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Tesco to ban Uzbek cotton in response to child labour abuses

16
Jan '08
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) applaud Tesco's breakthrough decision following ongoing discussions with the campaigning group to place a ban on all cotton sourced from Uzbekistan for its clothing range, homeware and corporate purchases.

The decision comes following a 3-year investigation on cotton production in Uzbekistan conducted by the EJF that led to the recent BBC Newsnight exposé on forced child labour in Uzbekistan, as reported by Simon Ostrovsky of London based TV production company Insight News TV.

Alongside a ban on raw cotton from Uzbekistan, Tesco, the world's third largest retailer, has also announced its intention to implement a system to monitor its supply chain, thereby introducing far greater transparency and traceability in the clothing and textiles process.

“We have spent three years campaigning to have Uzbek cotton removed from the market while it continues to be produced with forced child labour, to the detriment of the environment and only to the benefit of the ruling elite” Steve Trent, Executive Director of EJF says. “This ground-breaking move by Tesco – unprecedented from a major UK retailer – has the potential to change a multi-billion dollar industry. Transparency within the supply chain is essential in stopping abuses such as those seen in Uzbekistan”.

Pressure has been mounting on Uzbekistan, the world?s third largest cotton exporter, following EJF's award winning report „White Gold: the true cost of cotton' and the subsequent BBC Newsnight investigation that exposed the continued use of state-sponsored child labour in Uzbek cotton fields.


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