Global Brands Group, Fifa’s licensee, says it has ordered a probe into media reports that Chinese workers making Zakumi dolls for the World Cup were being exploited.
Their statement reads:
Global Brands Group (GBG) and FIFA are aware of recent media articles pertaining to the manufacturer of the Zakumi figurine …
As FIFA’s exclusive worldwide Master Licensee, GBG is taking the lead role in the review of this specific manufacturer of this figurine. Prior to these media reports, no specific issues had previously been raised with GBG regarding this particular facility. GBG has taken appropriate steps to contract Intertek (the world’s largest independent testing, inspection and certification organisation) to conduct an immediate ethical and social compliance audit and inspection of this facility. An important step in this process is to liaise directly with the parties concerned and ascertain all the key facts surrounding any claims. FIFA is being kept informed on the progress of the review.
From the outset, GBG has sought to only deal with the “best of the best” manufacturers and distributors worldwide to help produce and sell official licensed product for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. As often as possible first choice of production is South Africa, however, in cases where this is impossible international manufacturing partners are considered.
By virtue of GBG’s manufacturing and distribution license agreements and letters of undertaking from third party manufacturers, licensees and their respective third party manufacturers have committed to comply with the Code of Conduct of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) and the declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). These codes include, but are not limited to, the legal compliance of national laws and international working condition standards, the non-use of forced labour, non discrimination, freedom of association, prevailing industry wages, standard working hours, no child labour and safe and hygienic working conditions for all, etc.
“Global Brands Group takes these matters very seriously and we have therefore launched a review audit as a matter of priority. We wish to stress the fact that the Chinese manufacturer in question does not produce any of the other Zakumi plush toys, merchandise or products that are available in the market place. Global Brands Group has a variety of other manufacturers that handle these products and they are in no way linked to the same factory or industrial plant.,” says Paul Zacks, General Manager of Global Brands Group SA.