MAKING A LIST: In association with Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Global Workers’ Rights, the Workers Rights Consortium has created a “COVID-19 Brand Tracker.” The tracker offers a list that will continually be updated to indicate which apparel labels and retailers are paying their suppliers for orders that are in production or completed, as well as those that are refusing to do so.
As of late in the day Tuesday, companies that had committed to paying in full for completed orders and in-production ones were H&M, Adidas, Nike, Inditex, PVH Corp., Target (U.S.), VF Corp., Uniqlo, Marks & Spencer, LPP and Kiabi. Suppliers have raised concerns that VF is not honoring that commitment, and WRC is looking into that, as it will with any similar concerns about other companies, according to the site.
The tracker also lists companies that have not made a commitment to pay in full for orders completed and in-production ones. C&A, Gap, Primark, Kohl’s, Arcadia, J.C. Penney, Bestseller, Urban Outfitters, Asos, Mothercare, Tesco, Walmart and Next were the companies listed in that category, according to the WRC’s new tool.
The WRC’s COVID-19 Brand Tracker has ancillary information that acknowledges how COVID-19 has resulted in a huge drop in demand for apparel, and financial challenges for brands and retailers. An online explanation of the tracker noted, “At the same time, corporations have a responsibility to manage the crisis responsibly and honor the obligations to suppliers and workers. Many brands and retailers responded to the crisis by canceling (or ‘holding’) orders or demanding retroactive price reductions for goods already in production or completed and ready to ship. In some cases, brands have been requiring large rebates, even on orders already in transit from the supplier.”
Online users of the tracker can also learn how research shows how the aforementioned trend is leading to the large-scale dismissals of workers – often without legally mandated severance or further pay, according to research. The WRC cited a research report released last month by Penn State’s CGWR that noted how the pandemic has resulted in more than half of Bangladesh suppliers have had the bulk of their in-process, or already completed production canceled.