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Swedish public procurers engage suppliers to take measures against possible links to Uyghur forced labour

Note: The Swedish public procurer SKL Kommentus Inköpscentral, the Swedish Regions’ National Secretariat for Sustainable Procurement and the Church of Sweden have produced a joint letter requiring their suppliers to take certain actions following concerns over the issue of Uyghur forced labour. The letter and required follow-up measures are available below.

1. Draft email to suppliers

... [SKL Kommentus Inköpscentral, the Swedish Regions and the Church of Sweden] have noted that there are products on our framework agreements and contracts with you from brands that have been mentioned in reports on the use of Uyghurs for forced labor...

Your industry also belongs to the following risk area(s) for the use of Uyghurs for forced labor:

[Cotton production

Textile and clothing industry

Electronics manufacturing, including cell phones and printers

Rare earth mining and other extractives

Agricultural production

Plastic production

Cleaning supplies and chemicals

Medical equipment

Electrical machinery

Mechanical appliances

Toys and sports equipment

Vehicles]

Attached you will therefore find a letter with follow-up measures. We ask you to submit an initial report in accordance with the instructions...

If you are a retailer, you will be monitored on how you forward the follow-up measures to brand owners and monitor their work.

If final manufacturing does not take place in China, you will be monitored on how you forward the follow-up measures to end manufacturers and monitor their work regarding components from China.

If you do not have China in the supply chain (end production, component production, raw materials), please describe how you have come to this conclusion...

2. Follow-up measures

This communication is a joint initiative between [the Church of Sweden, SKL Kommentus and the Swedish Regions] (hereby “signatories”)...

The document clarifies the procuring organisations’ standpoint, reiterates the expectations on suppliers with regards to human rights due diligence and serves as a basis for follow-up of compliance with the organisations’ agreement conditions...

There is a grave risk that suppliers in the signatories’ supply chains are benefiting from human rights violations, including forced labour, both in and from Xinjiang...

In accordance with the signatories’ agreement conditions, suppliers must actively monitor the above human rights risks including the risk of forced labour.

While human rights due diligence best practices typically include having the ability to conduct independent onsite inspections and working with sub-suppliers to remediate forced and abusive labour practices, the repressive conditions in Xinjiang make it unlikely that suppliers will have the necessary access to sub-suppliers. Third-party audits may not be a credible source of information for the following reasons...

Required Actions

1. In order to ensure compliance with the agreement conditions, suppliers must investigate whether forced labour of Uyghur and other Turkic and Muslim groups occurs in the supply chains of the signatories' subject matters of procurement...

2. [S]uppliers should [...] take the following actions in accordance with international best practice...

3. Suppliers shall report [monthly/quarterly/six-monthly/yearly] to the signatories’ contact point in accordance with the attached “Template for follow-up in China”...

3. Annex 1: Indicators of forced labour at workplaces in Xinjiang

4. Annex 2: Manufacturers linked to forced labour in the report Uyghurs for Sale*

5. Template for follow-up in China

6. Assessment template follow-up in China

*see here for Business & Human Rights Resource Centre coverage of the report, including company responses.

Part of the following stories

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang