade can be a force for good. This is increasingly recognised in the ways that consumers assign values to brands. Primark is making progress in taking on wider responsibilities and devising relevant projects that work on the ground. It has done this with help from NGOs and organisations such as BSR. Its approach with the HERproject is not purely about business benefits, but focused on making a difference to the lives of its supplier workers.
To date, 4,500 women in Primark’s factories have been trained under the HERproject in Bangladesh. The project results have shown such benefit that the project is being rolled out to Primark’s suppliers in China and India. Primark’s ongoing involvement with the women workers in Bangladesh and other supplier countries will help to provide it with a sustainable and ethical business model.