UK: Report finds many co's supplying uniforms to the public sector do not report on measures to tackle slavery in supply chains

A new report published by CORE and ICAR on 28 September 2018 finds that few companies supplying uniforms for UK public sector workers, including the armed forces and prison officers, report on what they are doing to tackle slavery in their supply chains - despite the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015. The report 'Who Made Our Uniforms?' looks at thirty companies that were awarded significantly-sized contracts between 2013 and 2016 and examines publicly available information regarding their human rights and ethical standards and their suppliers. A short survey was sent to all the companies analysed in the report requesting further information. The report also includes several recommendations for the UK Government to ensure its contractors are more transparent.

The report does not allege that any of the companies have labour and/or other human rights abuses in their supply chains.

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Report
28 September 2018

Who made our uniforms?

Author: ICAR, CORE Coalition

The report focuses on thirty companies that were awarded significantly-sized contracts [...] in the period 2013-2016 and examines the information on their websites about their human rights and ethical standards and their suppliers. We also note whether the companies have published a Slavery and Human Trafficking statement... The report does not allege that any of the named companies have labour and / or other human rights abuses in their supply chains...

Of the thirty companies studied in this report, only one referred to conducting due diligence... [T]here was little evidence of the efforts made to ensure the production facilities they purchase from had sufficiently high labour standards.

One issue that exacerbated this problem was the reporting framework in the U.K. The reporting requirement under the Modern Slavery Act leaves companies free to include the information they think appropriate... [M]any of the companies featured in the report fall below the revenue threshold and are not required to report... Based on this sample [...], the U.K. government should be doing more to ensure its contractors are more transparent and are meeting their responsibility to respect human rights... [T]here is significant scope for public authorities to improve the levels of transparency and responsibility in the companies from which they procure...

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Article
28 September 2018

Who made our uniforms? U.K. Public Sector Apparel Procurement: Ensuring Transparency and Respect for Human Rights

Author: CORE

new report published by CORE and ICAR reveals that that a third of companies that have supplied uniforms for UK public sector workers, including the armed forces and prison officers, have not reported on what they are doing to tackle slavery in their supply chains...

We also explored whether companies awarded large contracts between 2013-2016 by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Crown Commercial Services (the central government purchasing unit), and Transport for London (TfL) reveal where their goods are made. Twelve companies provide general information, but none have followed the example of consumer brands like H&M, Primark, and ASOS and published factory names and addresses.

TfL is the only one of the four authorities to have published its own modern slavery statement. In 2016, TfL announced a five-year partnership deal with The Fairtrade Foundation to ethically source cotton for staff uniforms...

Yet despite the UK government’s commitment to tackling modern slavery, neither the MoD nor the MoJ make any reference to responsible procurement on their websites...

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