Levi Strauss, high street giant H&M and the Spanish owner of Zara, Inditex, are among the companies to receive top scores when well-known fashion brands were ranked for their transparency standards in a new study.
In the Fashion Transparency Index compiled by UK not-for-profit Fashion Revolution and research co-operative Ethical Consumer, 40 major companies are ranked on how open they are about their supply chains.
Brands were assessed via a questionnaire and by information they made publicly available.
Nike and Adidas were also ranked highly, while luxury brands including Chanel,Hermès, Prada and Louis Vuitton were among the lowest ranked and were accused of a lack of transparency.
The average score for the 40 brands surveyed was 42% out of 100, with Levi Strauss & Co coming top at 77%.
Chanel came bottom with just 10%, followed by Forever 21, Claire’s Accessories, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Prada.
The results send “a strong signal that luxury brands in particular have much more work to do”, the report said.
The research said that while most companies have publicly available policies on environmental and labour standards there is little public sign that they are thinking long-term about sustainability strategies.
40% of companies did not appear to have a system in place to monitor compliance with labour standards, and to continually improve standards.
Only five (Adidas, H&M, Levi Strauss and Nike, which includes Converse) published a list of all or most of their “Cut-Make-Trim” suppliers, the suppliers responsible for finishing the garments.
However, the report said 60% of companies appeared to be tracking CMT suppliers but were not publishing this information publicly.
Only two Adidas and H&M were said to publish details of their second-tier suppliers, responsible for fabric and yarn, or of subcontracted suppliers.
Some 28% of companies were accused of not communicating about monitoring difficult issues in the supply chain such as improving conditions for homeworkers or eliminating forced labour.
H&M, Inditex, Levi Strauss & Co, Primark and PVH were said to be most involved in the multi-stakeholder initiatives such as working with trade unions or NGOs to improve working conditions.
While Fashion Revolution said it sent a questionnaire to 40 fashion companies only 10 replied. Others were assessed based on information they made public online.
"Therefore these companies may have received lower scores while companies who did fill out the questionnaire had the opportunity to tell us more and thus potentially score higher," said the report.