We would like to congratulate Costco, one of the most recent signatories of the Cotton Pledge to making a commitment against forced labor!
With Costco and its brand Kirkland Signature on board, the total number of companies and brands that have signed the pledge has now reached 200!
RSN would like to reiterate that signing the pledge is only the first step of many for a company to address this issue. To fulfil upon the commitment of the Cotton Pledge, a signatory should:
- Align business practices with the pledge commitment
- Collect Country of Origin (COO) documentation for all cotton products and textiles
- Involve yarn and textile mills
- Engage the Uzbek government
- Join RSN’s Responsible Cotton Multi-stakeholder Network (Cotton MSN)
Details on implementing the above steps are given within the Introduction Packet to the Cotton Pledge.
The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF) released its most recent Cotton Chronicle on October 29, 2015, which details the various violations by the Government of Uzbekistan during the 2015 cotton harvest. Although all of our collaborative efforts, including the commitments of the Cotton Pledge signatories, have contributed to almost entirely eliminating children aged 7 – 15 from the cotton fields, forced labor of older students and adults continues. The Cotton Chronicle documents the exploitation that has continued in Uzbekistan this year, and demonstrates the need for companies to continue efforts to eliminate Uzbek cotton from their supply chains until the abuse stops.
Thank you Costco, and all 200 signatories for helping to combat forced labor in Uzbekistan. The continued increase in signatories of the pledge is an indication of the strength of the global commitment to reject cotton harvested with forced labor!
By: Tom Sheahan, Cotton Initiative Intern @sheahantom