Written by 12 h 06 min Labor rights and Modern slavery, Press release-en, Strategic litigation

Rana Plaza factory collapse: A preliminary investigation is being launched after a complaint has been filed against Auchan

Paris, 27 May 2014 – French NGOs Sherpa, Peuples Solidaires and Collectif Ethique sur l’étiquette filed a complaint against French supermarket chain Groupe AUCHAN with Lille Public Prosecutor on 24 April 2014. They welcome the decision of 26 May 2014 to launch a preliminary investigation.

AUCHAN claims to be in control of manufacturing conditions and to impose strict rules to its suppliers regarding working conditions and workers’ safety. Yet it has not taken all reasonable measures to prevent production of its “In Extenso” clothes brand at the Rana Plaza factory that collapsed on 24 April 2013, killing over 1,100 workers and injuring thousands.

By filing a complaint, the NGOs want to denounce AUCHAN’s deceptive marketing practices and its irresponsibility. The retailer continues to claim it had no idea about the working conditions in Bangladesh whereas it actually decided to turn a blind eye to the terrible safety conditions the factory workers producing the clothes had to face.

Launching an investigation could, for the first time in Europe, compel some groups to face penal consequences of such a wide gulf between their ethical statements and the adversary practices they permit and profit from.

This investigation is likely to establish that the ethical commitments claimed by the retailer is a deceptive marketing practice that mislead French consumers as to the social conditions in which the products are manufactured.

The complaint illustrates the necessity to constrain economic stakeholders to assume more responsibility as to the infringement of fundamental rights happening in their activities. It has been part of the work carried out by the NGOs for years which led to the bill aiming at imposing sourcing responsibility to the companies. The bill intends to prevent further tragedies and to allow victims to seek compensation for damage breaching human rights.

For more information: presse@asso-sherpa.org

Last modified: 23 December 2022