The upsurge in demand for single-use gloves due to Covid-19 has created widespread concerns of quality and labor exploitation at factories.
As Coronavirus cases continue to rise globally, and the northern hemisphere stockpiles gloves and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) prior to winter, glove supply continues to be a global issue. Established glove factories are working at absolute capacity to meet demand, and reporting record profits. Additionally, dealers with no experience in the glove industry are sourcing from new factories with unknown quality control procedures in place.
The problems to glove procurement are two-fold:
- Quality Concerns: Gloves are not meeting quality standards to provide sufficient barrier protection to the virus - be alert to counterfeit products
- Supply Chain Labor Issues: Reports of slave and forced labor in glove factories are again making headline news
Reports of counterfeit gloves, masks and essential PPE products are widespread. Gloves are being sourced from anywhere and everywhere. New factories and dealers are opportunists taking advantage of the lack of supply, to the detriment of medical workers, first responders, food handlers, consumers and our essential workers - all who need a supply of good quality gloves. Reject quality gloves are flooding the market and there have been reports of used gloves being repackaged and sold.
Forced Labor in Glove Factories
Reports of forced and slave labor in clothing manufacturing is widely known and the glove manufacturing industry is no different, with labor rights abuse regularly reported. Because of forced labor concerns, the US banned (July 15, 2020) the import of surgical gloves from two subsidiaries of Malaysia's Top Glove, the world's largest manufacturer of disposable gloves. The ban affects about half of its sales to the United States, which will likely be sent to other countries without anti-slavery laws, such as New Zealand.
Last year, labor abuse and exploitation of workers in Top Glove factories was highlighted, again exposing forced labor and migrant worker exploitation throughout their vast network of factories. The US banned the import of gloves from a large Malaysian glove manufacturer, WRP Asia Pacific.
Managing your supply chain risks include glove procurement from a reputable supplier. This ensures you receive consistent quality, and protects your company’s reputation by sourcing from factories audited by third-parties to protect against worker exploitation.
Contact Eagle Protect to discuss how we can assist your supply of ethically sourced disposable gloves and clothing.
Lynda Ronaldson, VP Marketing