While tøjglade danes right now can buy a pair of ’premium quality’ pants in stretchlæder at the Swedish tøjgigant H&M to 2000 dollars, the risk of indian tanners life, when they process the leather, which ends up in stores around the world.
Also a number of Danish clothing companies are associated with the tanneries, where workers are exposed to poor and hazardous conditions.
It reveals the media Danwatch, which has met a number of the tanners, who are missing body parts and suffer from potentially fatal illnesses incurred on the job for a salary of a few dollars a day.
Rahim has worked as tromleoperatør on one of the south indian tanneries in Vaniyambadi in the indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is responsible for tanning the skins in large drums, which contain a toxic cocktail with the bl.a. kromsulfat, sulphuric acid and other chemicals.
Kromsulfat and sodium sulfide in the sacks in the foreground and the wet-blues (kromgarvede skins) in the background. Photo: Uffe Weng
Rahim says that he rarely uses gloves or face mask, because he can't perform his job properly with the safety equipment on.
– When I began to work at the tannery, said my doctor to me that I should not work with wet blues and barrels. I had to find a second work, tells the man to Danwatch.
Wet blues refers to light blue skins, which achieves the characteristic color, because they are tanned with chrome - a heavy metal, which may be cancer - and allergenic.
Garveriarbejder has lost his middle finger after an accident at work by a cutting machine. Photo: Uffe Weng
the 23-year-old Arjun is also working on a tannery, which is a subcontractor for the factories, which supply to the bl.a. Denmark. Arjun is working six days a week to stretch the skin out with an old-fashioned appearance of the machine, as there is a risk to get arm or hand trapped in at work. It has happened to his father and brother, who together with another brother and sister also work at the tannery. Father and brother had to be operated on after the accident.
Arjun says that he is not using the protective gloves, he will be offered at the tannery:
– If I use them, I get to sit firmly in the machine. They are made of rubber and slides easily. If I'm stuck in the machine, cut my hand, tells the young man, who earns 10 rupees per skins (less than 1 US$, ed.), he stretches out.
in Addition to the risk of getting cut off limbs of, Arjun subjected to swirling the hazardous dust. Each month, he is in the hospital with a cough and fever.
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--------- SPLIT ELEMENT ---------Experts: Brands have the responsibility for the whole chain
Garveriarbejder keeps nyfarvet skins without gloves. Photo: Uffe Weng
Danish brands maintains to both Danwatch and Extra Magazine, that they do not buy leather that has been tanned in squalid and dangerous conditions in south India. On the contrary, it claims to have satisfied themselves that the goods delivered from the factories in Delhi, exclusively from tanneries with the order of the cases.
however, It is not good enough.
Jacob Dahl Rendtorff, professor of business ethics at Roskilde University, says that companies are also responsible for tanneries that do not necessarily deliver the leather to the brand's products, but as supplies of leather for the factory, the brand buy leather in.
– In principle, you have control over the entire production chain, " says the professor, who calls it a problem, if brandsene only care about their own tanneries to live up to their claims, he says to Danwatch.
– It is not limited. The responsibility is for the entire varekæden. And no matter what you buy, how much you buy, etc., so it is still the case. The size and scope of varekæden should not be used to dodge a responsibility, fifth year professor of corporate social responsibility at the Copenhagen Business School and Andreas Rasche.
--------- SPLIT ELEMENT ---------H&M admits: We have not full control
Garveriarbejdere presses and stretches the skin. Photo: Uffe Weng
In H&M you can deliver your old clothes and get a voucher which gives 15 percent discount on the next tøjkøb. The Swedish modegigant, which has over 4300 stores worldwide, prides itself: namely, to work for sustainability.
When it comes to to ensure south indian garveres working conditions admits, however, that there is full control from H&M's page.
’H&M is working not directly with the tanneries, and a part of the tanning process takes place further back in the varekæden, where we are not performing the control’, writes H&M in an email to Danwatch.
’We are aware of the garveriprocessen and the problems that may arise’, elaborates on H&M to Ekstra Bladet.
the Company reports that you want all of the group's products are produced in a socially and environmentally sustainable way’. The ambition is by 2025 to have full transparency in varekæden that will ensure a responsible leather production from the farm to the finished product.
--------- SPLIT ELEMENT ---------Danish brands: We do not use dangerous tanneries
Garveriarbejder pours sulphuric acid in the drum with the skin without protective equipment. Photo: Uffe Weng
Noa Noa, Ganni, Samsoe&Samsoe, DK Company, Bestseller insist that they do not use the tanners as subcontractors.
’In poor, developing countries it is a known issue, that there may be conditions which do not live up to western standard, and therefore we have visited our suppliers and their subcontractors in India’, writes Mette Lind Jensen, CSR manager at Samsøe&Samsøe, in an email to Ekstra Bladet.
Ganni, the upstairs has Danwatchs detection commissioned a third-party survey, which has shown problems in the tannery, the brand uses. It informs Gannis PR and communications manager, Alexandra Bernardini, who adds that you do everything you can to lift the responsibility out in the supply chains.
Garveriarbejder has lost the tip of his little finger and part of the third finger in an accident at work by a cutting machine. Photo: Uffe Weng
’At Noa Noa we can in no way accept that people are injured in connection with our business operations, and therefore we are working with our suppliers to ensure responsible business conduct and due diligence’, says the cfo at Noa Noa, Steen Kristiansen.
According to the Bestseller's communications manager, Jesper Stubkier, the company ’a general responsibility on the industry level through collaborations’ as other brands, suppliers, authorities and NGOS.
’so that we can get more transparency and lasting improvements in the entire tekstilleverandørkæden, all the stakeholders of promise in the community’.
DK Company, which is behind brands such as Gestuz, France and Inwear, writes for Ekstra Bladet, that ’all suppliers sign a manual, which ensure compliance with the UK Companys code of conduct in their supply chain - including at the sub-suppliers.
--------- SPLIT ELEMENT ---------How did we
Garveriarbejder loader nyfarvede skins in piles. Photo: Uffe Weng
According to indian trade data, in 2016 exported for almost half a billion Danish kroner leather products to Denmark.
Danwatch have with bl.a. visit to the tanneries and factories in India and the inspection of the indian eksportdatabaser and shippingdata documented that there is business between the tanneries, where workers are exposed to dubious and dangerous conditions, and factories over a number of months in the year 2018 has supplied leather for foreign and Danish clothing companies.
out Of consideration for garveriarbejdernes security, Danwatch and Extra Leaf not chosen to mention the names of the visited tanneries.