Say YESS to Transparency and Accountability in the Cotton Supply Chain

by Source Intelligence

on August 29, 2016


Did you know? Cotton produced by forced labor, documented in at least nine countries, is making its way through the supply chain into clothing and home goods sold by major brands and retailers. In addition, yarn and textile mills located in Southern India are known to use a form of bonded labor called Sumangali.

Responsible Sourcing Network’s (RSN’s) game changing new initiative YESS: Yarn Ethically & Sustainably Sourced aspires to eradicate modern slavery in cotton harvesting and yarn production by verifying that yarn spinners are identifying and eliminating forced labor.
RSN will be announcing the launch of YESS on September 1, 2016. To identify and address forced labor, YESS will engage, educate, and enable yarn spinners to implement an OECD risk-based due diligence system. Brands, manufacturers, NGOs and other stakeholders are invited to endorse YESS by signing a Statement of Support. This endorsement expresses one’s commitment to an industry-wide approach toward ethical cotton and yarn sourcing. For an organization’s endorsement to be included with the public announcement, please sign the Statement of Support no later than Wednesday, August 31. 


Addressing an Opaque Section of the Supply Chain


While there are numerous projects that engage cotton farmers and garment factory workers to improve labor conditions, YESS is one of few initiatives engaging spinning mills and vertically-integrated textile mills, which are located in the middle of the supply chain. By establishing a system to address an opaque section of the supply chain, YESS will increase transparency and accountability similar to the verification system established by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative to address conflict minerals.


Achieving Slave-free Cotton

Due to the reporting requirements of the California Transparency and Supply Chains Act (SB 657) and the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, companies doing business in California and the UK are more motivated than ever to demonstrate and report on how they ensure there is no forced labor embedded in their supply chains. Though it may prove a challenging task, YESS can work with brands to implement and report on their commitments to achieve slave-free cotton, yarn, and textiles in an efficient, effective, and credible manner.

YESS will be coordinating its activities with sustainable cotton, ethical apparel, and other complementary programs to ensure harmonization of a due diligence system for the industry at large; and will enable brands to make informed purchasing decisions and improve working conditions in fields and mills.

The value of developing and implementing YESS is to:

▪ Assist companies to comply with anti-slavery regulations.
▪ Increase marketability for spinners and brands.
▪ Give consumers assurance that brands are working together to encourage ethical and sustainable cotton and yarn production.
▪ Minimize verification costs and improve efficiencies.
▪ Train and enable spinners to implement effective due diligence systems.
▪ Establish an industry-wide traceability approach and a global list of verified spinners and mills.

To learn more about this ground-breaking initiative, take a look at the YESS 2-page Overview and Slide Presentation. Don’t forget to sign the YESS Statement of Support by August 29. For more information, contact


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