Date lapsed: March 2024
Proposed by: Khalid Al-Tamimy (President, Queen Mary Islamic Society)
Seconded by: Muhammad Yasif Rahman
Progress: Not started
Whilst Student Council can debate the following motion and pass a resolution, due to its charitable status, the Students’ Union cannot commit its resources to actively campaign on this issue. Further guidance is available on request.
8a - Queen Mary University of London to end ties with companies/brands complicit in Uyghur forced labour.
What do you want?
The union should mandate the following:
1. A call to the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) Finance and Investment Committee to end all current and future relations and investments with companies complicit in the use of Uyghur forced labour (as set out in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Executive Summary).
2. Student Union to lobby NUS (National Union of Students) at the national conference in 2023 to remove all complicit companies from their student discount platform.
3. Lobby QMUL on the following:
I. To divest QMUL’s investment holdings in the named companies and inform those companies of the reasons for doing so;
II. To decline any future research funding and studentships sourced from the named companies or their associated companies, including those from the Joint Research Management Office and the Finance Department;
III. To terminate all current research projects sourced from the named companies and their associated companies; and
IV. To make a public statement setting out: its opposition to forced labour in Xinjiang and complicit companies, and its reason for ending ties with complicit companies.
Why do you want it?
Following FOI requests, it was found that QMUL has close ties to a number of companies complicit in forced labour. QMUL's relationship with these companies amounts to £4,702,427. These come from research funding, studentships, and investment from QMUL.
As students we feel that QMUL’s close ties with these companies damages the credibility of the University as an institution. It also harms our relationship with the University. Knowing that the University is so closely tied with these companies is disappointing. More widely, it is arguably in the long-term interests of QMUL to begin disassociating with industrial and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sources of funding and investments. Given the CCP’s track record on human rights abuses, it would prevent future challenges from students. Further, it would increase QMUL’s international reputation as a university that ensures its academic freedom is not closely tied to questionable funding sources. QMUL has an opportunity to distance itself from wider human rights issues.
QMUL Strategy 2030 sets out its own mission as “Dedicated to the public good” and “nationally and internationally to create a better world”.3 Further, one of QMUL’s core values is “ethical”. As students, we feel that being closely linked to companies complicit in systematic and widespread forced labour is incongruous with QMUL’s mission and values.
This policy allows students the opportunity to pave the way for change; to set the standard for more ethical practices. The ends do not justify the means.
What impact will this have?
Students will study in a university that is more ethical in its investments and sources of funding. This policy provides a method to reduce QMUL’s involvement in companies involved in forced labour. It also takes positive steps towards pressuring the complicit companies in investigating and making changes.
Students and the SU will have had a direct impact in alleviating some of the human rights abuses being carried out through forced labour. Students will, once again, be on the right side of history that they can be proud of.
1 Brioni, Levi’s, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Celine, Timberland, Dickies, Vans, Theory, Sephora, Coach, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Chanel, Costco, Hanes, Hermes, Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Kate Spade, Fila, LL Bean, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Li- Ning, The North Face, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, Zara, Zegna, Anta, Jansport, Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft, Oppo, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, Cisco, Electrolux, Muji, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target, Tesco, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Flipkart, Bonobos, Walt Disney, BMW, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VolkswagenThe Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), funded by the UK Government, carried out primary research and analysis on the use of forced labour in Xinjiang, China. ASPI concluded that a number of companies benefited both directly and indirectly from forcedlabour. These companies are listed in the report. Forced labour is a concerning problemin a number of countries. In this particular instance, the systematic and widespread nature of the forced labour warrants QMUL’s specific consideration.
2 Sourced from Freedom of Information requests made of QMUL
QMUL Strategy 2030: Our strategy for the next ten years, May 2019