There have been ongoing concerns regarding the use of government-backed forced child labor during the cotton picking season in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is the third largest exporter of cotton in the world and responsible for approximately 10 percent of world cotton trade. As a result, VF has been participating in a coalition with other leading brands and retailers, industry associations, socially responsible investors and non-governmental organizations to raise awareness of this very serious issue and to convince the Uzbekistan government to eliminate this practice. Until this matter is resolved, we are asking all VF vendors and licensees to cease sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan.
We understand that the cotton supply chain is complex and that tracing the origin of cotton in finished products is very difficult. However, we are asking our vendors and licensees to make their best efforts to trace their cotton sources and ensure that Uzbek cotton is not used in any VF product.
VF Corporation and individual brands may take a more concerted effort to request cotton sourcing information from suppliers and/or proof of due diligence of raw material country of origin in order to further pursue this matter.
We greatly value your partnership in this endeavor and look forward to communicating with you on this issue and others in the future. Thank you for your cooperation with our efforts.