Growing up I was one of those people that had the same backpack for all of elementary school and into high school. I loved my backpack and every time a strap would break or something would tear I made sure that I mended it. Like most of the other students I used a Jansport backpack. Along with their very well made backpacks we see around campuses Jansport also produces several different clothing lines. These clothing are also seen in our bookstore at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Jansport is owned by a bigger corporation called VF Corporation. VF owns a wide variety of other clothing companies. Because of this they outsource a lot of their production to other countries one of those countries being Mexico. In 1994 NATFA was passed which allowed Mexican factories to take on more roles within the supply chain which previously was blocked by tariffs. After these tariffs were lifted companies like VF capitalized on the change. Companies are able to pay employees much lower wages then in the US and have to give little or no benefits. They also have less restrictions on safety and disposal of waste.
This change in restrictions that was brought on by NATFA and the shift of production from the US to Mexico and other countries have caused a huge loss of jobs in the US. Some critics from the United States believe that about 250,000 jobs in the US. It is no larger beneficial for American apparel companies to have their factories within the US. They take that portion of their business overseas and across the boarder. This is a reality now in the business world but how is it affecting or country? We see the clothing that Jansport produces and we think to ourselves that we are buying a product produced by an American company. Unfortunately our economy is missing out on a large portion of the potential profit from this product in the form of taxes and jobs.
Social aspects of Jansport Purchase and Consumption
Jansport and school go hand in hand. Their timeless backpacks are used by elementary students and college students alike. Although Jansport got its start from backpacks, it eventually evolved into a company carrying many more school related items, such as collegiate apparel.
Jansport is the PLNU bookstore’s second most popular brand. The bookstore sells Jansport t-shirts and sweatshirts, as well as the traditional Jansport backpacks. Like most collegiate apparel, the bookstore’s Jansport apparel is not socially attributed to any particular on-campus group, but is worn by the students, faculty, alumni, and family of students. Sporting Point Loma apparel is a great way to demonstrate school pride. Perhaps at some schools wearing collegiate apparel is the trademark of a certain group of people at the school, but at PLNU, nearly everyone wears the sweatshirts. Since PLNU is free of fraternities and sororities, the basic Jansport PLNU apparel is worn by almost everyone, whereas students at schools with many on-campus groups might rather purchase their particular group’s sweatshirts rather than basic university apparel.
Although fewer students wear Jansport apparel than wear Champion apparel, Jansport still makes its mark on the PLNU campus.
Written by: Audrey Hiatt
Social aspects of Champion Purchase and Consumption
Champion sweatshirts are the PLNU bookstore’s top-selling item. One look around campus and it’s no surprise why—everyone wears PLNU sweatshirts. This university apparel trend, however, isn’t only happening at PLNU. It’s happening at universities all over the country.
According to a PLNU freshman, the first thing she did after moving into her dorm was spend a small fortune in the bookstore stocking up on college apparel. Champion PLNU sweatshirts aren’t markers of any one particular on-campus group, but instead are worn around campus by almost everyone.
According to Champion’s president of retail active wear, Nadine Hall, during Hanesbrands 2014 investor’s day, Champion is the “market share leader in the college bookstore channel.” Colleges everywhere, from the largest Division one universities to institutions of only a couple thousand students rely on Champion for their university apparel.
College students aren’t Champion’s only collegiate apparel consumers—the gear is worn by proud parents, grandparents, alumni, and PLNU enthusiasts too. Although the PLNU bookstore’s supply of Champion wear is limited to t-shirts and sweatshirts, Champion has a much larger place in the market with a wide variety of active wear apparel sold at most major department stores across the country.
Written by: Audrey Hiatt
Social aspects of Champion Production
Some companies fake transparency—they only disclose enough information to consumers to give the façade of ethical business. Champion, a company of Hanesbrands, provides extensive information on almost every aspect of its company directly through its website and Hanes for Good, and the company seems to be doing everything right at first glance, but further inspection of the company calls its practices into question.
Many companies advertise that the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act has changed the way they do business, but Hanes claims to have been meeting the Act’s criteria for years. The company claims to exert extensive effort and energy fighting forced labor, slavery, and human trafficking. Hanes even produces the majority of their products in company owned factories primarily in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, instead of outsourcing the work to other factories. By using company owned factories, Hanes believes they are better able supervise the practices occurring in their production facilities.
