• Sweden's news in English
 

Activists urge H&M to quit Uzbek cotton

Published: 16 Dec 2012 16:06 GMT+01:00

H&M, the world's second-largest fashion retailer, is one of more than 100 companies that have signed a global pledge in the past year promising "not knowingly" to use Uzbek cotton in their clothes, but campaigners said they want it to do more.

"We want to know what's behind that pledge, what steps have companies taken to actually ensure that Uzbek cotton isn't in their supply chain," said Joanna Ewart-James, program coordinator at Anti-Slavery International, a British rights group.

"The problem is this practice of forced labour is happening in cotton fields that are many steps removed from the final garment, so it's quite difficult to knowingly know what's going on in your supply chain."

"So you've got to put in vendor agreements that say 'Uzbek cotton cannot be used in our products', and some kind of system for actually saying where the cotton comes from."

Ewart-James said that during discussions over the past two months, H&M had declined her group's request to put the ban on Uzbek cotton into written contracts.

"That is what we were asking them to do, which they weren't willing to do," she told AFP.

H&M insisted, however, that its commitments on cotton had been communicated to all its suppliers.

"Every company with cotton in its products has a clear responsibility to find ways to avoid cotton from Uzbekistan in their supply chain," it said in a statement.

"The challenge is to trace the cotton back to its source. For H&M, traceability is therefore the main focus as it tells us exactly where the cotton comes from."

"This is why we have set the target that all cotton in our products shall come from more sustainable, fully traceable, sources by 2020 at the latest."

Anti-Slavery International has called on a string of British high-street chains to stop using Uzbek cotton, too, with Spanish giant Zara - whose parent company, Inditex, is the world's largest clothes retailer - being one of the latest to sign up to the global pledge.

Uzbekistan has long been accused of using forced labour in its cotton-growing industry, which is one of the world's biggest.

In 2008, the country banned child labour in its cotton fields after coming under pressure from importers in the United States and the European Union.

But activists say forced labour, including children, has continued in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek government denies this, saying last year that such accusations were "mendacious insinuations and fabrications".

AFP/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

09:56 December 17, 2012 by Greysuede
Would it be right if those "english" say that the cotton must be bought in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan or somewhere in Africa?
Today's headlines
Fashion giant H&M to grow as profits soar
H&M's profits are growing. Photo: TT

Fashion giant H&M to grow as profits soar

Swedish fashion giant H&M has announced that its profits for 2014 rose by almost a fifth and pledged to speed up its global expansion. READ  

Swedish drug users ‘need’ syringe exchanges
A needle exchange centre in Malmö. Photo: TT

Swedish drug users ‘need’ syringe exchanges

Needle and syringe exchange programmes should be introduced across the country, to reduce the growing risk of hepatitis C, Sweden’s Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) writes in a new report. READ  

The Local List
Ten ways talking in English baffles Swedes
A Viking - sometimes pronounced 'Wiking', in Sweden. Photo: Shutterstock

Ten ways talking in English baffles Swedes

While Swedes are among the world's best English speakers, there are a few common - and often charming - mistakes The Local's team has spotted while chatting to Swedes in their second language (because yes, of course, it is still better than our Swedish). READ  

'We must never forget the Holocaust'
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at the Stockholm Synagogue commemorative ceremony on Tuesday. Photo: TT

'We must never forget the Holocaust'

Sweden marked the sombre 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp on Tuesday at several locations, with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven noting that hate is still a sore reality in Sweden. READ  

Stieg Larsson sequel set for 35 country release
Rooney Mara, star of the English-language film versions of the series. Photo: TT

Stieg Larsson sequel set for 35 country release

A sequel to the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson's best-selling Millennium crime trilogy will go on sale in at least 35 countries from August, the book's publishers have announced. READ  

Top ice stars skate into Stockholm's Globe
Spain's Javier Fernandez is hoping to defend his title. Photo: TT

