US performance apparel maker Badger Sport has dropped the Chinese supplier that was last month alleged to be using forced labour in Xinjiang’s internment camps.
In December, Badger Sport said it had suspended operations with Hetian Taida Apparel in northwestern China following an investigation by the Associated Press into the Hotan Vocational Education and Training Center, where around 1m Muslims are detained, some of whom are forced to work in manufacturing and food production.
Badger Sport, a US company that provides sports apparel to wholesalers and sports teams across the country, in response said it had suspended operations with the facility, operated by one of its third-party suppliers.
Since then, the firm has issued a second statement confirming it the completion of a “multi-faceted” investigation, which included internal reviews and an investigation conducted by outside legal counsel working with a global forensic accounting firm.
“With respect to the current Hetian Taida facility in the Aidelaisi Industry Zone, we found those operations to be consistent with our global sourcing policy and the certification by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), an independent, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world. However, historical documentation provided by Hetian Taida regarding their prior facility was insufficient to conclude with certainty that it had met Badger’s global sourcing policy.
“Therefore, out of an abundance of caution and to eliminate any concerns about our supply chain given the controversy around doing business in northwestern China, we will no longer source any product from Hetian Taida or this region of China. Furthermore, we will not ship any product sourced from Hetian Taida currently in our possession. Given this supplier only accounted for approximately 1% of our total annual sales, we do not expect any interruption in our service levels.
“We take extremely seriously any allegations of a supplier not complying with our Global Sourcing Policy. We strive to adhere to the highest manufacturing standards, as we have done for the past 47 years without issue. We are committed to upholding our mission of ‘Quality for All’ which has helped Badger become the trusted supplier to team dealers, decorators and apparel wholesalers throughout the US.”
China was one of seven countries named earlier this year in the US Department of Labour’s ‘2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour’ report for using forced labour in garment production.
And in October, PVH Corp, Nike, Ralph Lauren and VF Corp were among 123 companies that signed a commitment to prevent forced and unfair labour practices in global apparel, footwear and travel goods supply chains.