Ahead of Just Jeans and Dotti’s runway show in Melbourne this Sunday, Oxfam Australia is calling on Just Group chief executive Mark McInnes to release the company’s full position on sandblasting and to commit to banning the dangerous practice.
Just Group owns several brands that sell denim products, including Jay Jays, Dotti, Portmans and Jacquie E.
Sandblasting is known to cause silicosis — a pulmonary disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust, which has caused dozens of fatalities and it is estimated that several thousand denim workers have become ill.
Oxfam Australia first contacted Just Group in February this year asking for clarification around Just Jeans and Jay Jays products that were advertised as sandblasted, and warned the company about serious health risks to workers.
Since then, more than 500 consumers have written to Just Group outlining their concern for workers and calling on the company to ban sandblasting.
On 3 August, Just Jeans issued a statement on facebook that they did not use sandblasting. Yet, several Just Jeans products are still being advertised on the Just Jeans website as ‘sandblasted denim’.
“We welcome this statement by Just Jeans but remain concerned that products are still being marketed as sandblasted. If this is the case, consumers are being misled,” Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said.
“After trying to engage constructively with Just Group for the past six months, Oxfam feels it is now compelled to refer this matter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) if the company does not take action in the next ten days.”
Mr Hewett said Just Group brands were listed as buyers at Union Win factories in China. These same Union Win factories produce sandblasted denim products.
He said Just Group was out of step with many major companies that had already publicly banned sandblasting, including Benetton, Levi Strauss, Gucci and Esprit.
Some of these companies are making good progress towards fully implementing the ban—hiring health and safety specialists, providing health checks for workers and changing product designs.
Oxfam is calling on Just Group to release names and locations of its supplier factories so that workers’ conditions and practices can be independently verified.
For more information go to http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/workers-rights/just-group
Media please contact: Laurelle Keough on 0409 960 100 or firstname.lastname@example.org