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Fieldwork #2- Vans

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by

Sarah Andrews

on 13 February 2013

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Transcript of Fieldwork #2- Vans

OFF THE WALL EXTRACTION DISTRIBUTION i. Item = Cotton Canvas

ii. Where From? = The cotton for the canvas could have been grown in any number of countries from Egypt to India. They are most likely made from genetically engineered cotton created by Monsanto.

iii. Environmental Impact = The environmental impact of growing cotton can vary. Industrialized cotton agriculture is highly chemically based, with lots of embedded energy hidden inside the shipping and processing. Due to the popularity iof Vans, the cotton likely comes from a large, cheap source, which is bound to be genetically modified. The impacts can vary from the downstream waste water runoff from the agricultural fields as well as the processing plants. The cotton is likely the result of a massive, monoculture cotton field being treated with chemical fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide.

iv. Who’s Responsible? = Organized by multinational corporations that often own many parts of the production and processing of the cotton. Monsanto owns a majority of the cotton grown in the world, as their biotechnology has quickly taken over the cotton industry as well as push subsistence farmers to work for them growing cotton as a cash crop. The work always falls on farmers or people lower in terms of socioeconomic standing.

v. Worker Inequalities = Cotton workers tend to work long days in the field, with people often removing pests by hand, which can be tedious. Compared to the people overseeing the operations, the laborers have a much harder job with a fraction of the pay.

vi. Working Conditions/Treatment = The cotton industry is notorious for its employment of children. A 2001 study by Human Rights Watch, states that each year over one million children between the ages of 7 and 12 years old are employed in the cotton fields, although the minimum age for this work is 12 years old. PRODUCTION i.

ii. History: Vans shoes were originally made right in the store. The brand took custom orders and had them ready for pick-up within a few days.
However in 1995, Vans marked the official end of having their shoes be manufactured in the U.S. The company now off shores their manufacturing factories in both Argentina and Asia.
iii. China: VF Corp’s Hong Kong office—The world’s largest appeal company
Argentina: Both men and woman—younger (18-30), Hispanic, lower class
iv.
v. Argentina: Although it appears clean and tidy within their factory. There are some steps in the process of making their shoe that could produce harmful fumes.
vi. Argentina: They do seem to throw away the scraps from the shoe which causes waste and they possibly create toxic/ harmful fumes not only for the person but also the environment. i.Vans are sold in various retail stores
Examples: Vans Shoes Store, JC Penny, Macys, Tillys, Kohl’s, Journeys, Zumies, Station, Hot Topic, Delias, Torrid, Nordstrom

ii.Distribution Center is located in Southern California and is the place for all incoming and outgoing Vans Products
-The Planning, Inbound, Logistics and Quality departments work with Vans Headquarters located in Cypress California and Vans Customer Service located in Appleton Wisconsin to ensure Vans containers from their vendors and the customer orders are delivered to them daily.

a.The Inbound team off loads the containers, puts away the product and starts the process for our daily orders.

b.The Quality team ensures the quality of our inbound and outbound product meets the expectations of our customers.

c.The Processing team collaborates to fulfill the daily orders by picking and adding any special services to the product in order to meet the customer's specifications.

d.The Outbound team prepares the cartons for the final shipment, organizes each of the customer's orders and loads them onto out bound trucks.

e.The Logistics team completes the distribution process by scheduling the carriers to pick up the product for delivery to our customers.

Workers:-Primarily young and male, races vary

iii. Inequalities:
-Wages: not feeling as though their ideas are being listened to by upper management. Here are some accounts from various ex-employees:
-“If you're new, you're nothing but a placeholder. You will not be "good enough" no matter how much you sell.”
-“The compensation is low, only $8 an hour, and their is little opportunity for advancement. I was promised a promotion by one store director who left soon after, the one that replaced her was unwilling to offer me the promotion”

iv. Planes distribute Vans shoes from California to the UK, Australia, and Canada. Trucks distribute across America to stores. Carriers handle the products for delivery and bring them to the customers. CONSUMPTION By: Alex Clark, Dana Fergersterom, Kara Fergersterom, Sarah Andrews - i. Disposal i. Nations: Worldwide
- Gender/Ages: Originally, the company’s target market was skateboarders, surfers, and
snowboarders. Today, it caters to the whole young generation who are mostly inclined
to sports. (Generally ages 0-30 years old is the Major Market)
-Socioeconomic States: Mainly Upper to Middle Class
-Racial or Ethnic Groups: Not specific, but mostly White/ African American

ii. Replacement
-Worn 5-7 days per week--> they last about 9 months to 1 year
- Worn 3-4 days per week--> they last about 1 year to 1 1/2 years
-Worn 0-2 days per week--> they last about 2 years to 2 1/2 years
*general data, not if extremely heavy or light on footwear

