Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 02:45 GMT 03:45 UK


World: Americas

Reebok criticises own factories



The American sports shoe manufacturer, Reebok, has published a study strongly criticising working conditions in factories in Indonesia manufacturing its own products.

The Massachusetts-based firm which grew out of a British firm founded in the last century, commissioned the report in an effort to improve conditions at its factories around the world.


The BBC's Jane Hughes: "The company has headed off criticism"
The move has been welcomed by organisations which campaign against sweatshop labour.

Reebok says its independent study into two factories in Indonesia showed lax health and safety conditions.

The factories emitted toxins, exposed workers to chemicals that caused rashes or vomiting and failed to warn employees of the risks, according to the report.

Reebok said the study was commissioned because the company wanted to show that it had nothing to hide.

'Positive impact'

"The knowledge we have gained ... will improve conditions for all the footwear factories we use," said Reebok official Doug Cahn.

"By sharing the report broadly, we hope it can have a positive impact for the entire athletic footwear manufacturing industry," he said.

Reebok says $0.5m of improvements in working conditions have been carried out as a result of the study.

Correspondent Jane Hughes in New York says the unusual move appears to have successfully headed off criticism from human rights groups.

The American labour rights organisation, Global Exchange, has welcomed it and called on other companies to be equally honest about working conditions.

A number of American manufacturers have been accused of forcing people to work in dangerous conditions for low wages.

Reebok's rival, Nike, has come under heavy attack recently for alleged abuses at its athletic shoe factories and human rights activists have dismissed as inadequate its attempts to improve working conditions.

In 1992, Reebok adopted and began implementing the first code of workplace standards in the athletic footwear industry.

They are now incorporated into all contracts the company has with factories that produce its footwear.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

05 Oct 99 | UK
How can you shop with a conscience?

03 Oct 99 | UK
Storm over World Cup balls

18 Sep 99 | World
BBC series champions children's rights

08 Sep 99 | South Asia
Pakistan wants action on child labour

27 May 99 | Asia-Pacific
US firms campaign against sweat shops





Internet Links


Reebok - Indonesian factory report


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Violence greets Clinton visit

Bush outlines foreign policy

Boy held after US school shooting

Memorial for bonfire dead

Senate passes US budget

New constitution for Venezuela

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Hurricane Lenny abates

UN welcomes US paying dues

Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

Colombian president lambasts rebels