German human rights due diligence firm Loening Human Rights & Responsible Business GmbH conducted an audit of Volkswagen’s site in Xinjiang. The area in China is associated with forced labor abuses of the Uyghur minority living there. As reported by Reuters, the audit found no traces of forced labor, but this doesn’t end concerns.
Findings of the audit
After being marked with a red flag in its social issue category in November 2022 due to allegations of the use of forced labor, Volkswagen investors demanded an independent audit of the Xinjiang site earlier this year.
Loening carried out the audit in collaboration with Chinese law firms and found no signs of forced labor. The audit involved conducting on-site interviews and examining the contracts and salary payments of the site’s 197 employees. Just under 25% of the employees are Uyghurs. Volkswagen stated that the audit adhered to the SA8000 standard, a management systems standard grounded in international human rights principles, evaluating eight areas, such as child labor, forced labor, and health and safety.