Transparency is trending3 months ago
By the end of this month, popular online fashion retailer ASOS is set to publish a list of the factories where it produces its own-brand products. ASOS is not alone in disclosing some of their manufacturers. Last week Uniqlo revealed the names and addresses of 146 of its core factory partners. When we published the first edition of the Fashion Transparency Index with Ethical Consumer magazine in April 2016, we looked at 40 leading global fashion brands and found that only 5 brands (adidas, Converse, H&M, Levi Strauss & Co and H&M) published a list of their manufacturers and only 2 (adidas and H&M) published the names and addresses of sub-contractors or fabric/yarn suppliers.
Since April 2016 many more brands have decided to publicly disclose their supplier lists. Marks & Spencer has published an interactive map of its suppliers in both food and clothing, which spans 53 countries and covers 1,229 factories employing 787,331 workers. In the past year Gap, C&A, VF Corporation (which owns more than 20 brands including The North Face, Timberland, Vans and Wrangler) and Australia’s Jeanswest have all revealed the names and addresses of the factories that manufacture their clothing around the world. Publishing supplier lists is important because it helps NGOs, unions, local communities and even workers themselves to alert brands of any potential human rights and environmental issues in their supply chains. This sort of transparency makes it easier for the relevant parties to understand what went wrong, who is responsible and how to fix it. It also helps consumers better understand #whomademyclothes.
Below, we have put together a longer list of 96 brands (those over £36 million in annual turnover or part of larger parent company) that are publishing lists of their suppliers. The information they provide varies widely. Some publish every factory where their clothes are manufactured. Others may only reveal a selected portion of their manufacturers, such as their core high-volume suppliers, factories located just in one country or only the factories the company owns.
Some brands will publish very basic information — just a name and country — whereas others will disclose more detailed information such as the factory’s address, number of workers, types of products the factory makes, gender breakdown of the workers in the factory, and so on. There is no standard format for disclosure. However, we believe brands should be disclosing more than just a name and country. We will be pushing brands to provide a greater level of detail in their supplier lists, and you can encourage them to do so too. Check out the new Get Involved packs for ideas on how to influence brands to be more transparent about their suppliers.
The tide is changing and we are moving into a new era. There’s still a long way to go, but these lists are an excellent beginning as they help all of us that love and care about fashion to participate in making the industry more accountable.
This list doesn’t yet distinguish the level of detail brands are publishing; it’s also not exhaustive. If you are aware of other brands (over £36 million in annual turnover or equivalent in another currency) that are publishing their factory lists, please let us know at email@example.com, we will be sure to add them below.
Please note: We are not endorsing the brands included in this list; this is not a ‘seal of approval.’ While publishing supplier lists is a necessary step towards greater transparency and improved conditions in fashion supply chains, it does not guarantee ethical business practices. However, we hope you find this list informative and continue to ask brands #whomademyclothes.
Brands who publish supplier lists (tier one only):
& Other Stories (H&M group)
Columbia Sportswear Co.
Fruit of the Loom
George at Asda
Hudson’s Bay Company
Levi Strauss & Co.
Lord & Taylor
Marks & Spencer
Rider’s by Lee
Rock & Republic
Sak’s Fifth Avenue
The North Face
Vanity Fair Lingerie
Vans Off The Wall
Next month on 24th April we will launch the 2017 edition of the Fashion Transparency Index, which reviews and ranks 100 of the biggest global fashion and apparel brands and retailers according to how much information they disclose about their suppliers, supply chain policies and practices, and social and environmental impact. Stay tuned!