UK: Labour group demands school uniform supplier Trutex release supplier list for greater transparency; Trutex responds to petition
In July 2019, Labour Behind the Label launched a petition, demanding that school uniform supplier Trutex publish a list of the factories they source from. The labour group argues that while Trutex promises a commitment to ethical production on its website and assurances that its production sites are safe, it has no evidence to prove this.
In August 2019, Trutex responded in a letter to Labour Behind the Label, stating that they had no legal obligation to publish the factories they source from, and that doing so would "represent a commerical risk" to their business.
The full response can be found below.
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Trutex LBTL Response, 16 August 2019
"Trutex is committed to Corporate and Social Responsibility throughout our...supply chain...we have an ethical sourcing strategy ensuring each factory meets all aspects of ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) base code. Trutex Limited is a member of the Sedex Organisation and is focused on continuous improvement within our supply chain, through the implementation of both internal, SMETA and other globally recognised social compliance audits. Trutex vendors are regularly independently audited through SMETA, WRAP and BSCI...Trutex is [also] a member of the Schoolwear Association and closely adheres to the SA code of Practise...
...we spend a lot of time and resource ensuring our factories are compliant with our established standards. We have no legal obligation to publish the factories that we source from and believe that doing so would represent a commercial risk to our business especially in the wholesale sector where many of our customers also have direct buying operations…
...we…recognise our moral obligations to ensure that our manufacturing partners promote workers’ rights and ensure…practices meet the correct and legal requirements, therefore we ensure factories get regular unplanned visits...
...We are...engaged in discussions with the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Slave Free Alliance. We are happy to meet you to discuss our audit trails and supply chain in general and for you to give guidance on the steps we are taking..."
Author: Labour Behind the Label
"Tell us where our school uniforms come from", 2 September 2019
Each year it is estimated that families spend around £1 billion on back to school equipment – about half of this on uniforms.
Despite calls from parents, unions and others, there is nothing to prevent schools from having exclusive contracts with uniform companies – this drives up the costs and increases the monopolies of companies like Trutex...
...Uniform monopolies also leave parents in an ethical bind, forced to buy from brands that lack transparency. Trutex’s website offers vague promises of a commitment to ethical production and assurances that its production sites are well managed and safe. Yet unlike many other brands who have published lists of where their factories are located, Trutex remain silent and provide absolutely no evidence that what they say is true...Until they release their supplier list we all have no way of checking their claims...
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