Government questions fashion giants in forced labour enquiry

The UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has
written to leading companies in sectors including fashion, retail and
information technology, seeking answers in relation to its inquiry into
forced labour of Uyghur in the Xinjiang region of China.

Those companies are Adidas, Amazon, Boohoo Group, Gap, H&M Group, Ikea,
Marks & Spencer, Nike, Puma, Stella McCartney, The North Face, Victoria’s
Secret, Zara, TikTok, and The Walt Disney Company.

The letters include questions concerning supply-chain transparency and
request evidence of compliance with labour, procurement and anti-slavery
laws.

The committee’s request for information includes an invitation to give
evidence at the BEIS Committee’s public hearing on Thursday 5 November.
Government minister Paul Scully
will also be giving
evidence at the session.

Nusrat Ghani, MP and lead BEIS committee member for the Forced labour in
UK value chains inquiry, said: “The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s
‘Uyghur’s for Sale’ report names 82 foreign and Chinese companies directly
or indirectly benefiting from the exploitation of Uyghur workers in
Xinjiang. The companies listed in the Australian Strategic Policy
Institute’s report span industries including the fashion, retail and
information technology sectors.

“On the BEIS Committee, we are determined to ask prominent businesses
operating in Britain in these sectors what they are doing to ensure their
profits are not on the back of forced labour in China. These businesses are
trusted by many British consumers and I hope they will repay this faith by
coming forward to answer these questions and also take up the opportunity
to give evidence to the Business Committee in public.

“There have been a series of accounts of products being sold in the UK
which can be traced back to forced labour at camps in China. On the BEIS
Committee, we want to get a clearer sense of the extent of this problem,
how seriously businesses ask questions of their own supply and
value-chains, and to also examine the steps both Government and business
could take to ensure that businesses and consumers in the UK do not
perpetuate the forced labour of Uyghur.”

Photo credit: Alex Andrews, Pexels

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