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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Canadian watchdog initiates Uyghur forced labour investigation on Levi’s

A Canadian watchdog has initiated an investigation into allegations that Levis Strauss Canada has supply chain ties with Chinese companies linked to Uyghur forced labour.

The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) started the investigation following a complaint filed by a coalition of 28 Canadian civil society organizations last June.

This coalition includes entities like Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada, the Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund, the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, and others.

The complainants relied on reports from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Sheffield Hallam University’s Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice.

These reports connected Levi Strauss to several Chinese supply chain partners alleging their involvement in state-sponsored labour transfers and the use of Xinjiang cotton.

The complaint noted that some of these relationships are not direct but involve intermediaries from countries like India and Vietnam,” CORE said in a press release.

“Considering the complex nature of garment supply chains and gaps in the information provided in the complaint, I have decided to launch an investigation, which will allow us to review facts independently,” Sheri Meyerhoffer, Head at CORE said.

Levi Strauss Canada denied the allegation and maintains their commitment to human and labour rights through its supplier code of conduct.

The denim jeans brand also challenged the accuracy of the evidence provided, specifically that the allegations are based on outdated and inaccurate data.

“Levi Strauss Canada did not make itself available for an initial assessment meeting nor did it provide information verifying its response to the allegations,” CORE added in the press release.

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