AAPN Members Under Armour, VF and More Pen Letter Citing Ongoing Labor Concerns in Cambodia

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Several years ago, a small group of us from AAPN sat in on an AmCham meeting in Hong Kong, at the invitation of Lynne Sprugel, who was living there as a senior exec for Academy Sports + Outdoors.

I recall someone giving a talk about sourcing in SEAsia. When he got to Cambodia, he explained the problems with labor and unions. He joked that for every 2 Cambodian workers, there were 3 unions. Apparently to the industry, according to the following article, this is not so humorous. 

We need to know this here. We need to know our advantages. When it comes to social responsibility, we all realized at our 2010 Annual Conference on Sustainability, that the Americas had a powerful competitive advantage, in addition to proximity, ease, needle and more – and now in the 2020's, with the growing focus on transparency, we can only get better.

This goal – to build on the competitive advantages of this hemisphere – is priority one for our network this decade. We can not wait for your input and for interaction on this topic this year!

Under Armour, VF and More Pen Letter Citing Ongoing Labor Concerns in Cambodia

Nearly two dozen apparel and footwear brands have penned a letter urging action on what they call a “labor and human rights situation” in Cambodia.

Addressing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, the American Apparel and Footwear Association-led coalition — including Under Armour, Vans and Timberland parent VF, Ralph Lauren, Lululemon and Adidas — expressed ongoing concerns about labor and human rights in the Southeast Asian country.

Such issues were first raised in another letter sent by the AAFA in November 2018 — a month after a delegation of international brands met with Cambodian government officials to discuss the concerns.

“Despite this progress, many of the issues raised in the [November 2018] letter remain valid,” read the Jan. 22-dated letter. “The credibility of Cambodia’s apparel, footwear and travel goods sectors are at stake.”

In the letter sent Tuesday, the group urged the country to amend the trade union law, which it said fell short of international labor rights standards; repeal the Law on Associations and NGOS, which it said “enables an atmosphere of harassment and repression” against civil society organizations and unions; as well as drop all outstanding criminal charges against labor activists. Read More