Gloves off: Ansell under fire over ‘modern slavery’ at Malaysian supplier
21 December 2021
Personal protective equipment giant Ansell is being taken to task over its ties to a Malaysian glove maker alleged to have subjected workers to forced labour and squalid living conditions inside shipping containers.
The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) [...] banned imports from the Brightway Group, the fifth such sanction it has imposed against a single-use glove manufacturer from Malaysia in the past two years.
The ban has prompted fresh scrutiny on ASX-listed Ansell, which as well as having its own factories in Malaysia – a manufacturing hub for medical gloves – has supply deals with Brightway.
Ansell said in a statement that it was “working closely with Brightway on remediation plans based on third-party audit findings from earlier this year”. An earlier Ansell-ordered audit at the Brightway facility in 2019 had not revealed unacceptable living standards.
Brightway was a minor supplier, the Australian company said.
“In line with the advice of human rights and labour experts, Ansell’s preferred practice is to work with suppliers to achieve meaningful improvement, thereby ensuring continued employment and improved conditions for workers, rather than reactively cancelling supplier contracts in response to specific events or allegations,” the statement said.
“Systemic and industry-wide change takes time, and Ansell is committed to being proactive in that change.
“In the case of any supplier that continues to be in breach of modern slavery findings or other aspects of Ansell’s supplier code of conduct and is not showing progress in resolving these issues then we work on developing alternative supply.”