Cotton Campaign calls for stronger commitment from H&M to rid supply chain of Uzbek child & forced labour

Reports continue to allege the use of child & forced labour in Uzbek cotton harvests.  Companies have come under increasing pressure from consumers & civil society to ensure that their supply chains are free of such exploitative practices.  As a response, over 100 companies, including H&M, have signed a pledge not to knowingly source cotton from Uzbekistan.

Nevertheless, certain companies, such as Daewoo International (part of POSCO), allegedly continue to purchase cotton from Uzbekistan.  In December 2012, Cotton Campaign pointed out ties between one of H&M's suppliers and Daewoo International.  H&M's supplier subsequently cut ties with the company.  Furthermore, H&M announced it would ask suppliers to sign a pledge not to source cotton from Uzbekistan.

Following the announcement, Cotton Campaign issued a statement calling on H&M to strengthen its commitment by implementing the so-called Daewoo Protocol.  "H&M’s recent announcement does not go far enough to ensure that it is not complicit in the use of state-sponsored forced labour in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry," says Cotton Campaign.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited H&M, Daewoo Intl. and POSCO to respond to the following statement:

"Cotton Campaign Calls on H&M to Implement the Daewoo Protocol", Cotton Campaign, 1 Feb 2013

Media coverage

"H&M comes under pressure to act on child-labour cotton", Jamie Doward, Observer (UK), 15 Dec 2012

"Forced labour still problem in Uzbek cotton fields", (Uzbekistan), 28 Jan 2013

"Uzbekistan: H&M strengthens cotton commitments", Petah Marian, just-style (UK), 29 Jan 2013

Company responses

[PDF] H&M response - H&M also pointed us to its supplier commitment and its comments on the Daewoo Protocol

[DOC] Daewoo Intl. response

[DOC] POSCO response

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