Turkey: Apparel brands failed to take appropriate steps to protect suppliers & workers following earthquake, study finds
"Leading Apparel Brands Tolerated Delivery Delays Resulting from Türkiye Earthquake; but Most Have Done Little Else to Support Survivors", 22 August 2023
A white paper by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) examines how 16 global brands handled their human rights obligations after the devastating earthquake in Türkiye:
Pressed by advocates not to punish suppliers for unavoidable delivery delays, most of the brands extended deadlines on clothing orders in production at the time of the quake. However, half the brands acknowledged that they did not keep to original payment schedules. This means that suppliers forced to deliver late were also paid late, exacerbating their financial situation.
Asked whether they took any other steps to directly support suppliers, like low interest loans or grants, only six of 16 brands cited any form of assistance. And this self-reporting may overstate the brands’ generosity: less than 2% of suppliers responding to a survey by Turkish researchers reported that their customers “supported workers and producers after the quake.”
Among the consequences of this lack of largesse: nearly half of the suppliers in the survey said they could not pay workers in full in the weeks after the quake. A third said they were forced to put workers on unpaid leave. And not all brands extended deadlines: 35% of suppliers said they were forced to stick to original delivery schedules.
The white paper identifies Marks & Spencer and C&A as the only two brands surveyed that reported acting responsibly both with respect to order delays and aid to suppliers. Among the worst performers—brands that did not maintain original payment dates for delayed orders and also failed to offer any special assistance to suppliers—are Boohoo, H&M, and s.Oliver.
The WRC white paper analyzed responses to a recent questionnaire to brands from the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, additional information provided by brands to the WRC, and the results of a new survey of 202 garment and textile producers in the earthquake-hit zone. The supplier survey was conducted by the Middle Eastern Technical University’s Dr. Derya Göçer and Dr. Şerif Onur Bahçecik...
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