Therefore, our concerns over violation of human rights and negative environmental impacts, and the potential risks that these would pose to the adidas Group, require our close engagement with governments in different countries.
For example, in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), we engaged with the Cambodian government about the issue of prison labour. Together with other stakeholders, we signed a pledge calling for the Uzbek government to end the forced child labour happening every year in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan. In Indonesia we are in contact with the government to discuss the issue of foreign factory owners leaving the country and failing to fulfil their fiduciary duties during factory closures. And in Singapore, we were invited to offer our views on the role of business and human rights in a key workshop with ASEAN member states, which in turn led to our participation in an ASEAN business leaders round-table on human rights.
The adidas Group is aware of and concerned about the social and environmental conditions that exist in certain areas of the cotton industry today. These conditions, in the worst cases, include child labour, human exposure to pesticides and environmental pollution. Due to ongoing concerns regarding the continued use of government-backed forced child labour during the cotton-picking season in Uzbekistan, we joined an alliance of international investors, brands and non-governmental organisations that urged the Uzbek government to eradicate this practice and to fully adhere to core conventions of the International Labour Organization.
In 2011, the adidas Group along with several US and European companies representing a large number of brands and retailers signed a pledge calling for the Uzbek government to end the forced child labour happening every year in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan.
While further maturing the traceability of our material, we have reminded our suppliers that we expect them to ensure, to the best of their knowledge, that no cotton and cotton materials used originate from Uzbekistan.
Find out more about the pledge.
The adidas Group joined five other major brands in writing to the Cambodian government to express concern over the reported development of a prison rehabilitation scheme that permits garments to be manufactured by prison labour. In the communications with the government, the international buyers shared their concerns over the need to ensure the integrity of global supply chains and the potential risks that stem from unauthorised subcontracting in the apparel sector in Cambodia.
Staff from the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) Better Factories programme – which monitors labour conditions in adidas Group supplier factories in Cambodia – provided us with regular updates on the situation and reached out to the government and other UN agencies, to obtain their perspectives and feedback. The brands’ concerns were formally acknowledged by the Minister of Commerce and were addressed through an inter-ministerial committee, which was formed to examine and safeguard against undisclosed or illegal subcontracting arrangements in the apparel and footwear industry. The Minister of Commerce subsequently made public the government’s efforts in regulating contract supply chains.
In the following please find some examples of our engagement with governments and public authorities: