Ukraine, Serbia & Hungary: Report by Clean Clothes Campaign details poverty wages & poor working conditions in garment factories producing for global brands; incl. co responses

The report "Europe's Sweatshops" published by Clean Clothes Campaign documents poverty wages and poor working conditions in the garment and shoe industry throughout Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The report is presented together with new country research into the situation of workers in Ukraine, Serbia and Hungary. The factories featured in the report produce for many global brands, upon whom Clean Clothes Campaign is calling to start paying a living wage and to work with suppliers to improve working conditions.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the 53 brands named as sourcing from the countries featured in the report to comment, of which 19 responded: Arcadia, Armani, Burberry, Decathlon, Gucci, H&M, Marks&Spencer, Peter Hahn, PVH, s.Oliver, Schoeffel, Tesco, Versace, Esprit, Asos, Adidas, Hugo Boss, Inditex, C&A.

The following companies did not respond to our invitation to comment: Aster Textile, Bäumler, Benetton, Calzedonia, Dolce&Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Falc, Falcotto, Falke, Fori Textile, Geox, Golden Lady Company, Kirsten, Liz Claiborne, LVMH, Mango, Mart Visser, Max Mara Fashion Group, Mexx, Naturino, Next, Oui Gruppe, Peek&Cloppenburg, Pompea, Prada, Saint James, Schiesser, Stella McCartney, Steps, Strenesse, Triumph, Vero Moda, Wagner, Walbusch. 

All responses/non-responses are available below.

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Company response
19 December 2017

Response by s.Oliver

Author: s.Oliver

...s.Oliver takes the implementation of appropriate social standards at supplier factories very seriously. Before starting a business relationship, we assess through social audits if the supplier fulfills our defined s.Oliver principles and guidelines. If the initial audit shows that the standards at the factory comply with our requirements, the supplier will then be added to our supplier base and be monitored on a regular basis.

The complex structure of garment supply chains also induce certain social challenges, like e.g. the enforcement of a living wage. To idenitify and successfully implement solutions to these challenges, cooperation between the various global stakeholders [...] is key.

This is one of the reasons why, in 2015, s.Oliver joined the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. One of the overall goals of the Partnership is the improvement of social working conditions in the global textile production, with the enforcement of living wages being one of the focal topics.

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Company response
19 December 2017

Response by Schoeffel

Author: Schoeffel

We devoted us to fight for better working conditions, joining the FWF as a member in 2011. We put a lot of effort in mapping the risks and anticipating on them. Thus we
work closely together with the factories we source from and with most of them and whenever possible we have long-term relationships...To ensure fair working conditions onsite we exclusively cooperate with a Serbian production consultant and technician...We want to make clear that the FWF standards apply for every single partner we work with, in Asia and in Europe, and it’s our aim to make sure that workers’ rights are fully respected – at all our cooperating production sites. Reaching out for a securing payment of living wage is an assignment, too. As it is our approach to handle issues together with the factory management to realize improvements we get in contact whenever needed. And this is exactly what we did and what we do in Serbia, too.

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Company response
19 December 2017

Response by Tesco

Author: Tesco

...Tesco is mentioned once in the Clean Clothes Campaign report ‘Made in Europe’ in a list of brands or retailers believed to be sourcing from Serbia (and there are no allegations made against Tesco or its suppliers).Tesco does not source any clothing from Serbia and has not for many years. The Clean Clothes Campaign notes that they compiled their list of brands and retailers based on media articles, supplier lists, website or other local sources. We believe it is likely that a clothing supplier to other brands may have listed Tesco incorrectly as customer on their website and, if we can identify who, we will ask this business to remove the reference to Tesco...

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Company response
19 December 2017

Response by Versace

Author: Versace

...Gianni Versace Spa considers the respect of human rights as critical and requires the same commitment to its supply chain. In order to maintain visibility and transparency, the Company is continuously in the process of carrying out social and environmental audits on suppliers based on the leading standards of the sector, including evaluation of human rights, fair wages, and working conditions. Versace is committed to ongoing improvement of our supply chain, with several initiatives currently in process. Versace looks forward to keeping our partners and stakeholders updated...

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Company non-response
19 December 2017

Saint James did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Schiesser did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Stella McCartney did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Steps did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Strenesse did not respond

Company non-response
19 December 2017

Triumph did not respond