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Fashion Revolution report notes lack of transparency in supply chains

By Rachel Douglass

Dec 3, 2021

Business

Image: Fashion Revolution

In a 2021 update of its ‘Out of Sight: A Call for Transparency from Field to Fabric’ report, Fashion Revolution has suggested supply chain transparency was increasing, but at an incline that remains both too slow and shallow.

Among the 63 major fashion brands examined by the organisation, it was reported that only two disclose a full list of their textile production sites, an increase of just one from last year’s report. 49 of the brands are now publishing the first-tier manufacturers where their garments are cut and sewn, while 29 brands are disclosing processing facilities such as dye houses.

Furthermore, 44 percent of brands are sharing some of their textile production sites. The number has increased from 13 percent since last year.

According to the report, the lack of visibility of supply chains can enable exploitative, unsafe working conditions and environmental damage to continue while obscuring responsibility for the issues. The organisation states that: “Anyone, anywhere should be able to find out how, where, by whom and under what conditions their clothes are made”.

Out of all the brands listed in the report, only G-Star Raw, OVS, Pentland and VF Corp met or partially met the nine required transparency factors detailed by Fashion Revolution. These factors included authorised production units, processing facilities and textile production sites, with alternating tiers.

Levi Strauss and Co., PVH Group, Zalando, Puma and Asos were among the brands following close behind, only missing one of the nine disclosure reports. Some brands and companies were reported to have not disclosed any information at all, including the likes of Inditex, Decathlon, Fashion Nova, JD Sports and Ralph Lauren.

Ciara Barry, policy and research coordinator, said in a statement: “There is a real need for transparency beyond the first tier of manufacturing, where millions of hidden workers face labour abuses to make the fabrics in our clothes. Brands must urgently take responsibility for the environmental and human rights impacts across their entire supply chains. This starts with disclosing all textile production facilities in their supply chains.”

An industry-wide call to action

Within the report, Fashion Revolution calls for major brands and retailers to expand supply chain transparency by disclosing all textile production facilities in their supply chains. It also asks for the involvement of consumers, to pose the question ‘Who made my fabric?’ through social media posts directed at brands. An additional part of the reports further asks producers to share their own stories, using the dedicated hashtag #IMadeYourFabric, so buyers can connect more closely with producers and suppliers of fabric and raw materials.

The report comes alongside the nonprofit’s ongoing #WhoMadeMyFabric campaign, appealing to consumers to demand greater transparency around the first tier of the supply chain, textiles. The campaign, which has run throughout the course of 2021, has seen thousands of activations since its launch, emphasising the importance of public disclosure of processing facilities and textile mills in brand supply chains.