22 July 2010 | Angeline Albert
Discount store Poundland is reviewing its vetting procedures after selecting a supplier that is alleged to buy goods from a factory using child labour.
The vendor - Indian exporter Trishulin Overseas - became a supplier to Poundland a few weeks ago, although the retailer has not received or sold any products from the company. All purchase orders are now on hold pending the completion of its investigation into Trishulin Overseas’ compliance with its supplier code of practice.
The Poundland review was apparently prompted after The Sunday Times newspaper in the UK got in touch with Indian charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan which campaigns against child labour and child-trafficking. The charity alerted authorities, after which it said four children were rescued from an area in central Delhi.
In a statement on the charity’s website, president Ramesh Gupta, said: “A concerted effort is required by companies at all levels to work with supply chains on capacity building, on decent work conditions and see to it that there is no more forced labour or child labour.”
According to Bachpan Bachao Andolan, children between eight and 10 years old were working at least 14 hours a day to make napkin rings and other Christmas gifts.
A statement from Poundland, said: “The company seeks to prevent doing business with any supplier that uses child labour by utilising a comprehensive supplier vetting procedure; a strict supplier code of best working practice; and regular spot checks and audits by agents.
"Poundland is reviewing this vetting process to ensure that all possible precautions are taken to prevent a breach of conduct. If Trishulan [sic] Overseas is found to have breached our moral and ethical standards, Poundland will terminate its relationship with the company and Trishulan Overseas products will not be sold in any Poundland store.”
SM contacted Trishulin Overseas but a company employee said the chief executive was away and nobody was available to comment.