Zara steps up supply chain controls in Brazil

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Spanish fashion group Inditex has set out a improvements to its procedures for controlling its supply chain in Brazil following press allegations last month that one of its contractors was employing sweatshop labour.

Zara Brazil said it had informed the Brazilian administration’s Human Rights Committee of the measures it had taken as soon as it learned that the Inditex Code of Conduct had been breached by one of its suppliers.

“Zara immediately suspended new orders and ordered the supplier at fault to bear the cost of the legally payable compensation for the affected workers and the measures required to remedy all the shortcomings detected at the work centres.”

The group, which owns the Zara brand, said it was reinforcing the audit system in cooperation with the Brazilian Textile, Garment, Leather and Footwear Workers’ Federation, which will participate directly in monitoring Zara’s entire supply chain in Brazil.

An range of other measures have also been agreed including a Best Practice Guide, and the launch of a dedicated phone number for reporting alleged irregularities.

Brazil is Inditex’s third most important market in the Americas, after Mexico and the US.

Last year, Zara bought nearly five million garments made in Brazil, equivalent to 40 per cent of Brazilian store sales volumes. In all, Zara’s Brazilian supplier base provides work for over 7,000 people.

Enrique Huerta, president of Zara Brazil, said: “We would like to thank all the parties involved in this process for their efforts to safeguard appropriate working conditions. The commitment of all parties and their collective responsibility is the best way to achieve this objective.”

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