Earlier, the Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz ran into difficulties in China after criticizing the country for the use of slave labor.
Marimekko seems to have removed from its website the statement that it does not accept cotton produced in the Uighur Autonomous Community in its products.
The NGO told about it Finnwatch, which studies the global impact of business.
According to Finnwatch, Marimekko’s website previously mentioned that Marimekko does not accept cotton in its products “from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China due to human rights violations related to cotton production.”
Financial messages contacted Marimekko, who agreed to comment by e – mail.
Marimekko seems to have removed the mention on its website that it does not accept cotton produced in the Uighur Autonomous Region in its products. Is it the case that that mention has actually been deleted?
“Marimekko adheres to the principles of responsible sourcing. The company has a Supplier Code of Conduct that must be signed by all product manufacturers. There have been no changes in our policies.
In public, the discussion has been related to one point on our website, but it is good to note that the information can still be found on our website: for example, the latest information on the acquisition of Marimekko can be found on our website in our financial statements published last week. report non-financial information. “
According to Finnwatch, about clothes and textiles imported to Finland more than a third is originating in China on the basis of customs data. However, it is not clear from the statistics how much of the imports originate in Xinjiang or how much of the production is made of cotton grown in Xinjiang, yarn spun there or woven fabric.
Finnwatch expert Anu Kultalahti says that Marimekko is not the only company that feels humbled in the face of Chinese politics and markets.
– It is this new situation that companies are being forced to choose between human rights and market access and, above all, staying.
– After all, it is invertebrate not to dare to stand full behind their own words.
Driving on two bikes is reflected in the fact that the company performs responsibly in the West, where consumers demand responsible actions from companies. At the same time, on the other hand, human rights are being silenced if responsibility does not seem to be a competitive advantage there.
Kultalahti does not believe that Marimekko has been in direct contact with China. Instead, he believes this is Marimekko’s own reaction, which does not want a possible boycott of the Chinese consumer market.
Marimekko does not want to follow in H & M’s footsteps
Marimekko’s operations are supported by the treatment received by the Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz after the company’s criticism of China’s use of slave labor. At the same time, H&M announced that it would suspend the use of cotton produced in the Uighur region of Xinjiang.
China responded by closing several of the chain’s stores and the country’s social media is widely calling for a boycott of the store chain.
The New York Times according to China, retaliation is not limited to trade closures. H&M has been completely removed from many applications in China – including Apple Maps. The shops have also disappeared from Chinese Baidu maps.
Sanctions and counter-sanctions
The EU, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have set up Chinese individuals and organizations to its sanctions list for the treatment of Uighurs. China replied sanctions imposing counter-sanctions on, for example, European politicians and researchers.
According to human rights organizations in China, at least one million Uighurs and others, mainly members of the Muslim minority, have been imprisoned in camps where they are forced to work and women have been sterilized.
Chinese counter-sanctions have also targeted companies that have said they will stop using cotton produced in the Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang due to suspicions of forced labor. Finnwatch says that Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, Converse and Burberry have been the targets of retaliation.
Finnwatch says that other large clothing manufacturers have removed the corresponding label from their websites. For example, the Japanese sports brand Asics has stated that it will continue to support cotton produced in Xinjiang.
On Monday, the Finnish-Swedish forest industry company Stora Enso announced that it would give up its soluble pulp production. The company commented on its soluble pulp production after its release in Hong Kong South China Morning Post reported that the company had exported soluble pulp to the Xinjiang region of China, where human rights violations and forced labor, especially of the Uighur minority, have been widely reported.
Source site www.is.fi