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The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon apparently is continuing to do business with factories in Asian countries with which, for a variety of reasons, other retailers have decided they can no longer do business.

While "Amazon has become a major player in apparel, a force with which other retailers must compete in a market where customers often seek the lowest price," the Journal writes, it may be paying less attention to some ethical issues that have been addressed by these competitors.

For example, "After a 2013 factory collapse killed more than 1,100 people in Bangladesh, most of the biggest U.S. apparel retailers joined safety-monitoring groups that required them to stop selling clothing from factories that violated certain safety standards. Amazon.com Inc. didn’t join." And, "The Journal found other apparel on Amazon made in Bangladeshi factories whose owners have refused to fix safety problems identified by two safety-monitoring groups, such as crumbling buildings, broken alarms, and missing sprinklers and fire barriers. U.S. retailers such as Walmart Inc., Target Corp. , Costco Wholesale Corp. and Gap Inc. have agreed to honor bans imposed by those two groups, to have their supply chains inspected and to disclose to the groups the factories that supply them.

"The Journal found clothing including pants, sweaters, clerical robes, fishnet body stockings and other items, that originate from blacklisted factories and end up on Amazon."

The Journal asked Amazon about its practices, and the company responded by removing some of the identified items. The company said that none of its private label items are made in the offending factories, a conclusion with which the Journal seems to concur.

The clothing from these factories seem to be largely being sold by third party vendors on Amazon's marketplace, and the "spokesman said Amazon doesn’t inspect factories making clothing that it buys from wholesalers or that comes from third-party sellers. Instead, it expects those wholesalers and sellers to adhere to the same safety standards.

"Amazon’s agreement with third-party sellers doesn’t explicitly say they must meet those standards."
KC's View:
I'll say it again - Amazon doesn't really get to make these kinds of excuses. I firmly believe that it has the ultimate responsibility for not selling products that are made in places that have credibly been accused of these kinds of safety violations. Maybe it cannot enforce this kind of oversight overnight, but it has to be do a better of job of creating trackability, traceability and transparency throughout its systems.