Auchan lawsuit (re garment factories in Bangladesh)
Effondrement du Rana Plaza: Ouverture d'une enquête préliminaire suite à la plainte déposée contre Auchan [Bangladesh/France], by Collectif Ethique sur l'étiquette, Peuples Solidaires & Sherpa, Rana Plaza 2 ans déjà – Plainte contre Auchan pour pratiques commerciales trompeuses : les associations se constituent partie civile, by Collectif Ethique sur l’étiquette, Peuples Solidaires & Sherpa
In April 2014 and then in 2015, three NGOS (Collectif Ethique sur l’étiquette, Peuples Solidaires and Sherpa) filed a complaint in Lille, France against the supermarket Auchan alleging the company used misleading advertisements regarding the conditions in which its clothing was produced. The plaintiffs highlight that the company has made public statements regarding its commitment to social and environment standards in its supply chain. Auchan has denied the claims.
The NGOS allege that Auchan lied to its customers about working conditions at its suppliers abroad after labels from its “In Extenso” clothing range were found in the rubble of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh that collapsed in April 2013, killing thousands of workers and injuring hundreds. The supermarket has denied placing orders at the Rana Plaza factory and said it was the victim of “concealed subcontracting”. Since then, it says it has taken steps, including signing the “Fire and Safety Agreement” aiming at improving safety measures in Bangladesh's garment factories.
In May 2014, the prosecutor’s office in Lille launched a preliminary investigation. In January 2015, the case was dismissed.
In June 2015, those three NGOs brought a new complaint against Auchan for deceptive commercial practices; they petitioned the investigating judge to open an inquiry, if the claim is found to be admissible.
On 27 April 2022, the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence. In May 2022, the NGOs announced they were appealing the decision and denounced "the failure of the international legal assistance system, which did not allow for a thorough investigation".
In December 2022, the Court of Appeal confirmed the dismissal in favour of Auchan. The NGOs appealed before the Supreme Court.
In December 2023, the Supreme Court of France (Court of Cassation) ruled in favour of Auchan, noting that it could not examine the lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs.
"Auchan and the Rana Plaza tragedy: the multinational definitively escapes prosecution" 13 Dec 2023, Sherpa