Request for Full Disclosure regarding Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
December 15, 2020
For the Attention of the CEO:
We write on behalf of the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region concerning your company’s position on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and any lobbying your company has done concerning this legislation.
Given the vast forced labor risk in the Uyghur Region, the impossibility of effective labor rights due diligence, and the broader context of human rights atrocities being carried out by the Chinese government, including the largest internment of an ethno-religious minority since 1945, every responsible corporation should support this legislation. As you know, the Act (H.R. 6210) passed the US House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support, an illustration of the breadth of societal support the legislation enjoys.
We are therefore deeply concerned about reports that some leading corporations are actively lobbying to defeat or dilute the bill. You are no doubt aware of reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times that Nike, Coca-Cola, and Apple, all of which claim zero tolerance for forced labor in their supply chains, have lobbied to alter the bill. We are also aware of efforts to dilute the bill by trade associations representing large numbers of apparel brands and retailers.
When confronted about these lobbying efforts, some companies have denied that they oppose the bill or are trying to weaken it. Nike, for example, denied opposition to the Act and claimed it is merely having “constructive discussions” with congressional staff.
Given this lack of clarity, and given the vital importance of the legislation to the well-being of millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim peoples, we believe it is incumbent upon leading corporations with an interest in this legislation to be transparent with their customers and the broader public about exactly where they stand on the bill and any changes they are pressing Members of Congress to make.
We therefore ask your company to immediately disclose its position and actions concerning the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, by answering the following questions and making those answers publicly available:
- Does your company support the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act as passed by the US House of Representatives, without amendment? If not, what is the basis of your opposition to the legislation, as passed?
- Is your company lobbying against this legislation in Congress, either via your own employees or through lobbyists or lobbying firms? If so, how much money has your company spent on these lobbying efforts?
- Is your company advocating for any alteration of the legislation as passed by the House? If so, what specific changes have you proposed and what is the justification for each of these changes?
- If not, have you engaged in any communications with Members of Congress, their staff, and/or committee staff concerning this legislation, even if those communications do not meet the legal definition of lobbying, and, if so, what was the specific content of those conversations?
- Have trade associations of which you are a member lobbied for any changes to the legislation? If so, is your company in support of those changes? If not, what concrete actions has your company taken to register its objections to the trade associations actions?
The Steering Committee
- Apple, Inditex, Nike and PVH provided responses to the Coalition’s disclosure request.
- adidas, Amazon, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Gap, Heinz, Kohl’s, L Brands, Nordstrom, Ross, Target, TJX and Walmart have not provided responses to the Coalition’s disclosure request.