Position Statement - Improper involvement of the Benetton name in a legal action against Adecco in Belgium

With regard to allegations that in 2001 its Belgian subsidiary, Benetton Retail Belgium, requested sales personnel of a specified ethnic origin from ADECCO, Benetton Group SpA hereby declares that this statement is entirely false and seriously damaging to one of the distinguishing foundations of the Group, which has always made multiracialism, multiculturalism, and dialogue between different peoples, a cornerstone of its entrepreneurial philosophy and its tangible day-to-day behaviour.

Indeed, Benetton wishes to draw attention to the fact that in 1978 it had already signed an agreement with various trade union bodies, and that this subsequently evolved into a true code of ethical conduct which in turn, over the following years, became the Code of Ethics, which in section 2,Management of Human Resources states: … the Group is committed to protecting “the principles of transparency and non-discrimination… (e) to screen, recruit, train, remunerate and manage employees without any discrimination whatsoever”.

The Benetton Group also points out that it has thousands of direct and indirect employees in EU Member States, Non-EU Member States and throughout the rest of the world.

Lastly, Benetton reaffirms that forty years of multiethnic and multiracial philosophy and behaviour, and openness to diversity, which have been clearly represented in images over decades of advertising campaigns, must not be tarnished by a false and gratuitous accusation such as the one which appears to transpire from a document of a third party company; a document which, it should be noted, the Benetton Group has never been a party to.

16 June 2011