Retroactively cancelling orders is having enormous consequences for millions of garment workers across the globe

Retroactively cancelling orders is having enormous consequences for millions of garment workers across the globe

A new tracker aims to name and shame apparel and footwear brands and retailers who have made no commitment to pay their suppliers for orders that are in production or already completed during the coronavirus pandemic – as well as flagging those who are upholding their obligations.

The online 'Covid-19 Brand Tracker' has been created by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) in association with Penn State's Center for Global Workers' Rights (CGWR). 

The tracker is monitoring and reporting on the positions of leading corporations, and will be regularly updated.

Current listings show a number of apparel brands and retailers are paying in full for orders completed and in production, including Adidas, H&M, Inditex, Kiabi, Marks & Spencer, Nike, PVH, Target (USA) and Uniqlo. 

On the flip side, some companies have made no commitment to pay in full for orders completed and in production. These include Arcadia, Asos, Bestseller, C&A, Gap, JCPenney, Kohl's, Mothercare, Next, Primark, Tesco, Urban Outfitters and Walmart.

The information used to compile the listings is based on public statements, direct correspondence with the WRC and/or CGWR, and information provided by country-level supplier associations as well as individual suppliers. 

The WRC and CGWR are also assessing whether corporations are honouring their commitments in their direct dealings with suppliers. 

The groups acknowledge that Covid-19 has meant a huge drop in demand for apparel, creating financial challenges for brands and retailers. But they also say corporations have a duty to manage the crisis responsibly. 

Many brands and retailers have cancelled or put orders on-hold, or are demanding retroactive price reductions, for goods already in production or completed and ready to ship. In some cases, brands have demanded large rebates, even on orders already in transit from the supplier. 

Retroactively cancelling orders on which suppliers have already incurred millions of dollars in costs imposes immense financial damage and is leading to large-scale dismissals of workers, often without legally-mandated severance or furlough pay. 

Click on the following link to view the 'Covid-19 Brand Tracker.'