- Swedish clothing giant ends relationship with yarn producer Huafu Fashion
- Company says it does not work with any garment factories in Xinjiang and will no longer source cotton from region
Swedish clothing giant H&M said on Tuesday it was ending its relationship with a Chinese yarn producer over accusations of “forced labour” involving ethnic and religious minorities from China’s Xinjiang province.
The fashion retailer specified that it did not work with any garment factories in the region and that it would no longer source cotton from Xinjiang, which is China’s largest cotton growing area.
A report by think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), published in March, pointed to H&M as one of the beneficiaries of a forced labour transfer programme through their relationship with the dyed yarn producer Huafu’s factory in Anhui.
However, H&M said in a statement that it had never had a relationship with the factory in Anhui, nor Huafu’s operations in Xinjiang.
H&M did concede that it has an “indirect business relationship with one mill” in Shangyu in Zhejiang province, belonging to Huafu Fashion.
“While there are no indications for forced labour in the Shangyu mill, we have decided to, until we get more clarity around allegations of forced labour, phase out our indirect business relationship with Huafu Fashion Co, regardless of unit and province, within the next 12 months.”
The company also said it had conducted “an inquiry at all the garment manufacturing factories we work with in China aiming to ensure that they are not employing workers … through what is reported on as labour transfer programmes or employment schemes where forced labour is an increased risk.”