The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which bans any articles made wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), went into effect yesterday, June 21. However, a recent report links environmental and labor abuses in the XUAR to polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as vinyl or PVC.
China is the world’s largest producer of PVC, with about 20% of its PVC coming from the XUAR. As one of the most widely used polymers, PVC is used as a base material across a broad range of products and applications, including vinyl flooring, pipe, credit cards, footwear soles, everyday household items, etc. Many PVC products often pass through multiple countries before arriving in the U.S., and evidence suggests that many major American flooring retailers are at a high risk of selling products made by forced labor.
The report “investigates the increased manufacturing of PVC in the Uyghur Region, the manufacturers’ use of state-sponsored labor transfers, the environmental damage this manufacturing is causing, and the routes by which the resulting PVC-based products may make their way into international markets.”
Full supply chain visibility is imperative, and importers must continue to audit their suppliers to ensure compliance with human rights, safety, and environmentally sound practices. If you source goods from China, you must conduct extensive research to identify connections to the Uyghur Region and eliminate them from your supply chain.