Retail Industry Against Unethical Sourcing of Cotton

Retail Industry Against Unethical Sourcing of Cotton

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Retail Industry Against Unethical Sourcing of Cotton
Friday, November 14, 2014 - 3:40pm

CONTENT: Article

Despite efforts to ban Uzbekistan child labor in the cotton industry, the mandatory forced labor law has now led 4 million adults into cotton harvest according to a recent article, Uzbekistan ban on child labor forces more adults into the workplace, by Annie Kelly from The Guardian. In 2008 retailers and fashion brands protested against the Uzbekistan forced labor law in the cotton industry, leading the Uzbekistan government to put a ban on child labor, but now Uzbekistan professionals have been forced to fill these gaps:

Yet, in its annual assessment of the Uzbek cotton harvest, the coalition reported that the government has imposed new quotas on schools, hospitals and local administrations, requiring them to send up to 60% of their adult staff into the fields.”

A coalition of labor rights groups have reported that reducing the number of children in the cotton fields does not solve the problem to their unethical labor system, and has only increased “harassment, extortion and deaths” of adults. Kelly reports that the Uzbekistan cotton industry fuels their economy,

Uzbekistan is the fifth largest cotton producer in the world. This year, its harvest generated 3.3m tons of cotton, mainly for export.”

The harvest may generate revenue for the country, but it is putting the adults at a disadvantage from earning their regular salary by being taken out of their professional jobs to start picking the cotton fields. Retailers involved in cotton exports can do their due diligence in ethical sourcing to reduce the pressure for mass exports of cotton from Uzbekistan. Already 163 companies, including Disney and Ikea, have signed a pledge to have an ethical supply chain free of forced labor regarding Uzbekistan cotton. Source Intelligence, a supply chain transparency company, traces materials to ensure legal and ethical sourcing for retailers and SI CertifyTM suppliers and business partners. For a preview on tracing, verifying, and certifying products within your supply chain, join Source Intelligence’s upcoming Smelter Verification Webinar on Nov. 18 10 am PST.