Discount fashion chain Primark has published an online map of its suppliers around the world in an effort to show that their supply chain is free from slave labor.
Primark has 350 stores across Britain, Europe, and the United States, and the new online map reveals the locations of over 600 suppliers’ factories in over 30 countries, as well as data on the number and gender of workers.
Primark’s head of ethical trade, Katharine Stewart, emphasized that the company wants to “challenge the wrongly held perception that price and ethics are entwined.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:
“We are opening up about our suppliers to boost transparency and visibility in our supply chain,” Primark’s head of ethical trade, Katharine Stewart, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Primark had previously withheld the factory breakdown, saying it gave the high-street chain a commercial edge.
But the company said it had decided to divulge the details as most of its suppliers were also contracted by rival companies, many of which had already made the details public.
Following accusations it used “sweatshops” and “modern-day slaves” to produce clothes sold for just a few pounds, Primark says it has ramped up efforts to tackle the risk of forced labour, with worker hotlines and a rise in audits.
The retailer keeps down costs by spending very little on advertising and buying materials in bulk, Stewart said.
Several other top clothing companies such as Adidas, H&M, and ASOS have publicly shared information about their supply chains amid consumer pressure to prove that their products are free from modern slavery. Supply chains are often extremely complex as brands source materials from various suppliers and workers across several countries help to produce the finished products.
Peter McAllister of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), a global alliance of trade unions, firms and charities promoting worker rights, praised Primark’s move. “It is one more step in meeting consumer expectations and we hope that other brands and retailers will follow this example,” he said.
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