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Bucci Company is a leader in the footwear market with a customer-oriented strategy to completely change the fast fashion industry. Even though the ethical issues integral to the three-trillion-dollar fashion industry are not openly acknowledged, they are ever-present. As the senior manager of this company, it is fundamental to bed keen on all the ethical issues, legal and business aspects that relate to the day to day operations. It is paramount that a good reputation, as well as a sense of corporate social responsibility, is maintained in the operation of Bucci Company. The reality of the matter is that Fast Fashion will continue, therefore, building a competitive edge while considering ethical issues in the business environment which is ever crucial (Brannon & Lorynn 21). The question is: Can Bucci Company be realistically ethical and adhere to all legal obligation in its pursuit of continuous improvement? This paper is going to explore ethical, legal and business aspects of Bucci Company, as being a part of the fast fashion industry, and how the management headed by the senior manager streamline them so that they consistently adhere to the recognized code of conduct and policies for their smooth operations.
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The senior manager should be conscious of risks that the company could be vulnerable to and guard. The senior manager of Bucci faced an ethical issue that involved the need to undertake unlawful subcontracting and considering child labour to successfully launch a new fast-fashion line. Short production scores can imply that suppliers express challenges in satisfying last-minute orders and take an option of unlawful subcontracting to often tiny shops in the economy in different countries, with personnel employed on piece tolls and infrequent contracts (Carroll & Ann 13). Since the company is a well-known exporter, there is a treat of different legal framework from various governments. The most common type is that of ignoring visibilities for employees who may be prone to abuse and being exploited. If it is not carefully considered, it increases the likelihood of child labour and other unlawful practices in the company. That is why, this topic is restricted to focus on environmental, ethical, labour and financial issues of becoming the fast fashion industry player.
Summary Overview of Ethical and Legal Issues in Bucci Company
A study done at Cambridge University in 2015 (Kirchain, 2015) reported that fast fashion began expanding rapidly from the late 1990s when brands started to explore new ways to boost their profits (Kant Hvass 425). Globalization was fully-fledged between the 80s and 90s, allowing the priorities of value and reduced-priced brands to change the greater part of their production to the emerging globe (Gardetti & Ana 312). A few fashion businesses re-scrutinized their supply chains and came up with a system with various other brands then followed. They divided their supply chain, retaining basic products manufactured in the Far East but caused the production of the more high fashion products closer to home. Customers responded positively to this drift which sequentially has amounted to the extensive acceleration of fashion leading to rising of fast fashion. They reported that in 2015, the population was buying a third time more apparels than they were in 2011. In fact, women had four times as many outfits in their closets as they had in 2000.
On the other hand, the most recent study was conducted in 2016 (Linden, 2016) and centred more on the dissension in customers as far as the industry is concerned (M. Taplin 72). These sustainability concerns included most of these companies using toxic chemicals, heightened consumption of water, and massive increase in customer waste, poor and lethal working conditions for employees, the rate of wages falling below a realistic living figure, and other social and environmental issues. Since Bucci Company is willing to become a fast-fashion company, many stakeholders must view it as one of the dishonest and illegal companies. Again, innocent customers must be guarded against quick and would-be destructive apparels.
The senior manager has a role in recognizing unethical and illegal business practices in the organization for it is about their continuity in business. These unethical and illegal business practices incorporate the unstated if not the categorical cooperation of employees and mirror the values, outlooks, beliefs, as well as behavioural systems that describe the organizations operating culture. The senior manager should be accountable and offer proper leadership to institute systems that enable ethical conduct to legal and business obligations with those who formulate, implement and by design benefit from corporate misdemeanours.
Bucci Company is in an industry that is characterized by accelerated consumption that is ever increasing. The overall scrutiny of the industry brings crude oil into the picture, which ultimately becomes polyester. Crude oil itself take millions of years to be made, and in contrast, cotton takes six months to grow from seed to crop (M. Taplin 74). In some manner, fashion is still considered slow. It is just a section of the entire process, the creation, buying and disposal of clothes that are being gradually accelerated at a disturbingly fast speed. Most of these products do not then dematerialize but insist on existing in diverse, mostly unvalued form, long into the future. It is the essence why the senior manager must closely monitor the process and structure of their operations to shape Bucci’s organizational ethics. He has a responsibility to grab this chance to form a climate that can reinforce the relationships and reputations on which the company will hinge its success.
Even with their good intentions of making the best product and cause no unnecessary harm, the management endeavour to stimulate solutions to the business environmental crisis that may be brought by their organization. A lot of compromises occur in the mills that take raw materials and yield the fabrics and other products that later become nice looking garments. Bucci subcontract the mills to offer them the materials. The mills of the company could experience cases of trafficking and exploitation because of the pressure that is being put on Bucci Company to deliver products within a short deadline.
