Zeeman opens up about problems in garment factories
Netherlands-based European clothing chain Zeeman has observed problems at a number of their production sites. Zeeman has disclosed and shared this information in public on their own account, which is a first for the company.
Zeeman had an independent, third-party inspect its garment factories abroad last year, during which these findings were made. The company recently published its annual Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) report, including the findings of the inspections. Many of the garment factories did not comply with all the requirements: on average there were 1.2 points of improvement at each factory – the majority of which are located in China – with a total of 67 problems detected. Issues included, for example, a lack of clarity about wages and an insufficient number of emergency exits.
Obligations under the Agreement
As part of the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT), participating businesses are already obliged to report their production sites to the Secretariat of the AGT. By publishing an annual RBC report with this information however, Zeeman is going a step further by anticipating its future obligations under the Agreement. Under the Agreement, businesses are required to report their sustainability efforts and due diligence to the public by the third year of their participation (2019 at the earliest).
Zeeman has not ceased working with any of the factories, but wants the 67 detected problems at all sites to be resolved within a year. Responsible Business Conduct is a continuous process, hence Zeeman expects that by then there will be other points for improvement to focus on.