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Rip Curl in hot water over garment sourcing in North Korea



Industry Updates

Workers in North Korea routinely exploited at factories

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 February, 2016 - The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that surf wear giant Rip Curl used workers in appalling conditions to make some of their 2015 winter line of clothing.

The Fairfax Media investigation puts into question Rip Curl’s garment sourcing practices at the Taedonggang Clothing Factory in North Korea.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that workers in North Korea are routinely exploited. “North Korean defectors have told investigators from NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, that employees are forced to work long hours with minimal or sometimes no pay. Workers who do not obey orders are imprisoned in work camps.”

When Fairfax Media informed Rip Curl of the practices in North Korea used to make thier clothing, the company's chief financial officer Tony Roberts released a statement that said the firm "takes its social compliance obligations seriously".

Rip Curl said the issue was the fault of a subcontractor who used the unauthorized facility. 

"We were aware of this issue, which related to our Winter 2015 Mountain-wear range," Roberts told Fairfax. "But only became aware of it after the production was complete and had been shipped to our retail customers.”


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