More than 80% of China’s cotton is grown in the Uyghur Region, representing almost 20% of global production. 

More than 80% of China’s cotton is grown in the Uyghur Region, representing almost 20% of global production. 

Marks & Spencer is among the first brands to formally sign the Call to Action on human rights abuses – "Brand Commitment to Exit the Uyghur Region" – as it looks to drive meaningful change at scale in the Xinjiang region.

The retailer said the move is in line with its long-term focus ensuring its supply chains are sustainable and ethical, workers are treated fairly and human rights respected.

More than 80% of China's cotton is grown in the Uyghur Region, representing almost 20% of global production. 

Last month a report from the Center of Global Policy revealed upward of half a million people were forced to pick cotton through the government's coercive labour training and transfer scheme.

The Call to Action by a coalition of civil society and trade unions outlines a series of asks of businesses in order to ensure that their supply chains are not linked to these human rights abuses. It has been backed by the Ethical Trade Initiative.

100% of the cotton used for M&S Clothing is sustainably sourced, the majority from the Better Cotton Initiative. M&S says it does not work with any supplier nor does it source from Xinjiang. But it has signed the Call to Action to help play its part in driving meaningful change at scale.

Richard Price, M&S Clothing & Home MD said: "At M&S, sourcing ethically and sustainably is core to how we do business and the promise we make to our customers, that's why we do not source cotton from Xinjiang. 100% of the cotton in our clothing is more sustainably sourced - from the Better Cotton Initiative material used in our Good Move gym leggings, to the organic cotton in our baby clothes. When it comes to sustainable and ethical clothing, we can only achieve real change at scale by working with others, which is why we are proud to be formally supporting the coalition and providing additional assurance to our customers they can purchase from M&S with confidence."

Jasmine O'Connor OBE, CEO at Anti-Slavery International added: "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. 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."