On the Heels of the Bangladesh Building Disaster: Six in Ten in 16 Developed Nations Hold Contracting Companies (61%), Local Authorities (58%) Responsible…Eight in Ten (82%) Say Work Conditions are Exploitative

Seven in Ten (69%) Willing to Pay Extra to Improve Worker Conditions, But Only Four in Ten (39%) Confident Extra Money Will Actually Be Used For That Purpose

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Toronto – A new poll in 16 developed nations finds a majority (61%) disagree (28% very much, 33% somewhat) that companies that contract their clothing to be manufactured in another part of the world cannot be expected to be held responsible for things being done somewhere else unless they actually owned and operated themselves. The poll was conducted among 12,484 adults in 16 countries by global research company Ipsos on behalf of CTV News.

Despite support for corporate responsibility, six in ten (58%) believe when a building collapses and kills and injures many workers, it should be the local authorities and builder of the building tour held primarily and mostly responsible and not the company that contract the clothing to be made in that place and may be in another part of the world (21% strongly agree, 36% somewhat agree).

Eight in ten believe conditions for workers - such as the wages that they are paid and the actual buildings, rooms and equipment they use when at work - who make clothing in less developed countries like Bangladesh, India and those in the far East, and then shipped to other parts of the world for sale by retailers and increased cost to their consumers are exploitative (82% - 45% very much, 37% somewhat) and take advantage of workers (84% - 49% very much, 35% somewhat).

Aside from corporations and governments, consumers express some personal responsibility for worker conditions abroad. A majority (59% - 25% very much, 34% somewhat) of respondents disagree with the following statement: I actually really don’t care or feel any responsibility about where clothing is made or how it is made or what the working conditions are for the production of that clothing in the world because it’s not up to me to do anything about it – I just want choice and low cost.

A majority of respondents (69% - 21% strongly, 48% somewhat) are willing to pay an extra couple of dollars for each piece of clothing so that it improves the conditions of where workers are creating them but fewer, four in ten (39% - 9% strongly, 29% somewhat), are confident that if they spent an extra couple of dollars for each piece of clothing they buy so that it improves the conditions of where workers are creating them that it will actually be used for that purpose by the company who employs them. Four in ten (38%) respondents currently boycott certain brands of clothing because of how they treat their workers (13% strongly, 26% somewhat).

Perhaps these views are moved by a lack of confidence in conditions for these international workers. Three in ten (27%) believe they are cared for by the companies that sell the finished products while only two in ten believe the conditions are good (22%), regulated properly (20%), safe (20%) and paying workers the right amount for what they do (17%).

Respondents Hold Companies, Local Authorities Responsible

A majority (61%) disagree (28% very much, 33% somewhat) that companies that contract their clothing to be manufactured in another part of the world cannot be expected to be held responsible for things being done somewhere else unless they actually owned and operated themselves. A minority (39% - 10% strongly, 29% somewhat) agrees companies cannot be held responsible.

Those countries most likely to disagree are: Norway (77%), Sweden (71%), Italy (68%), France (66%) and Japan (64%). Those least likely are: South Korea (38%), Argentina (44%), Poland (48%), Hungary (56%) and Spain (60%).

Despite support for corporate responsibility, six in ten (58%) believe when a building collapses and kills and injures many workers, it should be the local authorities and builder of the building tour held primarily and mostly responsible and not the company that contract the clothing to be made in that place and may be in another part of the world (21% strongly agree, 36% somewhat agree). Four in ten (42%) disagree (14% very much, 28% somewhat).

Those most likely to hold local authorities responsible are: South Korea (76%), Poland (70%), Argentina (65%), Great Britain (64%), Australia (61%) and Canada (61%). Those least likely are: Spain (36%), Japan (37%), Sweden (51%), Germany (51%) and Italy (55%).

