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Report: Xinjiang cotton found in Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss tops

  • Research suggests Xinjiang cotton is being used in T-shirts from some of Germany’s biggest apparel companies, including Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss.
  • Agroisolab researchers explained that nature leaves behind a “signature” in cotton, caused by the “climate and geology” of a place.
  • The signature is what scientists call an “isotopic fingerprint,” which enables them to assign the place of origin in a piece of cotton.
  • Adidas and Puma made commitments in 2020 to not source any cotton from the Xinjiang region due to allegations of forced labor in the region.
  • Xinjiang cotton has been a high point of controversy due to reports that more than half a million ethnic minorities, particularly Uyghur Muslims, are being forced to pick cotton via “labor programs.”
  • In response to recent claims made in a report from The Guardian, both Adidas and Puma reiterated that their companies did not source cotton from the Xinjiang region.

Research suggests Xinjiang cotton is being used in T-shirts by some of Germany’s biggest apparel companies, despite their commitments not to source from the Chinese region due to allegations of forced labor. 

According to the German public broadcaster NDR on Thursday, scientists from the Agroisolab in Jülich revealed through isotope analysis that shirts from major German clothing labels, including Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss, have traces of Xinjiang cotton in them.