15 January 2010 I Amy Rowe
Clothing chain Primark is working to increase the transparency of its supply chain, its ethical trade director has said.
Speaking at a CIPS/Traidcraft conference in London this week, Katherine Kirk said she wanted the company to publish a complete list of its suppliers on its website in the next five years.
But she said: “There is quite a lot of work to do before we get to that point.”
The move follows criticism Primark received over the labour standards in its supply chain. Last year, the Observer newspaper and the BBC claimed to have found poor conditions for employees at the retailer’s Manchester-based vendor TNS Knitwear. And in 2008, workers' rights organisation War on Want alleged employees in a factory supplying Primark were paid as little as 7p an hour and worked 80 hours a week.
Kirk said the company had recently published a vendor code of conduct on its website and in March last year it set up a web-based supply chain auditing system.
The chain's owner, Associated British Foods, said yesterday that sales at Primark rose 19 per cent in the 16 weeks to 2 January.