Finland refuses to buy Uzbek cotton harvested by children
Marimekko of Finland terminated its contract with Kreenholm (Estonia) suspecting it of the use of children's labor.
According to Helsingin Sanomat, Marimekko suspects that the Estonian producer of textile owned by Boras Wafveri (Sweden) uses Uzbek cotton harvested by children.
SVT network in Sweden ran a documentary last week-end showing how children in Uzbekistan work cotton fields instead of going to school. Authors of the documentary announced that this cotton was used in production of H&M and Boras Wafveri clothes.
Marimekko terminated its contract with Kreenholm on November 26 pending investigation of the origin of the cotton the Estonians were using.
Delfi quoted Matti Haarajoki of Kreenholm as saying that he did not know if the cotton had been harvested by Uzbek children but that he himself was certainly against children's labor. "We have no information showing that the cotton we buy was harvested by children. We buy cotton via international intermediaries who assure us that children's labor was not used," Haarajoki said. "Needless to say, we are against children's labor."
The head of Kreenholm admitted existence of the risk [that children's labor had been used] and said procurement of cotton in Uzbekistan had been suspended for the time being. Kreenholm initiated consultations with Marimekko.
Haarajoki denied financial damage to the company but said Marimekko was a serious partner whose loss was not to be taken lightly.
Nearly half the cotton Kreenholm uses comes from the United States, about 8% from Uzbekistan, and the rest from other Central Asian countries.