The senior manager should not permit trafficking even in its minutest form. He should ensure a high level of accountability for the whole supply chain. Most managers elsewhere do not observe high standards of accountability because they are sure to go away with mistreating their workers who will not open up to auditors during a crackdown. Employees are intensely incentivized not to attract concentration to themselves, not raise red flags to avoid being punished, especially by being dismissed from a job. Therefore, the companies take advantage of this and mishandle the workers. There is a need for Bucci Company to develop an acknowledged responsibility to consider action beyond tier one. In this way, all these breaches of workers and products ethical standards could be greatly reduced.
The senior manager must show a succinct oversight structure for all the links of the supply chain of the company. He needs to harmonize the vast available resources and the commitment of the management team. Bucci Company is operating under the arms of many supply chains, and the relationships with the workers are often informal. The CSR programs that have been put in place before are often moderately unrecognized and powerless. These factors corporately imply that Bucci Company is not prepared or proactive as far as countering ethical and legal issues are concerned. It should not be until the issues are found that the senior manager begins to deal with them, rather they could be pre-empted and prevented before they are compromised.
The issue of sustainability is fundamental in Bucci Company. The company alongside others in the industry push both natural resources and the individuals who make clothing because of the fast fashion industry. This aspect also puts pressure on the customers. An inverse relationship exists between possessing more clothes (above a certain level that several people have already attained) and enhanced happiness. Hence, Bucci Company should be careful not to compromise the ethical and legal standard in a business environment. That is, the senior manager has to scout better lives for all stakeholders, either directly or indirectly in fashion. The present fast fashion model that Bucci Company has adopted is therefore not inescapable. The system is comparatively new, and the mayor should be altered.
The Legal Aspects
Shoppers demand a constant supply of colourful, fast fashion apparels. That is why chains such as Inditex’s Zara and Hennes and Mauritz H&M are recognized for breaching the legal laws of their operations (McNeill & Rebecca 213).
There are many well-known accidents in Bangladesh, where factories are located, the worker rights advocates reported that the fast fashion industry has another eviler cost. Again, it is because of continuous product cycles that are causing workers lives to be at risk in developing countries. Bangladesh experienced two fateful garment factory sacks in several months. A Bangladeshi factory was incinerated for Western fashion lines on November 24th, 2013 (Arrigo 182). A demise of 100 people was reported at a Bangladeshi plant that produced clothes for companies such as Sears Holdings and Wal-Mart Stores.
According to Shawn (Shawn, 2015), a law firm in Toronto was seeking $2 billion as fine from Joe Fresh and Loblaw Cos Apparel line that is connected to the 2013 Bangladesh garment company crumple that led to about 1100 employees dying at that site (Ottati 1264). A similar action was recorded in the District of Columbia Court (Shawn, 2015) while suing retailers such as Walmart and J.C (McNeill & Rebecca 214). Penney that are included in the 30 manufacturers that had to clothing made in that building. It is a standard report that fast fashion factories in Bangladesh had an exceedingly poor register of workplace safety levels and industrial building legal standards. There is a lot of recent history of very severe accidents and ruins at clothing companies in Bangladesh in the time nearly earlier than the time Rana Plaza came down. All of these accidents have been connected with breach of legal aspects of the business environment.
Therefore, considering the legal aspects of Bucci Company is very fundamental in its performance and sustainability. The senior manager should resist the taking the direction of increasingly depending on a business model that motivates them to go for the lowest prices provided by subcontracted companies in nations that presently possess the leanest production costs globally. This is because they may be obliged to lay interests in production timetables before considering the rights and safety of workers to sustain their contracts. The legal framework could be compromised because of the pressure to avail products to customers on time, not compromising quality, and in stipulations they needed. The senior manager is aware that if they fail to satisfy the needs of the customers, they can switch to a competitor.
This industry has over and over been influenced by illegal issues, for example, specialists’ rights and youngster work laws. Union workers assembling plants may picket their managers, particularly if their wages or health advantages are less great than labourers in practically identical ventures. Specialists picketing their attire bosses impact generation. This can cause delays for retailers in getting spring or fall moulds on time. Activists who are not utilized by the organizations may likewise picket retailers who buy the dress from nations known for disregarding tyke work laws. This negative reputation may affect a little dress retailers’ deals and benefits. Likewise, an exchange ban against another organization’s imports would drive garments wholesalers to discover diverse providers.
The business goals and issues of Bucci Company could be summarized as: to eliminate unethical practices that are common in the production of clothes and footwear in the fast fashion industry. The goal is to encourage ethical fast fashions like fair trade,’ sweatshop free or no sweat products. Several other issues surrounding Bucci Company is the after-purchase usage (cleaning, ironing, keeping, disposal, etc.). This makes it harder not only for Bucci but even other companies in the Fast Fashion industry to be entirely ethical as far as each of these categories is concerned. Again as the senior manager, settling for the best is the priority even if it not easy to be entirely ethical.
