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Fashion supply chains 'still not transparent enough'

Global fashion brands are still not disclosing enough information about their impact on the lives of workers in their supply chains and on the environment, research published today has revealed.

UK-based not-for-profit organisation Fashion Revolution’s second annual Fashion Transparency Index ranks how much information 100 of the biggest global fashion companies publish about their social and environmental policies, practices and impact.

The report was published today to mark the fourth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, when 1,135 garment workers were killed.

The average score achieved was 49 out of 250. Adidas and Reebok achieved the highest score of 121.5 out of 250, followed by Marks & Spencer with 120 points and H&M with 119.5 points.

Fashion Revolution said the fact that none of the companies scored more than 50% shows there is still a long way to go before brands are truly transparent.

“Tragedies like Rana Plaza are eminently preventable, but will continue to happen until brands and every other stakeholder in the fashion supply chain take responsibility for their actions and impacts,” said Fashion Revolution co-founder Carry Somers. “Transparency is the first step towards making this happen.”

Fashion Revolution’s index shows that few brands disclose details of their efforts to pay the local living wage, introduce collective bargaining and reduce consumption of resources in their supply chains.

It found only 34 brands have made public commitments to paying living wages to workers in the supply chain, and only four brands – H&M, Marks & Spencer, New Look and Puma – are reporting on progress towards achieving this aim.

However, it noted that progress has been made when it comes to publishing supplier lists. Today, 31 of the brands it tracks have published their lists, among them Asos, Benetton, C&A, Esprit, Gap, M&S, Uniqlo and VF Corporation brands – up from five last year.

Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, which are all part of Gap Inc, scored highest on traceability (44%) because their supplier list includes detailed information such as types of products or services and number of workers in each supplier facility.

The Rana Plaza complex housed five factories supplying global brands, including Primark and Benetton, at the time the building collapsed in April 2013.

The disaster led to the creation of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a legally binding, five-year commitment to improve safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment factories. It covers 676 active factories with around 1.2 million workers.

Earlier this month, the Alliance revealed that its affiliated factories have completed 72% of the repairs they were found to require during an investigation following Rana Plaza. Of the repairs completed, 64% were deemed high priority.


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