Days after Tesco stopped the production of Christmas cards that were revealed to be made by Chinese forced labourers, H&M will now investigate whether there is forced labour by Chinese prisoners in its supply chain. The accusations come from former journalist Peter Humphrey, who was locked up in such a prison for almost two years.
Last Sunday, Tesco suspended its cooperation with a Chinese supplier of Christmas cards, after a British girl found a message about forced labour in one of the cards. "We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation", the card said.
The card also called for making contact with Peter Humphrey, a former journalist who was detained for 23 months in the same Qingpu prison. Humphrey said the following about that period: "I recognised well-known brands — 3M, C&A, H&M. So much for corporate social responsibility, though the companies may well have been unaware that prison labour was part of their supply chain."
H&M says it has already opened an investigation, but was unable to find any evidence of violations of the prison labour policy. "As a precautionary measure, we reminded our Chinese suppliers about our non-negotiable requirements with regards to working with H&M Group and stressed that failure to comply would lead to a permanent termination of all contractual work. H&M Group strictly prohibits forced, bonded, prison or illegal labour in our supply chain", Retail Gazette quotes from a spokesperson for the Swedish fashion chain.