Retailers Armani, Primark, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Walmart have been urged by a trio of human rights groups to publicly disclose the factories that produce their clothes.
As part of the #GoTransparent campaign, led by Human Rights Watch, Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and International Labour Rights Forum, 70,000 consumers signed a petition urging the five major brands to share the factories that manufacture their garments and make transparency their New Year’s resolution.
Last year, the #GoTransparent campaign introduced a minimum global standard of transparency for the garment sector called the Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge, with 17 brands committing to disclose more information about their suppliers and workers.
Ben Vanpeperstraete, spokesman for the CCC, said the petition specifically targeted the five brands because they failed to commit to the pledge.
“Any brand that refuses to share information about their supply chain should be a huge red flag for consumers,” he said.
“What are these brands hiding? If brands are taking the necessary steps to prevent labour abuses in their supply chains, then they should eagerly want to share detailed information about the factories and workers who make their clothes with the public.”
The CCC added that the five brands “appeared to be out of sync with the growing trend of transparency in the garment industry” and pointed to other global brands, which have taken steps to increase supply chain visibility.
It said last year, online fashion store Asos and global retailer New Look, along with other brands, committed to the #GoTransparent pledge and made their suppliers and other supply chain components readily available to consumers.
Responding to the petition, Primark released a statement about its transparency efforts.
“We regularly share transparent and detailed information on our supply chain as part of our voluntary commitments to a number of organisations, for example the Bangladesh Accord and the International Labour Organisation’s Better Work programme,” it said.
“We take the issue of transparency seriously and recognise that there is always more work to be done in ensuring our products are made with respect for workers’ rights, the environment, as well as how we communicate our work in this area.”
The petition comes as global authorities push for the better treatment of garment workers and more sustainable supply chains.
In August 2017, the US Department of Labour piloted a new supply chain app, where brands could develop stronger social compliance systems in their supply chains.
In November designer Stella McCartney and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation also launched a roadmap for the garment industry that reduces fashion’s carbon footprint.
In December, the UK government pledged $53m to fight modern slavery in the garment industry.
The 17 brands that signed the transparency pledge are Adidas, Asics, Asos, C&A, Clarks, Cotton On Group, Esprit, G-Star Raw, H&M Group, Hanesbrands, Levis, Lindex, New Look, Next, Nike, Patagonia and Pentland Brands.
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