China: Ethnic minorities detained in internment camps reportedly subject to forced labour in factories supplying to major apparel brands; Incl. co responses
In December 2018, an investigation by the Associated Press linked US sportswear brand Badger Sport to a factory inside an internment camp in Xinjiang province, China, where Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities are allegedly being subject to forced labour. A UN committee has described Xinjiang province as resembling a "mass internment camp", and estimates more than 1 million Uighurs have been sent to prison or re-education camps. Following the Associated Press report, Badger Sport CEO John Anton said that the company would source sportswear elsewhere while it conducted an investigation. A Sourcing Update from Badger Sport is included below. In January 2019, Badger Sport announced it was severing the relationship with its Xinjiang supplier based on an "abundance of caution" and it would no longer source products from "this region of China."
In July 2019, an investigation by Four Corners identified several more brands as sourcing from Xinjiang. More information can be found in the article linked below. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the brands named in the investigation to respond to allegations of ethnic minorities being subject to forced labour in factories in Xinjiang. Esprit responded that it has instructed suppliers to stop sourcing yarn from the factory highlighted in the Four Corners report, following its own investigation. Adidas responded that it had also asked suppliers to suspend sourcing of yarn from the same factory following its investigation and is waiting on the results of an independent third-party investigation to verify its own findings. IKEA responded that some of its sub-suppliers are in Xinjiang, and that the cotton is sourced according to the Better Cotton Initiative. PVH, UNIQLO, H&M, Cotton On, Nike, Woolworths and Wesfarmers all said they were either investigating or had committed to investigate or review the situation. Factory X and Noni B responded and signposted to their ethical sourcing policies. All of the responses can be found in full below. Glorious Sun (Jeanswest) and Just Group did not respond.