Australian clothing retailer, Cotton On Group, is currently investigating its ties with Chinese printing firm, Zhejiang Yunguang Printing, following allegations of forced prison labor. This issue arose after supermarket chain, Tesco, suspended its business with the firm when a Christmas card from the company contained a message claiming it was packed by foreign prisoners subjected to forced labor.

In response to the allegations, Cotton On has stressed its zero-tolerance approach towards modern slavery, including forced labor, in its supplier code of conduct. However, the company has not yet commented on the matter. Tesco has confirmed that the Christmas cards were indeed produced by Zhejiang Yunguang Printing, situated near Shanghai Qingpu prison, and has initiated its own investigation.

Despite the claims made against it, China has denied any involvement of forced labor at Shanghai prison, while Zhejiang Yunguang Printing has chosen not to provide a comment. In addition to Tesco, the printing firm is reportedly partnered with international companies like Walt Disney Co and US retailer, Big Lots. Both companies have yet to respond to requests for comment.

These allegations once again draw attention to the issue of forced labor in supply chains, highlighting the ethical responsibilities that companies have when sourcing their products. As consumers increasingly demand transparency and ethical practices, it is vital for retailers like Cotton On to thoroughly investigate their suppliers and take appropriate action if any wrongdoing is found.

The response from Cotton On to these allegations and whether they will sever ties with Zhejiang Yunguang Printing remains uncertain. The outcome of this investigation will not only impact Cotton On’s reputation but also test its commitment to combating forced labor within its supply chain.

(Note: I couldn’t find specific links relevant to the article. However, it would be useful to provide links to resources about forced labor and ethical sourcing practices.)
Forced Labour – International Labour Organization
Forced Labour – Business & Human Rights Resource Centre