Usage of Product:
- This is footwear that was made for skateboarders, surfers, and snowboarders, but has branched out to be footwear that anyone can wear.

iii. What does this mean socially?
-This shoe is a more expensive shoe for the market, which is why it is targeted towards middle to upper class. A non-custom shoe is worth $40-$60 (retail value) while a custom shoe cost from $65-$100 (retail value).
-This means that you're not buying the most expensive show on the market, but you're willing to spend good money on your shoes and don't go for $10 knock offs from Target or other stores. iv. Disposed of and in what manner- Most people don't dispose of these until worn out/ worn down. But the mentality of "what is worn out/down to you?" varies among personal comfort and teachings from others. Such as if your wealthier, then you may feel that "worn out/down" is sooner/ in better condition than of someone with less money.

v. Life cycle-Where does this product see its end?
Well when you think the product is no longer up to your standards or is no longer needed. So there really is not set cycle, it's based on personal perception.- Who is impacted by disposal? The environment/the community like any other trash these products will end up in local landfills and/ or trash island.

vi. Environmental Impact-Like other trash this product will end up in local landfills and trash dumps
vii. Responsible for product disposal/ inequalities- The owner of the shoe is ultimately responsible for the disposal of the product. Sometimes, if in good enough condition can end up at a second hand store (ex. Goodwill, Plato's Closet, etc.), but the owner would through it away if not in desired condition.

- Inequalities-:
Workers: Those Living near Disposal Site: They end up generally in local landfills, until moved (if moved to a different location (ex. Garbage Island)). So no new inequalities that you wouldn't already have with living by the landfill. i. Item = Vulcanized rubber

ii. Where From? = The rubber for the soles if natural, are from either Brazilian or Chinese rubber tree plantation. The trees are tapped similar to maple trees. The rubber is then vulcanized using mainly sulfur and some other elements.If the rubber is synthetic, which the rubber used to seal different parts of the shoe likely is, it is petroleum based, and therefore comes from oil. Oil could come from anywhere that we have decided to drill for oil, from tar sands in Canada to Iraq.

iii. Environmental Impact = Carcinogens produced during vulcanization and during breakdown of rubber in environment. Oil must be extracted, which a slew of harmful environmental effects is tied to from extraction to combustion.

iv. Who’s responsible? = Oil companies control the extraction of oil, and large rubber processors vulcanize the rubber. Due to amount of shoes made by Vans, it is likely to have several rubber suppliers. The soles are molded at the vans factory. Oil workers often are lower of the economic status to work such a dirty, laborious job.

v. Worker Inequalities =As seems to be the rule with workers in extraction, the people who are extracting the materials make a fraction of the managers.

vi. Working Conditions/Treatment = Oil workers, and rubber workers face toxic work environments.


i. Item = Metal for Loops

ii. Where From? = Most likely aluminum, it could come from mines in India. Mountain top removal and open pit mines are often employed to access aluminum veins.

iii. Environmental Impact = Aluminum mines often displace native peoples, who are forced to try and find a life within the economy dominated by the mining company. Open pit mining results in tons of heavy metals to leech into streams and contaminate groundwater and tributary systems.

iv. Who’s responsible? = Large mineral and metal corporations like Rio Tinto Alcan are in control of the resources. Usually countries sell land rights to these companies and people who live around resources are used as work force, but get little of the benefits.

v. Worker Inequalities = Miners tend to get paid little especially in third world countries. Most of our metals are coming from countries rich in resources but not politically stable, so there tend to be inequalities in the distribution of wealth made from the products.

vi. Working Conditions/Treatment = Generally toxic work environment. Dangerous and they tend to not get paid well. EXTRACTION EXTRACTION i. Item = Laces

ii. From? = Synthetic fibers are petroleum based, so oil had to be mined or extracted from either tar sands, oil fields, or deep sea oil wells.
Environmental Impact = Do not readily break down so pollution in disposal can be a problem. Carcinogens are created as oil is processed into fibers and plastic.

iv. Who’s responsible? = Large companies. The companies hire factory workers to run the machines that make the laces.

v. Worker Inequalities = Factory workers tend get paid little in comparison to people higher up in the companies. The dangerous work conditions are usually left for low income people who have no other choices in order to survive.
vi. Working Conditions/Treatment =Workers must be the ones to attach new lengths of laces together as they run through the machine, then remove knots before they reach a metal mold/ die cast. If they don’t remove the knot it can explode which can be very dangerous for the workers. There are also a host of chemicals and bleaches that are used in the production of the laces, possibly exposing workers. EXTRACTION
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