Covid-19 and global clothing retailers’ responsibility to vulnerable workers: NGO counter-rhetoric

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Abstract

Purpose
This article aims to examine how non-governmental organisations (NGOs)' narratives portray the vulnerability of workers in global clothing supply chains during the COVID-19 crisis.
Design/methodology/approach
The research analyses the rhetoric in global clothing retailers' and NGOs' counter-rhetoric during the first seven months of 2020.
Findings
During this period, retailers employed rhetorical strategies to legitimise irresponsible actions (corporate hegemony prevailed), while NGOs embraced forms of counter-rhetoric trying to delegitimise the retailers' logic, stressing the role of neoliberalism in worsening the situation.
Originality/value
The authors contribute to the literature by providing new insight into the consequences of COVID-19 for retailers' neoliberal practices and the livelihood of workers in global supply chains. Findings of this study extend authors’ knowledge about retailers' COVID-19 measures: These have contributed to the plights of workers working for their supply factories in the global South.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-228
Number of pages13
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date26 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • COVID 19
  • neoliberalism
  • NGO counter-rhetoric
  • Global clothing retailer
  • transparency
  • workers' vulnerability

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