COVID-19 and global clothing retailers' responsibility to vulnerable workers: NGO counter-rhetoric

Nglaa Ahmad, Shamima Haque, Muhammad Azizul Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


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 and Accountability Journal
Issue number1
Early online date26 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Global clothing retailers
  • Neoliberalism
  • NGO counter-Rhetoric
  • Transparency
  • Workers' vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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