Ethics watchdog investigating Zara Canada over alleged ties to forced labour


Canada’s corporate ethics czar says it has launched a fact-finding investigation into allegations that Zara Canada Inc. is working with companies that use forced labour in China.

The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise says its investigation into the apparel company stems from allegations made by 28 civil society organizations.

The organizations alleged in June that Zara Canada has supply relationships with three Chinese companies identified as using or benefitting from the use of Uyghur forced labour.

The ombudsperson says Zara Canada has denied the allegations and that the complaint is inadmissible because the alleged human rights abuses do not arise from its operations.

The ombudsperson added Zara Canada declined mediation, saying it does not have a commercial relationship with any factory in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Zara is the eighth company the ombudsperson has investigated for using Uyghur forced labour in its supply chain. Other companies it has looked into include Ralph Lauren Canada LP, Walmart Canada, Hugo Boss Canada Inc., Diesel Canada Inc. and the mining company Gobi Man and says more assessments will be made public in the coming weeks.

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