The company supplies short runs or top-up product lines. It is about it being highly flexible to transform an order from design to product and a shop floor so speedily, often within two weeks. The company sells numerous lines each season or even limited edition to making allowances for a passing fashion. The anticipation to be updated with ever-changing trends, revitalizing one’s wardrobe after every month, is also detrimental. These pressures that come from customers put an unwarranted push on the companies in the fast fashion industry who endeavour to produce excess to suit their demand (Gardetti & Ana 315). Despite these aspirations, there could be several cases of human trafficking, spontaneous labour, and mistreatment in the supply chain section of the company. It is a trend that has been noted in many enterprises in the fast fashion industry such as Nike Company, Zara and many others (Kant Hvass 427).
There are legal standards in every country that guide the issues of child labour, wages and contracts, counterfeit products, working conditions, corporate responsibility to the community and much more (McNeill & Rebecca 219). Child labour is considered highly unethical and illegal, and Bucci Company could be sued if it violates this aspect. Also, there are legal stipulations on some wages to be given to workers, but the senior manager may do self-regulation and give his employees reasonable compensation. Governments would not tolerate any unfair working conditions. It is a stipulation that auditors visit a company at least once a year to give a report on its performance and expose any flaws.
The Ethical Aspects
Proper ethical consideration would imply that the senior manager ensures that there is a balance between individual expressions by way of fashion. The manager is aware that valuing the people (workers), skills, time as well as natural factors intricate in the production process. It is about offering the opportunity to voice out personality through apparel essentially, what cause to be human- while at the same time not bargaining to observe the rights of other individuals as well as the equilibrium of nature. Kant Hvass summarized it as the act of capitalizing on the benefits of people at the same reducing the impact on the business environment. Striking such a balance is not easy in an organization setup (427). The senior manager should reconcile a business framework that reassures people to acquire more and more and leave garments when they are considered fashion no more. Financial and Marketing ethics will be the focus of this section.
The senior manager of Bucci Company has an obligation to manage the assets of the company properly as well as raise its capital. There are many problems associated with the financial segment of the fast fashion industry. There are cases of bad trading practices with unanticipated and vaguely understood billion-dollar losses. The management of the companies is not keen on exercising proper controls over risk and valuations. Some key officials of the companies even engage in deceptive communication within their companies and to the board. These are core issues comprising the financial, ethical standards of companies. The workers would be involved in wrongdoing because of the weak structures at the top management.
As far as the fast fashion industry would boast of generating employment opportunities in many regions of the world, it has issues of sweatshops. By perpetually lowering the living standards of workers, it becomes a breach of ethical financial standards. In fact, some companies such as Zara have been reported in some case for not paying the wages of its workers. There is a threshold of annual wages that an average worker must earn consistently with the benefit of the garments that they produce within a short time. The clothes are sold at higher prices as the companies make huge profits in return, yet the sweatshop workers are paid peanuts. It is not about setting lower subsistence levels of legal standard wage to appeal to foreign investments in the fast fashion industry. The working conditions of the jobs in each nation are specified. There are minimum wages that workers must be paid. The senior manager of Bucci Company must be careful to pay workers an amount that could cover their basic needs and allow them to compensate for emergencies.
Bucci Company needs to guard against this because they flop if they take such a direction. The latest and competitive plan of action in the design business, the fast fashion industry, was efficiently dissected to identify changes in its structures hinders that may be owing to outer triggers that are testing organizations in the turbulent mould condition. The examination uncovered that adjustments in the building squares of the quick form plan of action may undoubtedly be owing to outside components, however with each building piece being impacted to an alternate degree. In fact, the senior manager should not entertain intermediaries such as subcontractors to be involved in the recruitment process. Involving such groups would lead to the questionable hiring of relatives that are vulnerable to breaching ethical and legal standards because they do not have the capacity to comply with a number of them.
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Bucci Company should sign an Accord that will pave the way for undertaking positive initiatives. That is, it must have external bodies that hold it accountable for poor working conditions. It should even sign the Cotton Pledge to refrain from child and forced labour. Another issue that leads to the breach of ethical and legal standards is a lack of good compensation. Sufficient living wages for garment employees is a fundamental issue that should never be disregarded. The company must clean up any inappropriate supply chains and expel animal brutality in the production of clothes.
Ethical and legal issues related to CSR is often regarded under the standard Fair Trade. The concept depends on the alliance between craft men in developing nations and companies from developed nations to preserve ancient practices and avails employment opportunities with fair wages. At best, Fairtrade a framework that guarantees a fair price and good working conditions for all stakeholders, at the same time encouraging an impartial trading agreement. Nevertheless, even if Bucci Company adopts this option, the operation manager should understand that ethics should be considered above regulation. Thus, Bucci Company can be realistically ethical and adhere to all legal obligation in its pursuit of continuous improvement through the commitment of the management. Every practice and system of the company should be regulated decently, fairly and equitably.