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16 Dec 2022

Sherpa, ActionAid & Collectif Ethique sur l’Etiquette

France: Court of Appeal confirms dismissal of lawsuit against Auchan over alleged deceptive marketing practices following Rana Plaza collapse

Thousands of garment workers and their unions rally on the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 garment workers

"Auchan and fairwashing – Appeal juges rule in favor of the multinational : case is dismissed again", 16 Dec 2022

When the building collapsed in Dhaka,Bangladesh, killing more than 1,100 textile workers, labels of the brand In Extenso, a brand distributed by Auchan, were found in the rubble. Yet, in its public statements, the company prided itself on respecting workers’ rights across its entire value chain.

Faced with the flagrant difference between its declarations and the reality of the employees’ working conditions, Sherpa, ActionAid and the Collectif Ethique sur l’Etiquette filed a complaint against Auchan on 23 March 2014 for deceptive marketing practices, considering that its commercial strategy amounted to fairwashing. Following the dismissal of the case, the NGOs filed a complaint with a claim for criminal indemnification on 11 June 2015, to allow for the opening of a judicial investigation...

...[T]he investigating judge had dismissed the case in favour of Auchan on 27 April 2022. Auchan’s statements, claiming that it used audits and requested its suppliers to commit to its code of conduct had convinced the judge that the there was no intention to deceive for the multinational.

The mere announcement of such actions is insufficient to ensure that a company has taken the appropriate measures to guarantee the absence of human and labor rights violations and has not committed deceptive marketing practices...

The judges have just confirmed the dismissal order, it being precised that the motivation of the decision is not yet known. The NGOs will study the relevance of an appeal before the French Supreme Court....