A new effort from Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN) to verify spinning mills as being slave-free aims to drive the market away from cotton harvested with forced labor. Currently in the early planning stages, the Spinner Verification initiative will ensure that brands’ and retailers’ policies against forced labor in cotton harvesting are being adhered to by yarn spinners and textile mills.
RSN will be working with MADE-BY to undertake a feasibility study to benchmark Spinner Verification against other current initiatives interacting with yarn spinners and textile mills to determine the most appropriate way to harmonize the various efforts. The results of the study are expected to be completed by Q2, 2015. MADE-BY is an award-winning European NGO with in-depth experience and a thorough understanding of the apparel and textile manufacturing industries.
Recently, RSN’s Company Pledge Against Child and Adult Forced Labor in Uzbek Cotton expanded to include Tesco and Fast Retailing (UNIQLO), the world’s second and third-largest retailers, bringing the total list of signatories to 163. Signatories to the Cotton Pledge promise to actively avoid cotton sourced from Uzbekistan, where the government uses forced labor to meet mandatory production quotas. Preliminary statistics of human rights abuses during the 2014 Uzbek cotton harvest are now posted.
In addition, RSN’s Cotton Program will soon release an addendum to the Cotton Sourcing Snapshot, which was published in early 2014. The addendum will feature updated ratings of the 17 lowest-scoring companies reflecting actions they are now taking to avoid Uzbek cotton picked with forced labor.