International shoe brands come under child labour spotlight
A new report from Stop Child Labour (SCL) raises questions about big brand shoe labels and their track records in addressing the issue of child labour in their supply chains.
SCL says that while than more than half of the shoe companies it documents have taken significant steps to fight child labour - such as well known brands Adidas, Bata, Dr Martens and Clarks - “laggards” remain.
SCL approached companies asking them about their policy and practices to combat child labour and labour rights abuses in their full supply chain. They also assessed transparency towards consumers and SCL’s researchers. Based on 15 criteria, the final judgement was good, moderate or poor. It is the second time SCL has conducted the study.
The five brands that have not stood up to SCL scrutiny and which received a total score of ‘poor’ were: Gabor, Lotto Sports, Marks & Spencer, Schoenenreus (‘ShoeGiant’) and Wolky.
SCL says that no or too limited information was provided by Gabor, Lotto Sports and Wolky to assess their practices or improvements. It maintains that?Dutch retailer Schoenenreus made little progress, however they have promised to improve their CSR policy and the information about it on their website. Marks & Spencer was mentioned a year ago in relation to the possible use of child labour by sub-contractors of suppliers in India. SCL says that while the company has investigated the claim, it has not responded to its request to give an update about any improvements.
A spokesperson for Marks & Spencer told Ethical Performance: “Child labour is totally unacceptable to Marks & Spencer in any form and in any part of the supply chain – we have very strict policies to prevent it occurring and any breach will simply not be tolerated. We have never been presented with any credible evidence by HIVOS and conducted our own investigations following its report late last year. No evidence of child labour was found.”
The SCL report can be accessed here.
Picture credit: © Shae Cardenas | Dreamstime Stock Photos