LONDON — Zara has confirmed that it is supporting its suppliers after being named in an online petition by the nonprofit organization Remake. The petition accuses the Spanish clothing giant, and other high-street retailers, of owing payments to factories following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“We are fulfilling all our responsibilities to our suppliers by ensuring that all orders that have been produced or are currently in production are completely paid, according to the original payment terms,” the company said Wednesday.
Inditex, which owns Zara and a host of other retailers, added it is committed to working with its suppliers “through the impacts of COVID-19. As a priority, we are working closely with suppliers to ensure they are following official guidance to protect the health of workers in factories during the pandemic. And, consequently, we are fulfilling all our responsibilities to our suppliers.”
As reported, Remake, which aims to educate consumers about the fashion industry’s treatment of women and its environmental impact, launched the #PayUp petition on April 3. It accuses the world’s biggest fashion brands of owing more than $3 billion to garment factories in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Cambodia for upcoming orders.
The organization states that the act of withholding payments has resulted in international garment workers being out of work with no severance, savings or access to health care. Remake also argues that an estimated 50 million garment workers will be impacted by COVID-19.
The petition alleges that the group includes companies such as Zara, H&M, Target Corp., Mango, Primark, J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Walmart Inc., Marks & Spencer, VF Corp., C&A, PVH Corp., Tesco, Kohl’s Corp., LPP, Bestseller Fashion Group, Mothercare and Kiabi.
Remake’s claims are based on information from the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity and Denim Expert Ltd. in Bangladesh.
In March, H&M said it would honor commitments for delivered products as well as goods in production.
Primark, which belongs to Associated British Foods, has informed suppliers it would stop placing new orders. “To manage Primark stock, we have also regrettably informed suppliers that we will stop placing new orders,” the company said last month. It has closed all 375 stores in 12 countries, leading to an estimated loss of 650 million pounds of net sales per month.