The Joint Public Issues Team, of which the Methodist Church forms a part, has highlighted the use of forced labour in the fashion industry, focusing on the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
As Christians, we believe that all of humanity is created in God’s image. Every person is worthy of dignity because of their inherent value. Ethnicity, religion, culture, gender or any other characteristic are never grounds for discrimination or persecution.
The systems and structures we create to enable us all to live should not come at the expense of people or planet. Our clothes, food, goods and services must enable everyone to flourish – in how they are created and used.
However, around the world there are injustices embedded into our supply chains and practices. Forced labour, slavery and unfair conditions are all present in the processes which produce everyday items and essential goods.
The biblical calling to love our neighbour means we are called to stand against these injustices. We can be empowered to do this by making conscious choices about the ethical standards products we buy adhere to, and by engaging with the companies who make them to call for high standards.
Importantly, we can ask for:
- Transparency in supply chains
- High ethical standards in procurement and supply
- Robust policies to ensure consistently high standards
As consumers, we have the power to influence and shape the policies of the companies we buy from.