On September 1, 2016, the Responsible Sourcing Network, a project of the nonprofit As You Sow, launched the Yarn Ethically and Sustainably Sourced (YESS) initiative to eradicate slavery in cotton production. Verité has endorsed this initiative along with more than 35 other stakeholders including NGOs, apparel companies, and brands such as Adidas, Hudson’s Bay Company, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.Verité looks forward to exploring ways that the work of YESS can complement the work we do in the cotton supply chain and with the apparel sector globally. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, cotton is one of the goods most commonly produced using forced labor. YESS plans to shrink the market for cotton produced with forced labor and increase the use of ethical and sustainable cotton.
The initiative is based on OECD risk-based due diligence standards that help “enterprises identify, mitigate and account for how they address their actual and potential adverse impacts in their supply chains.” It will also help companies comply with emerging regulatory regimes such as U.S. Executive Order 13627 – Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking In Persons In Federal Contracts, the California Supply Chains Transparency Act, the UK Modern Slavery Act, among others.
The focal point for YESS’ interventions is the yarn spinning mills. YESS will work to establish training, assessment, and verification processes for yarn spinning mills. These mills sit in the middle of the supply chain where fairly produced cotton and cotton produced with forced labor are co-mingled. YESS will work at this vulnerable intersection in the supply chain alongside established initiatives in the cotton sector that focus on farmers or factory workers to create a harmonized approach across the entire sector.
“YESS offers a truly revolutionary approach that will allow apparel brands to identify and root out forced labor from the middle of our supply chains,” said Scot Leonard, Co-Founder and CEO of Indigenous, one of the YESS Working Group members, in a press release. “This will have a global impact once it is fully implemented. The time is now for the industry to join together and address these forced labor challenges.”
For more information and to add your organization to the Statement of Support, visit: The Sourcing Network’s YESS Webpage.