Sustainable Apparel Coalition

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Some Good News: Inditex

Inditex Supports Social Responsibility in its Supply Chain to Mitigate COVID-19 Effects in the Garment Industry

Through its Workers at the Center 2019- 2022 strategy for the social management of its supply chain, Inditex, the global fashion retailer that owns brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti, prioritizes the well-being of the factory workers that are part of the Inditex supply chain. The strategy is made up of seven priority impact areas identified through human rights due diligence:  worker participation, living wages, women empowerment, occupational health and safety, protection of migrants, social protection and enhancing labour rights in the raw materials supply chain. Against the backdrop of this strategy, Inditex’s response to the challenges presented by COVID-19 has revolved around the support to suppliers, with a focus on health and collaboration with stakeholders.

Among the challenges created by COVID-19, protecting the health and safety of workers is Inditex’s first priority. Inditex has been in constant contact with its suppliers and with key institutions in the different markets where its supply chain is based, with the aim of ensuring that suppliers and manufacturers effectively adopt health and hygiene protective measures. Following the World Health Organization’s recommendations, Inditex immediately issued guidelines to suppliers to implement at their work centers.

Multi-Stakeholder Engagement 

To articulate a collective response in support of businesses and workers in the garment supply chain impacted by COVID-19 , Inditex collaborated in the development of the “COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry”. This call to action for the global garment industry outlines urgent priorities and specific commitments to mitigate the effects of the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect garment workers’ income, health, and employment. Developed after extensive consultation with global brands, manufacturers, and workers’ organizations, the document has been agreed on by the International Organization of Employers, the International Trade Union Confederation, and IndustriALL Global Union, along with international brands and technical support from the International Labor Organization (ILO). 

To date, the call to action has the endorsement of more than 80 organizations, including the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. By endorsing the global call, organizations commit to implementing the commitments and advancing the priorities, including the promotion of ILO core labor standards and the payment of finished goods and goods in production, among others. Inditex is also part of the Global Working Group created for the implementation of the global call.

Inditex committed to purchasing and donating €25 million of medical equipment.

Distribution of Medical Equipment

Based in Spain, where the need for medical equipment to protect people from COVID-19 was high, Inditex made its full logistics and procurement capabilities available to national health authorities, donor businesses, and individuals for the purchase and transport of health equipment. Since the COVID-19 crisis started, Inditex has brought more than 120 million units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Spain. This includes purchases of PPE made by the central government, regional governments, hospitals, private sector donors, including many businesses and individuals, and by Inditex and the Amancio Ortega Foundation. 

In addition to procuring PPE for Spain, Inditex also committed to purchasing and donating €25 million of medical equipment.

To date, Inditex has acquired:

  • 520 ventilators
  • 300 thousand N95/FFP2 face masks
  • More than 10 million surgery masks
  • Nearly 14 million pairs of gloves
  • 384 thousand face shields
  • 380 thousand protective suits
  • 320 thousand surgery gowns
  • 200 thousand sanitizer units
  • 100 thousand pairs of glasses
  • 100 thousand caps

 In China alone, the company donated more than 2.5 million units of basic hygiene and protective materials specifically requested by the authorities, including face masks, gloves, caps, and shoe covers, worth €1 million. The Tsinghua University Education Foundation distributed the medical equipment across the various regions of China.

COVID-19 Impacts & Resources

The SAC launched a new COVID-19 impacts webpage that offers information and resources for the apparel industry to leverage while navigating the current crisis.

Giovanna Davila is the Research & Communications Analyst at the
Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

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