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the factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh is a painful reminder that labor issues in the apparel industry are abundant and troubling. Catholic Colleges and Universities (CCUs) are confronted with the reality that many apparel manufacturers can operate in stark contrast to the vision of economic justice found in Catholic social thought (CST). In response, activists on CCU campuses have demanded that CCUs boycott apparel manufacturers that they believe to be in violation of their school’s values. While activism can draw much needed attention to problems in the industry, it can be a problematic response. While CST offers principles of economic justice, it does not offer a blueprint for managing a supply chain, running a company, or buying goods. As such, this paper identifies five strategies for CCUs to exercise moral responsibility in the apparel industry: protest, boycott, develop market capacity, develop management capacity, and develop capacity for systemic change.

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Journal of Catholic Higher Education