The ethics of several clothing brands in the UK questioned

Ethical fashion still has a long way to go. In the UK, several clothing brands, such as Lidl, the owner of Zara, Inditex, H&M and Next have been accused of deliberately underpaying their suppliers in Bangladesh since the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a survey of the University of Aberdeen and UK-based fair trade campaign group Transform Traderelayed by The Guardian, 1,000 factories in the country confirm it. In detail, according to them, 19% of suppliers to Lidl, 11% to Inditex, 9% to H&M and 8% to Next paid their suppliers less than production costs, over a period from March 2020 to December. 2021.

Soaring commodity prices have not led to an increase in the rates these UK retailers pay to Bangladeshi suppliers. In addition, a third of Primark’s suppliers said orders had been cancelled.

“Unacceptable Practices”

“We need a fashion watchdog to end unacceptable buying practices by clothing retailers benefiting from large consumer markets, in the same spirit as existing protections for food suppliers,” said said Fiona Gooch, Senior Policy Advisor at Transform Trade.

Next for its part “completely refutes the suggestion that its suppliers are paid in the same way [ou moins] than before the pandemic. Lidl said it takes its responsibility to workers in Bangladesh “very seriously” […] and is committed to ensuring that core social standards are upheld throughout the supply chain. »

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