The United Kingdom-based swimwear makers -Speedo, recently told Reuters in a statement that, Speedo International will investigate a report of possible human rights violations by its Indian partner Page industries, which Norway’s wealth fund dropped from its portfolio this week.
Norway’s USD 1 trillion sovereign wealth fund said that ‘unacceptable risk’ due to human rights violation led to exclusion of some companies including Page, which is known to be the exclusive licensee for Speedo and innerwear maker Jockey International in India.
The decision was based on Council on Ethics findings which flagged these concerns and it was also being said that Page had violated national regulations on issues such as fire safety. As the Page manufactures all the products of Speedo in only one Indian factory which was not mentioned in the council's report and was found compliant in an audit, it was said that it was concerned about the findings which they will investigate further. On Wednesday, Speedo said it in a statement in response to Reuters queries that, “we take all the matters relating to workers in violation of human rights extremely seriously and we are naturally concerned to hear about the findings of the council and we will investigate and follow-up with the licensee as a matter of urgency”.
Jockey as well as India’s Page industries did not respond immediately. The companys website said that it had employed more than 20,000 people by 2018 and had operations spread across 15 manufacturing complexes in India. According to Norway’s fund ethics council report, the abuses were found in one of Page’s factories in the southern city of Bangalore, describing it as “a pattern behavior”.
The Council report said that Page ‘does little’ to prevent abuse of labor rights in its operations, failed to provide information on the findings, and did not permit inspection of the factory. It has not commented on the report or the Norway funds decision to remove the company from its portfolio.