BCI ditches Chinese partner with prison labour links

Posted byBrett Mathews
27th November 2019

LONDON – An investigation by Apparel Insider has found that the world’s largest and fastest growing cotton standard, the Better Cotton Initiative, for several years used a key Chinese Implementing Partner which is part of an entity widely described as a ‘quasi-military organisation’ with deeply ingrained links to forced and prison labour. Meanwhile, Huafa Fashion, a Chinese textile supplier with strong links to forced labour and which has recently been blacklisted by brands such as H&M, Adidas and Esprit, remains on the BCI Council – a position it will in theory hold until 2022.

At present, the issue of forced labour is addressed by BCI in Principle 6 Criteon 6.3.1 which states: “All forms of forced or compulsory, included bonded or trafficked labour, are prohibited.”

Our investigation included desk-based research and interviews with human rights organisations with expertise on the current Xinjiang situation, where ongoing re-education programmes of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic and religious minorities have been described by some as, “a crime against humanity.”