Say there’s a concert scheduled at a major Los Angeles venue, but that managers smell gas in the air before the show goes on.
Chances are that they will cancel the event and take a loss out of an abundance of caution, said Dov Charney, chief executive of local clothing company American Apparel.
But the same steps weren’t taken last month, when a garment factory in Bangladesh crumpled soon after workers complained of cracks appearing in the walls, Charney said. More than 600 people died in the collapse, according to several reports.
The tragedy has focused a harsh spotlight on American companies cited as customers of the facility, including Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney. Some have publicly stated that they would consider updating their supply chain safety policies.
But in a phone interview from South Korea on Monday, Charney had some choice words for his industry.
"In Bangladesh, the problem with these factories is that they’re only given contracts on a seasonal or order-by-order basis," he said. "There’s so much pressure to perform, some of the working conditions are outrageous, almost unbelievable. It has completely stripped the human element from the brands."