A watchdog organization known as Transparentem has uncovered dire working conditions in the heavily polluted tanneries located outside of Dhaka in Bangladesh. According to Transparentem, men, women, and children as young as fourteen have been working in a highly toxic environment under dangerous conditions with little or no protective gear. Further, Transparentem claims to have tracked the flow of leather from these tanneries to companies that produce shoes and handbags for several leading Western brands. Transparentem’s findings have been reported in a recent news story published by the Associated Press.
Transparentem’s investigation has sent shock waves through the world’s footwear and apparel industries. Several leading companies in the field have been called to account for their alleged connections to the Dhaka tanneries. Many of them have already gone on record seeking to disassociate themselves from Dhaka’s tainted leather. As Transparentem’s work continues, new revelations in the footwear and apparel industries, and in other industries, are inevitable.
Arent Fox’s Fashion and Corporate Social Responsibility teams will continue to monitor developments in supply chain risk and are uniquely positioned to advise affected companies in this area. If you have any questions, please contact Anthony Lupo, Lee Caplan, or the Arent Fox professional who usually handles your matters.