H&M the Swedish fashion giant has confirmed it is severing ties with a Chinese supplier of its yarns over accusations of forced labour.
The accusations are linked to the labour camps allegedly set up in Xinjiang province in China and hold native Uighurs in ‘re-education camps’.
An Australian research institute in March 2020 naming more than 82 companies around the world as either direct or indirect beneficiaries of forced labour practices put on Uighurs.
H&M released a statement saying it was halting transactions with a Chinese yarn producer that owns the factory where the Uighurs are allegedly being forced to work. They have also stated they will no longer procure cotton from the Xinjiang region. They have also added they would respond immediately is any of its more than 1,700 production sites around the world are being linked to forced labour.
A statement of investigation was released by H&M on the 26th July 2019 before the decision was finally made this week. This can be found here
More information can be found here
Creed’s opinion: (This is an observation of the report and as such represents bias and should not be misconstrued as fact or part of the article)
H&M were well aware of the issues surrounding this and other sites in Xinjiang. As is typical though money talks and they were prepared to continue the supply chain of the yarn until it became untenable to keep the situation going. The issue is not the treatment of the Uighurs, the issue is that the situation became public and that is what would hurt the brand. The investigation in 2019 clearly took more than one year to complete when in reality a simple trip to the site itself and conversations with staff would have taken maybe a few days.