Eight in ten believe conditions for workers - such as the wages that they are paid and the actual buildings, rooms and equipment they use when at work - who make clothing in less developed countries like Bangladesh, India and those in the far East, and then shipped to other parts of the world for sale by retailers and increased cost to their consumers are exploitative (82% - 45% very much, 37% somewhat) and take advantage of workers (84% - 49% very much, 35% somewhat). Two in ten do not believe conditions are exploitative (18 - 5% not at all, 12% not very much) and takes advantage (16% - 5% not at all, 11% not very much).

A majority in every country indicated they find the conditions to be exploitative or taking advantage of workers. Those with the highest proportions of belief that conditions are exploitative are from: Germany (91%), Norway (90%), Belgium (89%), France (89%) and Hungary (88%). Japan has the lowest support for this view (56%), followed at the bottom by Argentina (75%) and 79% in each of: Poland, Sweden and the United States (which all, still, have strong majorities believing the view).

Consumers Also Responsible, Willing to Take Action

Looking inward, most respondents demonstrate they take some responsibility for the conditions of workers. Indeed, a majority (59%) of respondents disagree with the following statement: I actually really don’t care or feel any responsibility about where clothing is made or how it is made or what the working conditions are for the production of that clothing in the world because it’s not up to me to do anything about it – I just want choice and low cost. One quarter (25%) says they very much disagree while 34% somewhat disagrees. Four in ten (41%) agree with the sentiment – 11% agree very much, 30% somewhat agree.

South Korea is the outlier, with three quarters (76%) agreeing with the statement. They are followed, by a wide margin, by Poland (57%), Japan (55%), Hungary (53%), Argentina (45%) and Germany (44%). Three in ten or fewer in the following countries agree with the statement: Spain (26%), Sweden (27%), Norway (29%), France (29%) and Italy (30%).

A majority of respondents (69% - 21% strongly, 48% somewhat) say they are willing to pay an extra couple of dollars for each piece of clothing so that it improves the conditions of where workers are creating them. A minority disagrees (31% - 9% very much, 22% somewhat). Those in Sweden (81%), Norway (80%), Australia (73%) and Belgium (73%) are most likely to be willing to pay more for these products.

Despite a wide interest in paying more for products made abroad, many are skeptical it will go to the right place. Only four in ten (39% - 9% strongly, 29% somewhat), are confident that if they spent an extra couple of dollars for each piece of clothing they buy so that it improves the conditions of where workers are creating them that it will actually be used for that purpose by the company who employs them. The majority (61%) disagrees (25% very much, 36% somewhat). This skepticism reins in countries with the lowest proportions agreeing: Norway (19%), Great Britain (29%), France (31%) and Germany (34%).

Four in ten (38%) respondents currently boycott certain brands of clothing because of how they treat their workers (12% strongly, 26% somewhat) though most (62% - 28% very much disagree, 34% somewhat disagree) do not. Italy (56%), France (50%), Argentina (48%)and Spain (46%) have the highest proportions of boycotters.

Possible Driver: Low Confidence in Work Conditions

Perhaps these views are moved by a lack of confidence in conditions for these international workers. Three in ten (27%) believe they are cared for by the companies that sell the finished products while only two in ten believe the conditions are good (22%), regulated properly (20%), safe (20%) and paying workers the right amount for what they do (17%).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Global @dvisor poll conducted between on behalf of CTV News via the Ipsos Online Panel system in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United States of America. An international sample of 12,484 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis except in Argentina, Hungary, Norway, Poland, South Korea and Sweden, where each have a sample 500+. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and one of 500 is accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points in their respective general populations. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. For more information on credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website at http://ipsos-na.com/dl/pdf/research/public-affairs/IpsosPA_CredibilityIntervals.pdf

For more information on this news release, please contact:

John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Global Public Affairs
416.324.2002
john.wright@ipsos.com

For the full report, please visit our website at www.ipsosglobaladvisor.com

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 85 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,789 billion (2.300 billion USD) in 2012.

Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.


On the Heels of the Bangladesh Building Disaster: Six in Ten in 16 Developed Nations Hold Contracting Companies (61%), Local Authorities (58%) Responsible…Eight in Ten (82%) Say Work Conditions are Exploitative

Contact

John Wright
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1.416.324.2002
john.wright@ipsos.com