Primark has issued a statement reiterating its commitment to ethical manufacturing to defend itself from campaign group War on Want, who plan to demonstrate at its London Oxford Street flagship and its Annual General Meeting today.
War on Want alleges that Primark uses “sweat shops” and that workers in the factories it uses are so poorly paid they live in poverty.
However, Primark said in a statement: “All the evidence shows that international trade, including textiles, is to be welcomed as an invaluable source of income for poor nations, and especially for women in those nations.”
“The garment industry is raising the living standards of workers in the supply chain by providing employment which would otherwise simply not be available.”
“Primark specifically is an ethical organisation, is committed to ethical sourcing, and seeks to improve living standards in these countries.”
Primark added that it constantly reviewed and worked on improvements for the working conditions of the people in its supply chain. It said it had an extensive auditing programme, supplier training programme and work with third parties, including NGOs and governments, to ensure that its suppliers comply with their contractual commitments under its clear and strict Code of Conduct.
Primark added: “Our customers can continue to shop in Primark secure in the knowledge that the company works hard to ensure that high standards are met. We aim to give UK consumers unquestionable value for money, but never at the expense of the people who make our clothes.”
Primark said it remained open to constructive engagements with campaigners in relation to ethical issues.