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Newsnight report leads to cotton ban

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Jan 08, 06:15 PM

cotton203x100.jpgTesco has announced it is banning "all cotton sourced from Uzbekistan for its clothing range, homeware and corporate purchases" after a Newsnight investigation exposed the use of child labour.

The original report by Simon Ostrovsky revealed how many of the UK's top High Street stores were selling clothes made with Uzbek cotton - which had been harvested by forced child labour.

Below is today's statement by Tesco - along with how Asda, Arcadia Group (Burtons and Top Man), and Matalan reacted to Tesco's decision:

"As a founder member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, Tesco seeks to put ethical trading at the very heart of its operations.

Following ongoing discussions with campaign groups on the subject of cotton production and the use of child labour in this part of the supply chain, we feel the need to re-iterate Tesco’s deep concern at the use of child labour.

We realise that this is a complex issue with many causes which we acknowledge are hard to address individually.

However, the use of organised and forced child labour is completely unacceptable and leads us to conclude that whilst these practices persist in Uzbekistan, we cannot support the use of cotton from Uzbekistan in our clothing.

To this end, we now require our suppliers to identify the source of raw cotton used in all Tesco clothing – and we will randomly audit records to ensure our requirements are being met."

"We were very interested to hear the commitments being made by Tesco today, but we're even keener to understand how they plan to meet those commitments.

At ASDA we are determined to ensure that fabric used by George suppliers comes from ethical and traceable sources.

However we make no bones about the fact that the international supply chain for cotton is extremely complicated. Full traceability of where raw cotton (used in yarn, cotton fabrics or garments) originates from is very difficult to achieve.

So at this time we do not believe a boycott of cotton from Uzbekistan is achievable, but more importantly we are not convinced it will improve the lives of those who work in the industry.

We will continue to work with the Government and our suppliers to discuss what further pressure we can apply to bring about an improvement in the conditions of people working in the cotton industry in Uzbekistan."

Arcadia Group (Burtons and Top Man)
"Further to the BBC Newsnight programme, we have contacted all of our suppliers and
informed them of your findings.

We have re-iterated to them our code of conduct which can be found on our group web-site

We have requested that our suppliers check on their raw cotton sources, and nothing
untoward has been reported to us by them, nor have we found anything untoward
ourselves at this time."

“Matalan is taking the issue seriously and is in consultation with its suppliers to understand the extent of the issue. Appropriate action will be taken after the inquiry, which will be finalised in the coming weeks.”

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:17 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Adrienne wrote:

I may be wrong of coure, but this appears to me to be political not ethical. The people it will hurt the most are the Uzbeks if the points below are sound, which is basicaly to say that in the final analysis, the more 'we' undermine the sort of system which used to run quite well over there, all we effectively do is make it much easier to pull down what regulations we still have left here and hasten the day that things get worse for us all.

It's no surprise that Tesco has led the way here. If they could find a way to hurt Putin I bet they'd do that too ;-)

So before you shout 'hurrah' for Newsnight, just think what this might really be encouraging (and discouraging).

  • 2.
  • At 12:33 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Adrienne wrote:

M&S too? You couldn't make it up (well, you could, but you'd probably get called nasty names to deter you if you aren't a member of a minority group - see below). Mind you if you try to boycott Israeli academic institutions to send a message of disapproval, look what happens:,,2099028,00.html

'Dodgy' friends of the 'evil-dooers' get read the RRA, and where did that originate:

This is clearly a class (in the logical sense of the term) war, albeit one which all too few see through, and there is a reason for that, they are punished for doing so. One has to look at the group IQ differentials to see who the true beneficiaries are. Or just look at the dodgy donors news recently.

When is a minority a cloaked minority? When it's a small enclave which has at most maybe 3000 people in any one year age band. The laws of probability and geography here say that such a small number are more likely to know of one another than are much larger groups, and being an enclave, are more likely to look out for each other just as expatriates once did in former colonies (usually, without even knowing it). Suggest to them that they do this and of course they'll deny it, as they don't see it. Protection by the RRA is, paradoxically, how this is created and sustained, and it's this which creates resentment, as what's being stomped on is scientific evidence (not that most in the media study any science/biology).

"And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too."

Andrew Marr (1999),,208395,0.html

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