M&S cuts ties with Uyghur forced labour

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has committed to cut all ties with suppliers implicated in Uyghur forced labour and to ban any sourcing from the Uyghur region.

The multinational retailer has also signed the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour’s Call to Action, which is endorsed by more than 300 human rights and civil society organisations.

Currently one in 5 cotton products sold globally are likely tainted with Uyghur forced labour.

The coalition has demanded urgent commitments from other companies to cut links with the Uyghur region.

“We welcome the leadership shown by Marks & Spencer today to commit publicly to the Call to Action, providing assurance to its consumers that M&S products will not be linked to the abuses of Uyghurs,” said Jasmine O’Connor OBE, chief executive of Anti-Slavery International. “The Call to Action sets out a clear path of action for brands to follow in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and we call upon other major brands to follow suit with M&S and commit to the Call to Action urgently.”

According to the Coalition, while a number of brands and retailers, including major global fashion brands, have privately committed to its call to action, M&S is the first large global retailer to make its commitment public.

Muetter Iliqud, head of communications of the Norwegian Uyghur Committee, said: “The Uyghur community demands real action from brands to end their complicity in Uyghur forced labour, not empty declarations. Brands must urgently commit to the steps outlined in the Coalition’s Call to Action to ensure that they are not profiting from Uyghur forced labour."

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