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12 Mai 2022

Sherpa, Collectif Ethique sur l’étiquette & ActionAid France

Auchan and deceptive business practices : NGOs appeal the decision to dismiss the case

In 2013, labels of...[Auchan]’s brand In Extenso were found in the rubble of Rana Plaza’s collapse in Bangladesh. Our NGOs filed a complaint on 24 April 2014, arguing that, in view of the working conditions at Rana Plaza, Auchan’s ethical commitments, by which it boasted of respecting workers’ rights throughout its value chain, constituted deceptive business practices. 

After the dismissal of this first complaint, our organisations filed a new complaint with civil parties in 2015 following Sherpa’s investigation in Bangladesh, which provided evidence on working conditions and wages in several other factories of Auchan’s subcontractors.

During the judicial inquiry, an international letter rogatory was transmitted by the French investigating judge to the Bangladeshi authorities. While no investigation could be carried out in Bangladesh due to the lack of international judicial cooperation, and despite our request for a complementary investigation in France, which remained unsuccessful, the courts dismissed the case on 27 April, claiming a lack of evidence.

In order for Auchan to be judged, our organisations lodge an appeal. We denounce the failure of the international legal assistance system, which did not allow for a thorough investigation...  

This decision also underlines the need for a legal framework that effectively sanctions fairwashing, as these corporate practices are intensifying...