Update from Hugo Boss
In April 2020 the Clean Clothes Campaign and Brot für die Welt published a report entitled Exploitation Made In Europe, which questions the compliance with human rights at garment factories in four countries. The report identified German brands as major buyers and argued that they had not fully met their responsibility to perform human rights due diligence and to provide remedies for the issues identified. HUGO BOSS AG decided to appoint Auret van Heerden to conduct an independent review of the allegations contained in the report. Mr. van Heerden looked specifically at the two companies mentioned in the report that HUGO BOSS has a business relation with, namely Krateks in Croatia and Pirin Tex in Bulgaria.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Mr. van Heerden was not able to travel to the sites, but he and his colleagues conducted online interviews with employees and the management of both factories and inspected wage, hour and other records. The review concluded that the prominent allegations of the report relating to forced labor, violations of freedom of association, and a failure to conduct due diligence and provide remedies were not proven at the present time. HUGO BOSS had already audited the factories in question in a regular audit cycle in the past. Findings detected during audits have been monitored, recorded in corrective action plans and reviewed in the next audit as a rule.
In addition, the workers at those factories have remedies available. In fact, there are various channels through which workers could seek relief in the case of labor law or code of conduct violations. Those include the internal grievance procedure, the works council, trade union, the labor inspectorate and labor tribunals. In the last instance workers at these facilities could also access the complaints mechanism of HUGO BOSS or the complaints procedure of the Fair Labor Association. At the Krateks company workers and the trade union are also represented on the Supervisory Board. These options had not been used however. HUGO BOSS AG maintains a watching brief on the situation and is always ready to act if local remedies break down.