KnowTheChain has released a case study that examines how 10 brands including adidas, Hugo Boss, and Puma, address forced labor risks across their leather supply chains. KnowTheChain’s first apparel and footwear benchmark, released in 2016, found a significant lack of transparency and that limited actions are being taken to address forced labor risks beyond first-tier suppliers, particularly in leather. This case study dives deeper into five footwear companies and five luxury clothing brands to find out how they are addressing forced labor risks.
KnowTheChain found that in countries with known risks where suppliers produce hides, leather, and manufacture leather goods, most companies are doing very little to address forced labor beyond auditing first-tier suppliers. Companies are not targeting their efforts in sourcing countries where the risk is highest, despite efforts by some to be more transparent in addressing forced labor generally by extending due diligence beyond first-tier suppliers. Most encouragingly, adidas has trained tanneries in Taiwan and China on forced labor indicators and developed multi-stakeholder partnerships to address risks associated in leather sourcing countries such as Brazil and Paraguay.
To meaningfully address the risk of forced labor in their leather supply chains, KnowTheChain advises companies to target their efforts in supply chain tiers and countries with the greatest risks. “Leather production can pose significant exploitation and health risks to workers,” said Kilian Moote, KnowTheChain Project Director. “By focusing their efforts on countries with the highest risks and at every tier of their supply chain, companies have an opportunity to ensure the leather products they sell are created under safe and dignified working conditions.”
A project of Humanity United and maintained in partnership with the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), Sustainalytics, and Verité, KnowTheChain released benchmarks for the information and communications technology sector, the food and beverage sector, and the apparel and footwear sector in 2016. Verité’s role in this collaboration is to provide advice and resources for companies to improve their performance in the areas where Sustainalytics and BHRRC’s research has identified as lacking.
For more information, please contact Philip Hunter.