According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.”
Given their research, the ASPI has recommended that consumers “should demand companies that manufacture in China conduct human rights due diligence on their supply chains in order to ensure that they uphold basic human rights and are not complicit in any coercive labour schemes.”
In my research, I found PR statements and strategic plans from some of these companies that deny that their supply chains are tainted. However, the reality of global supply chains and the situation in China make it very difficult to prove this. I think it is still worth speaking up, communicating with the companies that their ethical behavior matters to us as consumers. If they think that no one really cares about where their products come from, they have less incentive to act ethically.
I’m starting to contact companies from which I purchase. I’ve also put together two form letters and a spreadsheet of information, so that anyone else who wants to contact companies can do so pretty easily. The spreadsheet isn’t complete yet; if anyone wants to help me fill it out so that every company (83!) is listed, let me know!
Here are the links to the form letters and the spreadsheet: