Adidas, H&M, and Gap are among 12 brands and retailers to have signed the Responsible Sourcing Network’s (RSN) Turkmen Cotton Pledge, which commits companies to not source cotton from Turkmenistan until forced labor in its cotton sector has been eliminated. Other signatories include Columbia Sportswear Company, Designworks Clothing Company, M&S, Nike and VF Corporation.
As per reports, forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton production is already an internationally recognised concern, with the UN last year urging the country to promptly put an end to forced labor in the cotton sector. Meanwhile, in May this year, US Customs and Border Protection issued a formal ban on the import of Turkmenistan cotton or products produced in whole or in part with Turkmenistan cotton. Around 42 institutional investors have recently signed a statement urging global home goods and apparel brands and retailers to address grave human rights abuses in the cotton fields of Turkmenistan.