Unprecedented Number of U.S. and European Apparel Companies and Major Industry Association Sign Pledge to Call for Elimination of Forced Child Labor in Uzbekistan

New York City – Sept. 12, 2011 — More than 60 of the world’s best known apparel companies and brands as well as the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), which represents more than 800 brands, have signed a pledge to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton harvested using forced child labor. The companies will maintain this pledge until the elimination of this practice is independently verified by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The pledge is being coordinated by the Responsible Sourcing Network and is posted on its website www.sourcingnetwork.org.

Company signatories include:

adidas Group (adidas, Reebok, Taylor-Made, adidas Golf); ANN INC. (Ann Taylor, LOFT); Brooks Sports, Inc.; Burberry; C&A; Carrefour; Carter’s (Carter’s, OshKosh B’gosh); Columbia Sportswear Company; Eddie Bauer LLC; EILEEN FISHER; H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB; J.Crew; Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc.; Levi Strauss & Co.; Li & Fung Limited; Liz Claiborne Inc.; Macy’s Inc.; New Balance; Nordstrom Product Group; Peacocks Stores Ltd (Peacocks London, Pearl Lowe for Peacocks, By Design); PPR Group (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, PUMA, Volcom, Redcats); PVH Corp.; Target Corporation; The TJX Companies, Inc.; The Jones Group; VF Corporation; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (ASDA, Better Homes &Gardens Canopy, Faded Glory, George, Home Trends, Mainstays, No Boundaries, Puritan, Sam’s Club, White Stag, Your Zone); The Walt Disney Company.

The signatories signed a public pledge to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to persuade the Uzbek government to end the use of forced child labor in cotton harvesting. This initiative, uniting an unprecedented number of American and European apparel powerhouses, luxury brands and consumer favorites, builds off of efforts started in 2004 by a number of European and U.S. advocacy organizations and Uzbek human rights groups.

“I commend these companies for making this public commitment and sending a message about sourcing all aspects of their products ethically,” stated Patricia Jurewicz, director of RSN. RSN, a project of As You Sow (www.asyousow.org) addresses human rights violations and environmental destruction in the supply chains of consumer products at the raw commodity level. RSN supports network participants in leveraging their influence to achieve measurable solutions in the areas of conflict minerals and child slave labor.