JACK & JONES opposes any use of forced labour
A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute links JACK & JONES and 82 other fashion brands to possible forced labour.
“In BESTSELLER and JACK & JONES we strongly dissociate ourselves from any use of forced labour and we have clearly defined policies in this area”, says BESTSELLER’s Communication Manager, Line Ernlund. “We are following the general situation in Xinjiang closely and we are taking the Australian report very seriously. The report is new to us and we are now in a dialogue with our supplier to gain more insight and clarification on the report.”
The report mentions that JACK & JONES has a cooperation with the Chinese suppliers YOUNGOR and ESQUEL. JACK & JONES and BESTSELLER do not have a cooperation with YOUNGOR. However, JACK & JONES does have a strong and close cooperation with ESQUEL, which is one of the largest textile suppliers in the world and who are known for their focus on sustainability and strong business ethics.
The current issues
The challenges in the Xinjiang area is of a systemic character. The Chinese government is accused of forcing the ethnic minority group of Uighurs to learn Chinese, receive ideological training and be under constant surveillance in ‘re-education camps’. The allegations in the report are about how the recruitment of Uighur workers in textile factories could potentially be linked to the government instigated training programmes.
The supplier ESQUEL has established presence in Xinjiang for over 25 years through cotton growing, ginning and spinning operations where they have focused on providing quality employment for people of different ethnicities. Uighurs are therefore also an integral part of the workforce in Esquel Xinjiang operations - and of course have equal rights.
What are JACK & JONES and BESTSELLER doing about it?
BESTSELLER is committed to upholding human rights and international labour right standards and we are continuously engaging with our supply chain on the topic. To address the allegations we are in close dialogue with ESQUEL to ensure that all employees, including ethnic minorities, are employed under fair working conditions with no use of forced labour or subject to any form of discrimination.
March 3, ESQUEL has confirmed to us that they do not use any form of forced labour and that they have not recruited workers from so called training camps.
Currently, Esquel employs about 380 Uighurs out of 1,270 employees in their three Xinjiang spinning mills, and the ratio of Uighurs in the workforce has been stable for at least the past five years. ,The Uighur employee contracts and working conditions are the same as the other employees and the wages are at par with other employees with similar skills and seniority levels.
BESTSELLER’s supply chain reaches into the Xinjiang province as it is supplying over 20% of the world’s cotton production. As a company we see ourselves as a part of the solution and we acknowledge that we, with our presence in our sourcing destinations, have a responsibility. We are thankful for the additional transparency that reports such as these bring to the situation in Xinjiang and will continuously work on improving our due-diligence processes in our supply chain.
“We have no intention of pulling out of Xinjiang and will continue to further develop our partnership with Esquel. It is a partner we are very proud of”, says Sustainability Manager Dorte Rye Olsen and continues: “Together with our supply chain partners and along with industry initiatives we must be present to be able promote positive change."