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Transparent fashion

Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index reveals the world's top 100 fashion brands still have a long way to go
Ask Who Made My Clothes?

Many of the biggest global brands that make our clothes still don’t disclose enough information about their impact on the lives of workers in their supply chain and on the environment, according to new research released in Fashion Revolution Week 2017.

Transparent supply chains

Transparent disclosure makes it easier for brands, suppliers, workers, trade unions and NGOs to see what went wrong when human rights and environmental abuses occur, and understand who is responsible and how to fix it.

Fashion Revolution is calling for greater transparency as the first step in ending the suffering and pollution created by the way fashion is currently made, sourced and consumed.

‘The time has come for brands and retailers to make their entire supply chains transparent. The time has also come to establish sourcing practices that are conducive to the human development and empowerment of the workers who work so hard every day to make the clothes we wear.’

Director, Centre for Global Workers’ Rights Penn State University

Global fashion brands ranked

The Fashion Transparency Index 2017 reviews and ranks how much information 100 of the biggest global fashion companies publish about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts.

Brands were awarded points based on their level of transparency across five categories, including: policy & commitments, governance, traceability, supplier assessment and remediation and spotlight issues, which looks at living wages, collective bargaining and business model innovation.

Brands were selected to represent a cross section of market segments including high street, luxury, sportswear, accessories, footwear and denim sectors.

‘People have the right to know that their money is not supporting exploitation, human rights abuses and environmental destruction. There is no way to hold companies and governments to account if we can’t see what is truly happening behind the scenes. This is why transparency is so essential.

‘Through publishing this research, we hope brands will be pushed in a more positive direction towards a fundamental shift in the way the system works, beginning with being more transparent.’

Fashion Revolution co-founder

Highest scorers

The research found that even the highest-scoring brands on the list still have a long way to go towards being transparent. The average score brands achieved was 49 out of 250 – less than 20% of the total possible points – and none of the companies on the list scored above 50%.

Adidas and Reebok achieved the highest score of 121.5 out of 250 (49% of the total possible points), followed by Marks & Spencer with 120 points and H&M with 119.5 points.

However, only eight brands scored higher than 40%, while a further nine scored 4% or less out of 250 possible points. Dior, Heilan Home and s.Oliver scored 0 because they disclose nothing at all.

Out of the premium and luxury brands reviewed, nine scored 21-30% of the total possible points, which was higher than the average. The other 10 scored 15% or less.

Disclosing suppliers

The good news is that 32 brands, including ASOS, Benetton, C&A, Esprit, Gap, Lululemon, Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo and VF Corporation brands, are publishing supplier lists. This is an increase from last year, when Fashion Revolution found only five of the 40 big fashion companies surveyed published supplier lists.

This year 14 brands are publishing processing facilities where their clothes are dyed, laundered, printed or treated. However, no brand is publishing its raw material suppliers.

Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy scored highest on traceability (44%) because their supplier lists include detailed information such as types of product or service and approximate number of workers in each supplier facility.

Wage transparency

Few brands disclose efforts on living wages, collective bargaining and reducing consumption of resources (on average 9% of the information required in these categories was disclosed). This is a clear sign that brands must, as a matter of urgency, look at their own business models and purchasing practices.

There is a long way to go before the industry pays a living wage, as only 34 brands have made public commitments to paying living wages to workers in the supply chain.

Only four brands — H&M, Marks & Spencer, New Look and Puma — are reporting on progress towards achieving this aim, showing brands need to do much more – and faster – to ensure that workers, from farm to retail, are paid fairly.

Click here to read or download the Fashion Transparency Index 2017.

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