Reality Behind Brands’ CSR Hypocrisy: An Investigative Report on China Suppliers of ZARA, H&M, and GAP
…In...2015 and 2016, SACOM conducted undercover investigations inside four of Zara, H&M, and GAP’s supplier factories in China…
[T]he research found that…supplier factories force workers to work overtime to meet disproportionally tight delivery time…Their wages were even unstable due to the frequent changes in designs, and difference between high and low seasons. Workers ended up not being paid a living wage…[W]orkers were exposed to toxic chemicals, cotton dust and hazardous dusts without protective gear…[T]here was no genuine representation of workers or channel for workers to voice out. Worker unions were formed by managers themselves; when workers went on strike, they were suppressed or corrupted by the factory...
This report points out that the real reason why brands CSR policies have evolved for more than a decade but still failed to achieve their CSR goals is that they merely rely on the falsifying and top-down audits. SACOM demands three brands take the following actions:
- Facilitate the factories in changing the unfair infrastructure of wages by paying a living wage for the work within standard working hours.
- Provide workers with sufficient working health and safety training and empower them with information and knowledge to safeguard their own rights.
- Give back workers’ right to organise, form a genuine represented worker union such that they can elect their own representatives and have collective bargaining with the factory to fight for a better working condition.