Abuses in leather industry prompt investors’ call to add labour compliance to industry audits

Author: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Published on: 3 October 2017

In a letter to the Leather Working Group, 62 institutional investors cite pervasive labor violations in a call for broadening scope to include labor as well as environmental due diligence at tanneries...

While the LWG currently tracks company performance on environmental risks such as water pollution that are endemic in leather production, there is currently no audit protocol for labor concerns... 

The investors argue that the industry is exposed to serious and systemic social risks including labor rights violations such as forced and child labor, wage theft and worker exposure to hazardous chemicals in the tanning process that need to be managed by sector-specific protocols like the Leather Working Group.

In their letter, the investors cite two reports, Transparentem’s in-depth investigation of conditions at tanneries in Hazaribagh, Bangladesh and KnowTheChain’s report, “How footwear companies and luxury brands tackle forced labor risks in their leather supply chains,” both of which highlight pervasive hazardous working conditions and child labor in leather processing in a number of countries including, Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan.

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