The India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) has published a new report today on forced labour and the Sumangali scheme in Southern India. Referring to several fashion retailers, the report states that "approximately 30% of the south Indian spinning mills' yarn is used in the export factories in Tamil Nadu, who produce for brands like C&A, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Primark, Walmart, Zara and a lot of other brands".
C&A wishes to emphasize that it is committed to contributing to the improvement of workers’ rights in Southern India. In this regard, forced labour in general and the Sumungali scheme in particular is unacceptable and is a reason for termination of a business relationship with a supplier should we find that the scheme is exists in one of our suppliers’ operations.
C&A appreciates that Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has shared the draft report entitled “Doing Dutch” upfront and engaged us regarding our position and perspective on a variety of issues relating to Bangalore. We value CCCs input and insight and view it as a support and complement to our ongoing efforts towards the improvement of worker’s rights in our sourcing countries.
C&A has been in multiple conversations with CCC and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) regarding this topic and we have provided a formal response to the report in May 2016.
Due to an incomplete representation of our formal response to the Clean Clothes Campaign back then in the final Dutch and English report versions, we decided to attach our original response to the Clean Clothes Campaign. We hope this can provide a higher degree of clarity around the efforts that C&A is taking to improve the working conditions in the garment sector.
In the recent Greenpeace Detox Catwalk report, C&A has received an ‘Evolution Mode’ rating, ranking us fourth out of 19 brands that were assessed. The third edition of the Detox Catwalk focusses on implementation, with brands being evaluated on their preparation and their ability to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2020.
C&A is committed to being a force for good in the fashion industry and we take our role very seriously. Part of our company strategy and true commitment to our customers and our associates is ensuring a transparent supply chain. As such we will be publishing a detailed overview of all of our PUs on our corporate website by the end of May. This is just the first step of a robust strategy that aims to increase the degree of transparency in our supply chain which will enable the customer to be able to trace back their garment to the production unit.
C&A Europe learned of the results of the current Cividep India study “Needs Assessment for Childcare Facilities in Bangalore’s Garment Industry” in which a total of three production units of C&A suppliers were examined.