Fashion Revolution’s latest report published on Thursday shows that fashion is unconcerned about measurable progress on burning sustainability issues.
Now in its seventh edition, the Fashion Transparency Index is an annual report that ranks 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers based on publicly available data on human rights and environmental issues. Since November, Fashion Revolution has been conducting its research for this year’s report, including the engagement and reach of qualifying brands. The Laudes Foundation is among the funding partners.
According to the report, major sustainability issues such as overproduction, supply chain transparency and living wage data continually fall by the wayside. Brands represent a cross section of the industry and are ranked between 0 and 100 percent (the higher the better), based on their disclosure in a 246-deep questionnaire. The questionnaire covers a wide range of social and environmental topics, including animal welfare, chemical and water management, climate, forced labor, living wages, purchasing practices, supplier disclosure, and waste.
Brands achieved an average score of just 24 percent, with nearly a third of brands scoring below 10 percent.
Among the top performers according to Fashion Revolution tallies was Italian brand OVS, which again scored the highest this year at 78 per cent, tied with Kmart Australia and Target Australia. H&M, The North Face and Timberland followed suit, tied at 66 percent. A notable mover and shaker this year was Dutch clothing chain Zeeman for going further in its due diligence-aligned supplier code of conduct.
At the bottom rung of the placement, 17 major brands scored a dismal 0 percent, including Jil Sander, Fashion Nova, Max Mara, Tom Ford and Elie Tahari. The findings weren’t prescriptive for each brand, but did point to a lack of public disclosure about governance, policies, and more.
Climate, supplier due diligence and forced labor indicators are among the weak points affecting the overall scores.
Despite the urgency of the climate crisis, less than a third of major brands disclose a decarbonization target covering their entire supply chain, which is verified by the Climate-Based Targets Initiative common corporate safeguard. science. Only 11 percent of brands publish their suppliers’ wastewater test results, despite the textile industry being a major contributor to water pollution. And the majority of brands, or 85 percent, do not disclose their annual production volumes despite growing clothing waste. The majority of major brands and retailers, or 96 percent, do not publish the number of workers in their supply chain who are paid a living wage.
Liv Simpliciano, Fashion Revolution research and policy manager and reporting research lead, emphasized in a phone conversation with WWD: “They’re all interlinked and nuanced…What surprised me the most was the overall score of 125 out of 250 brands.” it’s between 0 and 5 percent. I think it’s really hard that we have so little information.”
Focusing on a few outliers, he said purchasing practices are in an “abysmal” state of affairs with just 11 percent of brands meeting a recommended purchasing code of conduct that defines 60-day payment terms. . Payment terms affect the ability of manufacturers and workers to be paid in a timely manner.
Simpliciano also drew attention to how this year’s report includes new indicators of modern slavery. Forced labor became an area of scrutiny amid Xinjiang’s contaminated cotton and ongoing investigations into UK fast fashion retailers.
Guidelines such as the Employer Pays Principle, which instructs companies on responsible hiring (since fashion is an attractive industry for migrant workers who are hired by factories and may face few entry-level alternatives if they are undocumented) and on the total payment of the contracting costs, support the Recommendations and methodology of Fashion Revolution. “I think it’s also important to remember that indebted workers are less likely to negotiate for higher wages because they are already in a vulnerable and exploited position,” Simpliciano said.
Fashion Revolution believes that after transparency comes great scrutiny, accountability, and ultimately change.
Simpliciano said he expects a “reckoning” of fashion transparency in the near future, given the controversy surrounding leading tools. The non-profit organization will be part of an upcoming initiative called “Good Clothes, Fair Pay” to be launched on July 19 with the aim of raising awareness and signatures for living wage legislation in the EU. Fashion Revolution also runs public campaigns like their infamous “Who made my clothes?”