Hanesbrands, Inc.: Report on Anti-Slavery

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BE IT RESOLVED:  Shareholders request Hanesbrands’ Board of Directors to report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on the Company’s process for identifying and analyzing potential and actual human rights risks of its operations and supply chain. 

SUPPORTING STATEMENT:  In developing the report, the Company could consider: 

  • Human rights principles used to frame the assessment 

  • Frequency of assessment 

  • Methodology used to track and measure performance on forced labor risks, and 

  • How results of the assessment are incorporated into company policies and decision making. 

WHEREAS, an estimated 16 million people[1] are trapped in conditions of forced labor in extended private sector supply chains, generating over $150 billion in profits for illegal labor recruiters and employers through underpayment of wages.[2] Over 70% of these workers are in debt bondage and forced to work in industries such as agriculture and food processing.[3]

In the apparel industry, forced labor occurs both in the production of raw materials and during manufacturing, especially at lower tier suppliers and in home-based or informal manufacturing.  

Migrant workers globally are prime targets for exploitation[4] including discrimination, retaliation, debt bondage, illegal wage deductions, and confiscated or restricted access to personal documents that limits workers’ freedom of movement and leads to forced labor and human trafficking.  

According to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, companies have the corporate responsibility to respect human rights within their operations and supply chains. Any company directly or indirectly employing migrant workers must have a policy that assesses if workers are being recruited into debt bondage, forced labor and, ultimately, slavery. The State of California and the United Kingdom passed laws requiring companies to report on their actions to eradicate human trafficking and slavery.  

While Hanesbrands’ Global Human Rights Policy prohibits use of forced labor in the Company’s supply chains, Hanesbrands does not disclose its forced labor risk assessment process, nor does it have a policy addressing ethical recruitment of workers.  

The 2018 Fashion Transparency Index assessed the company’s Champion brand, giving it an overall score of 24%. The report indicates the company is not disclosing information on gender-based violence, living wage, or collective bargaining. Its sub-scores were particularly low in the areas of traceability, supplier assessments, and addressing problems. 

Know The Chain’s 2016 Apparel & Footwear Benchmark Findings Report gave Hanesbrands an overall score of only 54 out of 100, with particularly low sub-scores in the areas of ethical recruitment, traceability, risk assessment, and the ability of workers to exercise their rights and voice complaints. 

Hanesbrands also received low scores in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark 2018 Progress Report on human rights due diligence, embedding respect for human rights, and enabling factors and business 

Given the company’s lack of risk mitigation and disclosure, investors have insufficient information to gauge if the company is sufficiently addressing this serious risk to the company and to workers. 

[1] https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575479.pdf 

[2] http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf 

[3] http://www.alliance87.org/global_estimates_of_modern_slavery-forced_labour_and_forced_marriage.pdf 

[4] https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/fair-recruitment/lang--en/index.htm  

Resolution Details

Company: Hanesbrands, Inc.

Lead Filer: 
As You Sow 

Year: 2019

Filing Date: 
November 2019

Initiative(s): Anti-Slavery

Status: Pending

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