Top ice stars skate into Stockholm's Globe

Some of the world’s top figure skaters are sliding into Sweden’s capital to take place in the European figure skating championships which get underway in Stockholm's Ericsson Globe on Wednesday. READ  

Sweden heading for coldest weekend of 2015
Snowy weather in Stockholm last week. Photo: TT

Sweden heading for coldest weekend of 2015

It's only Tuesday, but meteorologists are already warning that the weekend could the coldest this year, with temperatures dipping below -10C in the south of the country. READ  

Sweden's public radio blocked by 'Nazi' tape
The front door to the offices of P4 Dalarna on Tuesday morning. Photo: Johannes Rosendahl

Sweden's public radio blocked by 'Nazi' tape

Staff at P4 Dalarna radio, which is part of Sweden's national public radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio, discovered tape put up by neo-Nazis blocking the entrance to their office's main entrance on Tuesday morning. READ  

Islamism 'threat' greater than Nazism: SD leader
Acting Sweden Democrat leader Mattias Karlsson. Photo: TT

Islamism 'threat' greater than Nazism: SD leader

Acting Sweden Democrat leader Mattias Karlsson has said Islamism is "a greater threat than Nazism", sparking a strong response from Jewish and Muslim communities as the world marks 70 years since the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. READ  

Opinion
'Sweden's healthcare is an embarrassment'
A Swedish hospital emergency room. Photo: TT

'Sweden's healthcare is an embarrassment'

For this week's debate article, Johan Hjertqvist, president of Health Consumer Powerhouse, an organization which compares global healthcare systems, reacts to a new report which reveals that waiting times in Sweden's hospitals are among the worst in Europe. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: January snow snaps
Gallery
Property of the week: Skanör, Vellinge
National
Why Sweden's Left party wants a European 'Red Spring'
Lifestyle
'Life as a Swedish candy-maker is sweet'
Blog updates

26 January

The mysterious -s, part 1 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! How is your Swedish coming along? A while ago I read on a forum on The..." READ »

 

23 January

Editor’s blog, January 23rd (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday from The Local’s team in Stockholm. We can’t wait for the weekend, when we’re planning..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's hottest new fashion designers for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who travels on Stockholm's different subway lines?
Lifestyle
Why this Swedish baby is a US hit
Lifestyle
'Limousine' snowplough for sale
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Gallery
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Society
Meet the 'beggars' buttoning up immigration critics
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Features
Learn Sweden's bizarre dating lingo
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Gallery
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Society
Why Sweden's viral 'genital' video is getting an English remake
National
Why does Sweden's Luleå have a giant ice beaver?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who are Sweden's richest one percent?
Business & Money
How a classic Swedish snack got a revamp for 'busy' Stockholmers
Lifestyle
The Local's top Swedish acts for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Årets Bild photography prize winners
Business & Money
'I met my Swedish man in Tokyo's first Ikea store'
Gallery
Property of the week: A cozy apartment in Bromma, Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: January 17th - 18th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish gravad lax
Lifestyle
Four hot Swedish home design trends
National
How The Local's video on a strange Swedish sound went viral
Gallery
People-watching: January 14th
National
The Local's guide to Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
Swedish Muslims react to new Charlie Hebdo magazine
National
The Local talks to Sweden's Home Affairs Minister about Paris attacks
Business & Money
Will Spotify launch on stock market after users rocket?
Accelerated
Texans and Swedes to play ice instruments
Gallery
Property of the week: An 18th century mansion in Stockholm
Business & Money
'Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden'
National
Are Sweden's royals moving to London?
National
How Sweden's Charlie Hebdo rally broke a winter protest record
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's 'no pants' subway day 2015
Gallery
People-watching: January 10th - 11th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Stockholm holds Charlie Hebdo rally
National
Have you seen Sweden's viral children's 'genital' song?
Sponsored Article
Everything you need to know about moving to Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to jump-start your career in southern Sweden
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,113
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options