GES Newsletter
April 25, 2013

Uzbekistan is one of the largest cotton exporters in the world, with 90 per cent of its annual production of high grade cotton harvested by hand. However, ILO, EU and various NGO’s and UN bodies continue to point to reports of the ongoing use of child labour and forced labour in the country’s cotton sector, strongly condemning the practice.

For companies, and thereby their investors, this poses various challenges and risks. Apart from the obvious moral questionability and complicity to human rights violations, links to a raw material produced in this way exposes associated companies to significant reputational damage, boycotts and loss of clients. Due to the typically poor traceability of cotton combined with the versatility of the Uzbek variety, many brands are at risk of having Uzbek cotton in their garments, while there are also companies which knowingly trade on the commodity.

Having engaged on the topic for several years, GES has arranged a webinar to raise awareness of the risks and best practices. The webinar will be held on May 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM CEST.

Speakers at the webinar are as follows:

Umida Niyozova is an Uzbek journalist and human rights activist. After a professional ban having been imposed on her 2007, Umida left Uzbekistan for Germany, where she founded the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights.

Michael Reidick is the Head of Global Sourcing Operations for C&A Europe, a family owned European retailer. He has more than 28 years experience in buying, merchandising, retail and sourcing.

Bennett Freeman leads Calvert’s Sustainability Research Department and oversees its company research and analysis as well as its policy and advocacy work. Since 2007, he has been involved with the Cotton Campaign.

Tytti Kaasinen is a Senior Engagement Manager at GES. She is responsible for covering agricultural and retail sectors and, in addition to company-specific analysis, leads GES’ efforts on certain themes, with human rights violations in Uzbek cotton cultivation being one of her areas of focus.

Please sign up here before May 10, 2013.

After registering, a confirmation will be sent via email, containing information about joining the webinar.