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Australia’s Coles Publishes Factory List for its Apparel Line

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Australian supermarket chain Coles has joined the likes of H&M and Target by releasing a list of factories that manufacture its apparel line, Mix. The list of apparel suppliers includes nine in Cambodia, five in India and six in Vietnam. Customers can access details on the retailer’s website.

In a statement, the company said it aims to provide customers with reassurance that the supply chain for Coles Brand product is operating by the best global practice standards.

Oxfam Australia corporate accountability advisor Daisy Gardener said being open and accountable about where factories are located was an important step in the journey toward improved conditions for garment workers. “Following the tragic deaths of more than 1,100 workers last year, Australian retailers realized they needed to take working conditions seriously—not just in Bangladesh but right across their supply chains,” she said.

Gardener added, “Publishing the locations of factories in India, Cambodia and Vietnam will make it possible for unions and independent groups to visit Coles’ supplier factories, speak to workers and support their campaigns for improved wages and conditions.”

In 2005, Coles outlined an Ethical Sourcing Policy that set standards expected from each one of its suppliers. The policy requires a third party ethical audit to authenticate satisfactory conditions in a number of areas like safety and hygiene. The company also became a buyer partner of Better Work, a joint program between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) aimed at improving compliance standards in the garment industry.

Coles is also participating in the ILO’s Study of Food Provision on Worker’s Health and Productivity in Cambodia’s garment industry. The program provides garment workers employed by its factory partners a daily meal.

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