An Excellent Initiative from Continental Clothing 10


Continental Clothing has become, to my knowledge, the first large scale mainstream clothing company to ensure that none of its cotton comes from Uzbekistan. Uzbek cotton is a state monopoly, relying on slave labour and the forced labour of hundreds of thousands of children working in appalling conditions for little, or often no, pay.

http://www.continentalclothing.com/?P=55&name=Uzbekistan

http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2005/08/iwpr_the_cost_o.html

http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2005/08/sanctions_again.html

Continental are to be congratulated on this initiative. We need to keep up the pressure on other manufacturers and retailers to follow suit.


10 thoughts on “An Excellent Initiative from Continental Clothing

  • Strategist

    Hear, hear. You can lech at the models entirely guilt-free!

    Seriously, it's really wonderful that people are thinking about supply chain issues for cotton now as well as for coffee etc. Wouldn't have been on the radar a few short years ago. Who says there is never progress! (Or at least one step forward before two steps back, courtesy of Primark et al)

  • stevie

    Right, this is something where we can all make a difference – everyone of us reading this blog.

    We need to 'select' one of our largest clothing manufacturers/retailers and target them with emails to get them to both acknowledge and take on the campaign led by continental clothing.

    Does anyone have a suggestion? Maybe start with Tesco the biggest of all, or is there a better plan? All it takes is a posting of a Head Office email address and a two line email briefly outlining a) continental's campaign; b) the enslaving of the Uzbekistan population; and c) the benefits to them as an organisation of taking a lead in the UK regarding this campaign.

    Suggestions welcome…

  • andy cyan

    Stevie,

    I fear they wont wish to directly associate with this campaign, being purely profit motivated. Show me wrong.

    It is very encouraging to see conscientious commerce like eg. "Innocent smoothies", fairtrade and organic labels, increasing in supermarkets and shops.

  • Saida

    hi, i'm new to this site but not to the situation in Uzbekistan, my homeland…just wanted to share some thoughts…

    tesco would be a good target as a large player. But do we know whether tesco uses any cotton of Uzbekistan origins?

    I agree tesco might wish to associate. Unless there's pressure from the tesco consumers, or a prospective gain from simply switching cotton source, tesco's management unlikely to be bothered, so we need to come up with 'motivating' points. First thought would be that adding 'child labor free' or 'organic' to the labels would improve tesco's image but might affect prices, and considering the cost driven consumer base tesco might think the whole issue wouldn't bring much to the business.

    Related to this subject, as far as I know tesco does not offer cotton recycling points at their outlets, this wouldn't require much resources so at least this could be done…

    Saida

  • Saida

    i think GAP is more likely to have better ethical standing – see their Red campaign…

  • andy cyan

    Hi Sadia' Didnt see you there. I reckon the best target for encouraging fair trade priorties is the money in your own, and other peoples pockets! We can help make fair trade desireable and nonfair' embarrassing by flaunting the issue to our peers. iirc Gap is a member of the bunch of corporate monsters responsible for unfair trade. Nescafe have a premium fair trade coffee line which they promote just enough to be a useful PR tool, yes you can drink fair trade nescafe, but you would still be supporting the company which lobbies against labour regulations and unions for its main business.

    -Just some thoughts.

  • Craig

    Saida,

    Tesco so far refuse to answer questions on the subject – as do M&S. But I gre this is where pressure needs to be applied.

  • Saida

    Cyan, there are always selfish motives behind the fairtrade or ecofriendly/no-child-labor PRs (even Vogue has an article about that!) to think otherwise would be naive. But at least we can require disclosure of the source of cotton on their labels – this is our right just as we have right to know what's in the food products etc. I think this could be a start point. I agree we should continue spreading the word among our friends/colleagues. Also, press could be our ally – another pressure point. It could be either self-engaged because of a demonstration or if we know the right journalists interested in the topic.

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