Supplementary written evidence submitted by M&S (FL0033)

 

At M&S we take our commitment to improving standards in our supply chain seriously. As the second largest clothing retailer in the UK (by market share), we know we have a duty, on behalf of our customers and our colleagues, to always look for new ways to improve our ethical practices.

 

That’s why earlier this month we became the first UK company to formally sign the “Brand Commitment to Exit the Uyghur Region”, a Call to Action to address human rights abuses. This is in line with our long-term focus on ensuring supply chains are sustainable and ethical, where workers are treated fairly, and their human rights are respected.

 

In response to mounting evidence of forced labour in the Uyghur Region (Xinjiang Province in China), the Coalition - supported by groups including the Ethical Trade Initiative of which we are a member - has set out a series of asks of businesses in order to ensure that their full supply chains, including secondary and tertiary suppliers, are not linked to the human rights abuses in the region, which currently produces 80 percent of China’s cotton.

 

100% of our cotton is sustainably sourced, the majority from the Better Cotton Initiative (find more information about this here), and we’re already one of the few retailers that does not work with any supplier in or source from Xinjiang Province. However we’ve made the decision to sign up to the Call to Action to help drive meaningful change at scale by working with others, and to continue tackling indirect supply risks.

 

We are committed to preventing modern slavery and human rights abuses, and we see this kind of action as key to facilitating that.

 

January 2021