American underwear brand Jockey International's Indian partner Page Industries is facing an investigation by the US apparel industry watchdog over allegations of human rights abuses at one of its factories. The US-based Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) has launched this probe into the matter at one of the production facilities of the Bengaluru-based Page Industries, which is the exclusive licensee of Jockey International for manufacturing, distribution and marketing of its branded products in the markets of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and the UAE.
Confirming the development, WRAP spokesperson Seth Lennon said it has started an investigation against the Indian company after receiving complaints from the Government Pension Fund of Norway. "WRAP was made aware of accusations of misconduct levelled at that unit by the Government Pension Fund of Norway and has begun an investigation of this particular Page Industries Ltd facility," he said.
This investigation is a routine decision made in alignment with WRAP's standard policy in all such cases, he added. "Once it is concluded, WRAP will take appropriate actions as warranted to ensure compliance with WRAP's principles. Until that review is complete, it is inappropriate for us to comment on the particulars of an ongoing investigation," Lennon said.
Meanwhile, Jockey International said it is closely monitoring the outcome of Page's evaluation report by WRAP. It, however, said that Page's track record does not match with the allegations. "Page Industries track record and long-standing partnership with Jockey does not match with the allegations in the Council on Ethics report," Jockey said.
"Page has advised Jockey that it welcomes the opportunity to correct the record. Jockey will be closely monitoring the outcome of Page's evaluation of these findings to ensure compliance with Jockey and WRAP standards," said Matthew Waller, Director, Advertising and Corporate Communications, Jockey International, Inc. Jockey International has a 144-year history of responsible sourcing and ethical workplace practices, he added.
"The company has the highest standards of itself, and its partners, when it comes to those practices. Jockey International and all its subsidiaries only use WRAP certified or equivalent factories, and requires all licensed partners, including Page, to comply with Jockey standards and maintain WRAP certification, of which Jockey was a founding member," he said. Page, since its inception, is a WRAP-certified company, Waller added.
E-mail send to Page Industries remained unanswered by the time of filing this story. Page Industries is also the exclusive licensee of Speedo International for the manufacturing, marketing and distribution in India.
Page was set up in 1994 with the key objective of bringing brand Jockey to India. Its promoter Genomal family has been associated with Jockey International for 50 years. It became a public company in March 2007 and is listed on leading bourses such as BSE and NSE. According to a regulatory filing, Page Industries had reported a revenue of Rs 2,945.42 crore and a net profit of Rs 343.22 crore for FY 2019-20.
WRAP is a non-profit organisation focused on the sewn products sector and it certifies socially responsible facilities. WRAP's standard policy is to investigate all allegations of conduct inconsistent with WRAP's principles.