It’s Fashion Revolution Week this week, from 24-30 April, with the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign. The idea is for everyone to start asking, and exploring, the supply chain that their (your) clothes come from. If that sounds heavy and boring, you’d be wrong. Fashion Revolution have put together some really creative and inspired information around this – my favourite being their fanzine which you can read for free here.
So in honour of Fashion Revolution Week I decided to look at this topic. And not at all coincidentally, Baptist World Aid Australia have just released their amazing annual report, ‘The 2017 Ethical Fashion Report: The Truth Behind The Barcode’ which has given me lots of information around this. The report rates 106 clothing brands according to how ethical they are. The score is based on four criteria: Policies; Knowing their Suppliers; Auditing and Supplier Relationships; and Worker Empowerment.
I thought I’d share the scores of some of the bigger brands that are available here in SA. Maybe one of these is your favourite, and you might be pleasantly surprised – hopefully! If not, maybe this is a good reason to send them an email. (I’ve been advised never to underestimate the power of gentle nagging! J)
Baptist World Aid Australia write: “Companies with the best grades (A and A+) are those companies that have a strong code of conduct, are investing substantially in knowing who their suppliers are, and are actively monitoring and building relationships with those suppliers to ensure adherence to their code of conduct. These companies are also actively seeking to empower workers and taking active measures to ensure that their workers are receiving a living wage. It is important to note that a high grade does not mean that a company has a supply chain which is free from exploitation. Rather, it is an indicator of the efforts undertaken and the strength of the systems a company has in place to reduce the risk of exploitation.” [My emphasis added]
You can find the full report here – which gives a more detailed breakdown of these scores and what they actually mean.
- Adidas Group – adidas, reebok & TaylorMade: A-
- Arcadia Group – Topshop & Topman: C+
- Ben Sherman: C-
- Billabong: C+
- Cotton On Group – Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids: A-
- Country Road Group – Country Road, Mimco, Trenery, Witchery: B+
- David Jones: B+
- Esprit: B+
- Forever New: B
- Gap: B-
- H&M: B+
- L Brands – Victoria’s Secret: D+
- Lacoste: C+
- Levi Strauss & Co. – Dockers & Levi’s: B+
- Nike: C+
- Puma: B-
- Quicksilver – Quicksilver & Roxy: C
- Rip Curl: C+
- Seafolly: B-
- VF Corporation – The North Face, Timberland, Vans, Wrangler: B-
What surprises me is that often the more premium brands have a lower score. I guess I had (incorrectly) assumed with higher margins and more money, they’d have a better track record.