Our response to the CBC news story of November 5, 2021
Over the past few weeks, we have been collaborating with the team from CBC, providing detailed information about our operations. We learned the details of the story, like everyone else, this morning, November 5, 2021.
Reitmans (Canada) Limited takes all corporate social responsibility inquiries very seriously because the way our designs are brought to life is important to us.
We require that all suppliers sign and abide by the terms of our Code of Conduct for Suppliers and our Chain of Custody Program, and comply with a comprehensive Auditing Program that is rooted in corrective action, transparency, and partnership.
Our Code of Conduct for Suppliers prohibits the use of forced labour throughout our entire supply chain.
For several years, we purchased products from Dandong Huayang Textiles and Garments Ltd. All past audits of the Dandong Huayang Textiles and Garments Ltd. factory, including the most recent unannounced audit conducted by an independent and accredited third-party auditing firm in December 2020, did not identify any guest workers or forced labour. Verification of employee contracts, payroll and ID documentation, as well as worker interviews indicated that all workers were Chinese and not North Korean. We are aware that there are several factories within the same compound, however we are only authorized to audit the factory from which our products are manufactured.
Having said that, at the end of 2020, we were made aware through credible media coverage of allegations surrounding Dandong Huayang Textiles and Garments Ltd. We took these allegations about North Korean guest workers seriously and decided to act prudently. At the end of 2020, we proactively decided to end our business relationship with Dandong Huayang Textiles and Garments Ltd., and it is no longer a Reitmans (Canada) Limited supplier.
The story outlined by CBC has brought new information to light. We are shaken by these new allegations about the presence of North Korean guest workers in what appears to be Dandong Huayang Textiles and Garments Ltd. factories.
As such, we believe that we made the right decision at the end of 2020 to proactively stop issuing new business purchase orders with this supplier.
Furthermore, we have decided to pull all remaining inventory of the 4 Penningtons styles and 2 Reitmans styles originating from this supplier and which were ordered over one year ago. We will donate them to local charities. For the list of the 6 styles, click here.
We are committed to continuously strengthening our supplier risk assessment and control processes, including our auditing program.
Additional information on our Ethical Sourcing standards can be found here.