The cotton in your clothes may be produced by state-sponsored forced labour on an industrial scale. Reports of forced labour and cultural genocide in Western China’s cotton fields cannot be ignored by governments, the fashion industry or us.

Previously suspected but only recently confirmed, a supposed state-run poverty alleviation scheme next to vast detention camps in China is forcing hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities to pick cotton in the Xinjiang region. Cotton picking is back-breaking work and forcing people to carry it out as part of thinly disguised so-called “re-education” programmes is a crime. …

Boris Johnson’s commitment to a more ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement is welcome and necessary — now we must see action align with rhetoric.

Against the bleak backdrop of a global pandemic, this year has been punctuated by glimmers of hope for the fight against climate breakdown. The recent announcement that the UK will cut its domestic emissions by at least 68% by 2030 is certainly cause for hope.

The UK is one of the first major economies to ratchet up its nearer-term 2030 target to better match the aims of the Paris Agreement and its…

Kate Williams

Researcher, communicator and pessimistic optimist on all things environment and human rights related

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