From a glance, Hanesbrands seems to be doing everything right. They recently partnered with USAID to progress development in the countries where they produce, and they even provide education and healthcare services to their employees at many different factory locations. Story after story, Hanes claims to significantly improve the community and environment in the several countries in which they produce.
Although the Hanes website boasts the company’s positive social impact, some of the company’s practices are still in question. Cases of child labor and abuse linked to Hanes factories have been reported in the last few years. Hanes might believe in ethical business, but recent stories regarding employee treatment in Hanesbrands facilities challenge their claims of sound business. Low wage reports of workers in Haiti, sexual abuse of employees in Jordan, poor inspections of Bangladeshi factories, and mistreatment of workers in the Dominican Republic, provide further reason to question Hanesbrands’s “ethical” business model.
Champion and Hanesbrands might believe in good business, but their belief statements need to be backed up by action, especially if Point Loma Nazarene University is going to print its logo on Champion apparel.
Written by: Audrey Hiatt
Social aspects of Jansport Production
Jansport is almost as central to many college students’ lives as coffee. Whether students carry their books in Jansport backpacks or show up to class in Jansport sweatpants, the brand makes its mark on college campuses. In PLNU’s bookstore, Jansport products are the store’s second bestselling products, but do PLNU students really know the details behind the brand’s production methods?
Jansport’s website claims their clean and safe factories of production treat the workers well, but their vague Facility Compliance Guidelines and Global Compliance Principles provide no information regarding the details of workers’ compensation. Jansport is a Vanity Fair (VF) Corporation company accredited by the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, which prohibits employee abuse and demands compensation and benefits for employees. Upon further inspection of WRAP’s requirements for accreditation, however, the only requirement for employee compensation is that “facilities [will] pay [their employees] at least the minimum total compensation required by local law, including all mandated wages, allowances & benefits.” “Local law” is the catch phrase here. What are the wage rates required by local law in the countries where VF factories are located?
Although Jansport claims to be transparent and ethically sound, practices in a few of their factories call the company’s bold claims into question. According to a study by Miami University students, Lesotho, a small country surrounded by South Africa, is home to two factories which produce Jansport products. Although the factories provide Lesotho’s people with much needed work, they do not properly treat employees. The factories help women contribute to their household incomes, but they also force female employees to work much unpaid overtime and fail to accommodate pregnant women.
Other issues have occured in Jakarta Indonesia, which is the location of export processing zones for Jansport’s university apparel. According to a study by the Workers’ Rights Consortium, the factories in this region (the Kawasan Berikat Nusantara region) mistreat employees. Some employees who work in these factories reported that they are afraid to speak up because of frequent and illegal military intervention suppressing employees’ union efforts and strikes. Furthermore, the KBN region factories have a trend of abruptly closing and failing to fulfill their contracts with employees, leaving employees unpaid and without work.
These issues occurring in Jansport’s factories challenge the bold claims on the company’s website, leaving Jansport’s ethics and production methods in question.
Written by: Audrey Hiatt
In 2005 students attending University of California, Berkley organized a boycott against items manufactured in Burma. Burma has been a major supplier of apparel; the brand Jansport was a part of this supply change. The students lobbied for the removal of products made in Burma from their bookstores, due to evidence exposing dehumanizing labor conditions. Burma reports that garment workers’ wages are as low as 7 cents per hour. After drawing media attention to the issue, the universities decided to pull the goods, and the supplying apparel company (Jansport) requested a return of all its Burmese-made apparel.
An individual student, Ashley Kuntz, did research on her own. She found that the Jansport factories in Lesotho, Africa were exploiting their workers. She revealed that many of the workers obtain work manufacturing Jansport sweatshirts in order to provide for their basic needs. It was noted that most workers make about $58 a month (28 cents per hour) on average of 45 regular hours per week.
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Jansport is also a key distributor to our PLNU bookstore. They have distributed to College and University bookstores for over 40 years now.
Their industry partners include: International Mountain Guides (IMG), Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), American Mountain Guides Association, Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition, and Conservation Alliance. These partners are also key distributors and transporters.
Jansport has also works with VF, an American clothing corporation. They have planted factories in Far East Mexico and the Caribbean; including specifically Jansport factories. The United Sates now trades with this company specifically for apparel products including the Jansport brand.
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