Will Abercrombie & Fitch Shareholders Do the Right Thing?

Abercrombie & Fitch’s advertising has been raising eyebrows for years. Their glossy spreads in magazines usually feature muscular, tanned men and women playing sports and enjoying the good life, often while wearing a surprisingly small amount of clothes for a clothing advertisement.

But behind the pretty pictures lie many questions about the conditions under which Abercrombie’s clothes are produced. Unlike a large number of major companies, A&F does not have a vendor code of conduct to ensure that its suppliers respect workers and the company does not publicly report on its labor practices globally.  Shareholders at the upcoming A&F shareholder meeting on June 9, 2010 will be requesting that the company implement all of these missing elements.

The vacuum of labor rights protections has led to some specific problems for A&F in the past. For example, in 2002, the company settled a lawsuit with workers in Northern Mariana Islands who claimed to have been exploited by an A&F supplier.

More recently, readers of this blog may remember that A&F is one of the few clothing companies that has refused to speak out against forced child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry. In Uzbekistan, the government removes thousands of children from their schools every harvest season and forces them to pick cotton to enrich the ruling regime. The egregious abuses of children in the production of Uzbek cotton have led a large number of the biggest global clothing brands to speak out publicly and to commit to eliminating cotton from Uzbekistan in their supply chains until they can be assured that the government ends the forced labor of children.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I had no idea about AF’s child labor probs. Thanks for discussing this.

  2. Shareholders who own Abercrombie can vote the proxy ballot using Moxy Vote’s new site. There is a great video describing the services Moxy Vote offers at http://www.moxyvote.com/splash

    Investors can vote this proxy ballot if they have their control number. If they tossed their ballot and do not have the control number, investors can call their broker to get it. A broker should be able to provide it over the phone.

    The Abercrombie ballot is at: http://www.moxyvote.com/ballots/3662

    It has three advocates supporting the resolution related to child labor – As You Sow, Green America, and F&C Asset Management.

  3. this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this also – taking time and real effort to make a good article. Really what I needed. Thanks I have been looking for this sort of info for a long time.


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