A UK-based human rights group is calling on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to refuse Shein’s application to list on the London Stock Exchange.

London Stock Exchange

The human rights groups said any attempt by Shein to list on the London Stock Exchange should be refused

Stop Uyghur Genocide is urging the financial regulator to refuse the application on legal grounds, according to the Financial Times.

The group said that minority Uyghur people in China are being used for forced labour in Shein’s Xingjiang-based cotton supply chain.

A statement, published by law firm Leigh Day that is representing the group, said: “Any attempt by Shein to list on the [London Stock Exchange] should be refused.”

It also said the FCA had a “statutory duty of integrity and to protect its investors”.

Despite this, Leigh Day did not reference specific evidence in support of the allegations that forced labour is used in the fast-fashion giant’s supply chain.

A letter to the FCA from Leigh Day said allowing the business to list would be “inconsistent with the UK’s obligations to the United Nations body, International Labour Organisation, which protects labour standards across organisations”.

UK businesses have to publish a statement every year that lays out steps they have taken to ensure slavery and trafficking aren’t taking place within the organisation’s supply chain or operations, under the Modern Slavery Act.

Leigh Day solicitor Ricardo Gama said: “Stop Uyghur Genocide expects UK financial institutions to uphold the high ethical standards that they pay lip service to and to make clear that London isn’t the place to come for a ‘no questions asked’ approach to capital.

“At the very minimum, regulators must make sure that laws in place to root out modern slavery are complied with,” he added.

A Shein spokesperson told the FT: “Shein has a zero-tolerance policy for forced labour. We take visibility across our entire supply chain seriously and we are committed to respecting human rights. We require our contract manufacturers to only source cotton from approved regions.” 

“We pay manufacturing suppliers competitive rates so they can pay fair wages to their workers.”

Shein said an independent audit of 4,000 workers at supplier factories in China found that they earn on average twice the local minimum wage.  

The FCA declined to comment.

The letter comes after Reuters revealed earlier this week that Shein confidentially filed paperwork to kick off the blockbuster IPO process at the beginning of June.

The much-anticipated listing is expected to value Shein at around £50bn.