Dhaka, Monday, 19 August 2019

Labor abuses continue to plague major global brands


Apparel Desk: A new report by NGO KnowTheChain reveals the fashion industry lacks in its efforts to address forced labor. The NGO surveyed 43 of the world’s largest clothing and footwear companies’ efforts to address the issue. These companies scored only 37 out of a possible 100, with more than two-thirds scoring below 50.
Right recruiting policy to curb abuses
Be it slavery in cotton fields, human trafficking of factory workers or child labor, companies need to address a lot of issues to free their supply chains of labor abuses. The root cause of these abuses is the pervasive use of agencies to find workers for factories and workshops. These agencies often charge migrant workers large fees just to land a job, and there is ample evidence that these high fees push poor migrants into forced labor situations. In fact, companies that scored highest on the rankings, Adidas and Lululemon, employ their workers directly across the supply chain – a practice that KnowTheChain believes other companies should consider following.
Complex supply chain hampers growth
Another obstacle to progress is the complexity of supply chains, and the interconnectedness of the industry. Most major global brands engage the samesuppliers, or source from the same regions where textile factories and labor abuses are rampant, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia or Vietnam. Namely, one company can only do so much to solve this problem.
To address this issue, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, which represents more than 1,000 global name brands, retailers, and manufacturers, in October 2018, announced a commitment with the Fair Labor Association to address potential forced labor risks in their supply chains.
KnowTheChain will also continue to highlight relevant policies besides tracking progress on eliminating forced labor from the apparel and footwear supply chain. The NGO hopes to find a suitable solution to the issue by the publication of its next report.