Levis forced labour allegations
Photo: Levi's / Facebook

Levi Strauss Canada Under the Lens: Canadian Authority Investigates Forced Labour Claims

The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) is set to delve into allegations against Levi Strauss Canada, placing it alongside a growing roster of brands like Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Diesel, and Nike under scrutiny for similar charges.

Triggering the inquiry into Levi’s and the aforementioned companies was an Initial Assessment report submitted last June by 28 civil society groups.

These groups raised concerns about Canadian companies’ foreign operations, particularly potential ties to the Uyghur region in China where there’s documented evidence of forced labor practices. The report suggests that Levi’s might be connected to, or profiting from, these unethical practices via its supply chain.

While Levi Strauss Canada rebuffed these claims, they reinforced their commitment to human rights as outlined in their supplier code of conduct. They further contested the validity of the evidence, attributing it to “outdated and inaccurate data”. Additionally, for two of the suppliers implicated, Levi’s alleges the accusations were grounded in “suppliers self-reporting” rather than concrete facts.

CORE noted that Levi Strauss Canada “did not make itself available for an initial assessment meeting”, adding that mediation between the parties was currently not an option.

In a release, Sheri Meyerhoffer, the ombudsperson, said: “Considering the complex nature of garment supply chains and gaps in the information provided in the complaint, I have decided to launch an investigation.” An investigation will allow us to review the facts independently.”

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