Gap plans ‘sweatshop-free’ labels

High street giant Gap promises 'sweatshop-free' labels

HIGH STREET STORE Gap has promised to up its efforts to eradicate child labour by using ‘sweatshop-free’ labels.

The move comes after the Observer last week exposed one of the chain’s Indian suppliers as using children as young as ten to make their clothes.

Yesterday Gap’s senior vice president, Stanley Raggio, flew from San Francisco to New Delhi to meet the anti-sweatshop charity the Global March Against Child Labour, to hammer out proposals to tackle child labour.

According to Bhuwan Ribhu, a lawyer from the charity, the US conglomerate set out a series of ambitious proposals including a move that would see it relabelling its garments to allow the consumer to directly track online exactly where they are made.

Speaking to the Observer, he said: ‘We spoke at length to Gap and they informed us they are looking at a certification system that marks a product with a label ‘child labour free’. This would be a bold step as the firm would leave themselves open to prosecution if children were found making their clothes again. Gap also intimated to me that they are considering using independent monitoring of their suppliers in Asia. The firm is also calling on their competitors to adopt a similarly tough stance.’

Gap spokesman, Bill Chandler, confirmed yesterday’s meeting with Global March Against Child Labour, said the firm was dedicated to stamping out the problem.

‘Gap Inc has had many conversations with experts in the field before and obviously since The Observer investigation,’ he said.

‘The company is open to new ideas; we have shown that in the last decade. We are open-minded, but at present discussions are ongoing and it is too early to outline the extent of our proposals.

‘We genuinely appreciate that The Observer identified this subcontractor [using child labour], and we acted swiftly in this situation. Under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments.’

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