What is it about?

Based on a narrow scope of review, the OECD NCP of Germany found that Adidas was not responsible under the OECD Guidelines for the adverse human rights effects of the actions of its Indonesian subcontractor in footwear manufacturing.

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Why is it important?

The case is an example of how companies utilize corporate, subcontracting, and investment strategies to avoid responsibility under the OECD Guidelines. The German NCP limited the scope of its review of Adidas's responsibilities for the adverse human rights effects of the actions of a subcontractor in Indonesia even though its main contractor was the subcontractor's primary investor. Wider applicability of the NCP's report may be limited because the narrow scope of review is out of sync with 2017 OECD guidance on due diligence in the garment and footwear manufacturing sectors, where the use of subcontractors is a foreseeable and common practice - especially in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh.


This is a challenging case because the German NCP's 2020 report relates to labor rights abuses in the footwear manufacturing sector in 2012 but does not seem to incorporate lessons learned and guidance developed in the intervening period - including OECD guidance issued in 2017 on due diligence in the footwear and garment manufacturing sectors. If the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster taught the global community anything, it should be that failure to conduct effective human rights due diligence throughout all of the nooks and crannies of global manufacturing and value chains can be devastating not only for workers and local communities but for brands, companies, and the global community.

Tequila Brooks

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: German ncp Releases Final Report under oecd Guidelines on Failure of Adidas to Mitigate Human Rights Effects of Subcontractor Actions in Indonesia, International Labor Rights Case Law, March 2021, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/24056901-07010005.
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