A Reuters investigation of a recycling program in Singapore, which found donated shoes for sale in neighboring Indonesia, has prompted Indonesian authorities to tighten import controls.
On February 25th, Reuters revealed that footwear donated for use in the construction of new jogging tracks and playgrounds was instead exported for resale in Indonesia. Reuters donated 11 pairs of shoes through the program and tracked ten pairs to markets in Batam and Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Indonesian government responded to the report’s findings, saying it will tighten customs checks at ports to crack down on the illegal importation of second-hand shoes. Indonesia Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartsasmita said in a release, “This incident shows that the illegal import of used shoes is carried out in an organised manner and misuses social projects. The practice of illegal importation of used shoes must be stopped because it has a bad impact on the domestic footwear industry.”
Two days after the report’s publication, the Singapore recycling scheme’s partners issued a joint statement, apologizing for the “lapse” in the supply chain handling the donated goods.
Reuters correspondent Joe Brock said, “There has been a huge public response to the story, and it resulted in policy change in Indonesia. Singaporeans have vented their frustrations about ‘greenwashing’, and the companies involved in the project have now apologised to the public. What’s clear from the response is that the public wants corporate green initiatives to be more transparent and accountable.”
Read this and all Reuters investigations on Reuters.com.
jj.minder @ tr.com