Solomon Lew will not name Premier Investments, Just Group’s list of fast fashion clothing factories

Retail mogul Solomon Lew has ruled out disclosing the names of the factories used by his brands. Photo: Aaron Francis / The Australian

Billionaire retail mogul Solomon Lew has ruled out publicly naming the garment factories his company uses, despite shareholder concerns about modern slavery.

Mr. Lew chairs Premier Investments, the parent company of The Just Group behind some of Australia’s best-known fast-fashion brands, including Just Jeans, Dotti, Jay Jays, Portmans and Peter Alexander.

At the Prime Minister’s annual general meeting on Thursday, Mr Lew was asked if Just Group would follow the lead of Rivers owner Mosaic Brands and take a “big step towards transparency” by releasing its supplier list factory.

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Lew said Premier “takes ethical sourcing very seriously” but will not disclose the names of its clothing suppliers, citing concerns about intellectual property rights.

“We have zero tolerance for modern slavery in all its forms. We insist on the legal rights of workers, including worker empowerment and free association, ”he said at the meeting.

“Relevant for the publication of the list of suppliers – this is very sensitive information. And this is the type of intellectual property that belongs to the company.

Billionaire retail mogul Solomon Lew has said naming the factories his company uses could put his intellectual property rights at risk.  Photo: Aaron Francis / The Australian
Billionaire retail mogul Solomon Lew has said naming the factories his company uses could put his intellectual property rights at risk. Photo: Aaron Francis / The Australian

Premier and Mosaic, which own other brands including Millers, Rockmans, Noni B and Katies, were named and humiliated 12 months ago in a scathing Oxfam report on the ethics of Australia’s leading fashion retailers.

The report ranked Myer, Premier and Mosaic as the three worst companies for labor transparency, saying they “continue to hide the names and locations of their suppliers’ factories (and) refuse to publicly commit and credible way to pay a living wage to their workers “.

Shareholders at the Premier AGA on Thursday learned that Mosaic had recently gone public with its factory suppliers, making Just Group one of the few major Australian brands not to have done so.

Christmas shoppers could buy unethical clothes, Oxfam warned.  Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui / NCA NewsWire
Christmas shoppers could buy unethical clothes, Oxfam warned. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui / NCA NewsWire

According to its annual report, Premier sources clothing and other products from China, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Vietnam.

The company is committed to signing a new international agreement that legally protects the health and safety of workers in the textile and clothing industry in Bangladesh.

A shareholder asked Lew on Thursday when this would happen.

“The government of Bangladesh is working with different non-governmental organizations to put in place the right structures,” he replied.

“The Prime Minister will sign as soon as the agreements are in place. The audit of factories in Bangladesh continues and we pride ourselves on our strong ethical sourcing standards.

Jay Jays, Just Jeans, Peter Alexander and Myer were all on Oxfam’s 2021 ‘naughty list’ of brands that the charity says have yet to take action to pay workers in the city a living wage. clothes.

Myer has been contacted for comment.

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