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Lesotho: Factory producing for Gap, Levi Strauss dumping chemical waste that poses hazard to children - firms order investigations

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Article
1 January 2010

A response in Lesotho

Author: Gap

In August of 2009, the Sunday Times of London published a story about the environmental impact of factories we do business with in Lesotho...We responded immediately, launching an investigation on the ground in Lesotho and commissioning an independent monitoring organization to conduct its own investigation. We also placed one of the factories involved on immediate notice until our investigation was complete. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, we continued to take action, addressing both the immediate situation but also looking more deeply into the complex issues that can underlie problems...Our immediate actions in Lesotho reflected our focus on collaboration. We formed a joint action plan with Levi Strauss & Co., which contracted with some of the same factories...We also commissioned Verité, a global independent monitoring firm, to conduct a full management systems review of the facility at issue, and WSP – an environmental consulting firm – to conduct a full environmental risk assessment. Both reviews have been completed, and all critical concerns have been addressed. Our on-the-ground team continues to monitor these issues on an ongoing basis.

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Article
4 August 2009

Nien Hsing denies pollution and child labor allegations

Author: China Post

Taiwanese garment manufacturer Nien Hsing has denied allegations that it's factory in the African kingdom of Lesotho has been illegally dumping chemical waste, needles, and knife blades in landfills, endangering the health of the numerous children who prowl the landfills daily in search of used fabric which they can sell. Nien Hsing has also refuted allegations that it hires and mistreats child laborers at its Lesotho factory.

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Article
2 August 2009

African dream turns sour for orphan army [Lesotho]

Author: Dan McDougall, Times [UK]

Alarmingly, for the two San Francisco-based firms [Gap, Levi Strauss], the waste dumped by their suppliers Nien Hsing and Formosa Textile - both part of the Nien Hsing Fashion Group - includes harmful chemicals, needles and razors...In a statement yesterday, Dan Henkle, Gap’s senior vice-president of global responsibility, said the company had ordered an investigation as soon as it learnt of the allegations...Levi Strauss, which also sent an investigator to Lesotho, said it was “disturbed to see the local water is polluted”. A spokesman added, “It is clear the municipal landfill has not been secured”, and promised to protect the community and children...[also refers to Precious Garments]

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Article
2 August 2009

Gap factory danger to African children [Lesotho]

Author: Dan McDougall and David Watts, Times [UK]

A factory that makes jeans for Gap and Levi Strauss is illegally dumping chemical waste in a river and two unsecured tips where it poses a hazard to children...Dark blue effluent from the factory of Nien Hsing, a Taiwanese firm, was pouring into a river from which people draw water for cooking and bathing...Yesterday Gap and Levi Strauss said they had ordered immediate investigations. Gap, which has a public image of environmental awareness, put the factory “on notice” to improve. Levi Strauss said it was “disturbed” to see that water was being polluted.

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Article
2 August 2009

Gap Inc. Reaffirms Commitment to Improving The Lives Of Workers In Lesotho

Author: Gap

As soon as we were alerted of these issues, we immediately investigated the situation on the ground in Lesotho, commissioned an independent monitoring organization to conduct its own investigation, and placed one of the factories involved on immediate notice until our investigation is complete and all issues are adequately addressed. Our primary focus, however, continues to be on the workers and their community...

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Article
2 August 2009

Levi Strauss & Co. Takes Actions to Address Allegations in Lesotho

Author: Levi Strauss

“As soon as we learned about these allegations, we sent a member of our social and environmental sustainability team to Lesotho to conduct a full investigation. If any of our suppliers are violating our labor, health and safety, or environmental requirements, we will work with them as well as local and international NGOs on solutions...

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