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Report: Apparel brands' purchasing practices are driving labour abuses in garment factories

Author: Human Rights Watch, Published on: 24 April 2019

""Paying for a Bus Ticket and Expecting to Fly": How Apparel Brand Purchasing Practices Drive Labor Abuses", 23 April 2019

...This report... based largely on interviews with garment suppliers, social compliance auditors, and garment industry experts... [and] workers... argues that brands’ poor sourcing and purchasing practices can be a huge part of the root cause for rampant labor abuses in apparel factories...

Low purchase prices and shorter times for manufacturing products, coupled with poor forecasting, unfair penalties, and poor payment terms, exacerbate risks for labor abuses in factories. Often, bad purchasing practices directly undermine efforts brands are making to try to ensure rights-respecting conditions in the factories that produce their wares. They squeeze suppliers so hard financially that the suppliers face powerful incentives... to engage in abusive labor practices and in risky contracting with unauthorized suppliers as a way of cutting costs...

Brands have a responsibility to take measures to identify and stop, prevent, and mitigate risks that cause or contribute to human rights problems in their supply chains.

Brand... should adopt and publish a policy on responsible purchasing practices and embed this across all internal departments through standard operating procedures, trainings, key performance indicators, and incentives tied to measures on social and labor compliance in factories...

Brands should combine such policy and contractual reform with participation in emerging human rights due diligence initiatives...

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