Statement: Coalition position regarding Inditex and the Uyghur forced labour crisis
In reply to several inquiries from concerned consumers and civil society, the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region is issuing this statement setting out the Coalition’s position regarding Inditex – the parent company of Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti and other brands – and the forced labour crisis unfolding in the Uyghur Region.
While Inditex claims to have a “zero-tolerance approach” to forced labour, we do not believe that Inditex’s current response is sufficient in ensuring that the company is not at risk of profiting from Uyghur forced labour.
In an online statement on Uyghur forced labour, which the company removed on March 25, 2021, Inditex stated that it does not have commercial relations with any factory in the Uyghur Region. In the Coalition’s view, this is not enough and full commitments and actions across the entire supply chain are necessary. By now, it is widely understood that the risk of corporate linkage to the Uyghur forced labour crisis extends far beyond direct relationships with factories in the Region.
As such, apparel brands and retailers must commit to banning any sourcing from the Uyghur Region, from cotton to finished garments. Companies must also cut all ties with any supplier based outside the Uyghur Region implicated in Uyghur forced labour, at a parent company or facility level.
One in five cotton products sold globally are likely tainted with Uyghur forced labour. Such products will continue to be sold to consumers around the world until all major brands and retailers commit to end sourcing from the Region.
We maintain that the only way companies can be sure they aren’t selling clothes and textiles made with Uyghur forced labour – and to ensure that they are not extending the risk of complicity to their consumers – is to take all the steps laid out in the Call to Action. Inditex has refused, so far, to commit to the Call to Action.
We strongly urge Inditex to change its course and commit to the elements outlined in the Call to Action. Leading companies such as Marks and Spencer, ASOS, and TFG Group have publicly committed to the Call to Action, alongside the private commitments of other large brands and retailers. Inditex must ensure it follows suit.
Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash