Adidas and Reebok have topped the index for the third year in a row and Patagonia have been included for the first time © Adidas
Adidas and Reebok have topped the index for the third year in a row and Patagonia have been included for the first time © Adidas

Sportswear brands lead the way on transparency

24 April 2019

Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia have topped the Fashion Revolution transparency index of 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than US$500m, published today.

The three brands all scored 64% for their progress in moving towards ethical supply chains.

Percentage scores are given based on a number of criteria which have various weightings and are based on information disclosed about supply chain policies.

This marks the third year running that Adidas and Reebok have topped the index, while Patagonia is included in the index for the first time. 

The criteria used to judge the relative performance of companies range from the disclosure of human rights and environmental policies and commitments, to traceability and how responsibility is governed throughout the business.

The annual transparency index is compiled by Fashion Revolution, an NGO campaigning for ethical supply chains.

There are signs of progress, with a 9% increase in the average score achieved by 98 brands reviewed since 2017.

But the average score achieved by brands last year was just 21% and no brand scored above 64% which shows “there is still a long way to go towards transparency,” the report said.

Tom Ford, Elie Tahari, Mexx, Jessica Simpson and Youngor each scored zero for failing to disclose any information. 

Among the brands revealing the most information about their policies were Esprit, H&M, C&A, ASOS and Puma.

And 11 brands, including the likes of Dior, Sainsbury’s, Nike, New Balance and Marc Jacobs, improved their scores by more than 10% which demonstrates significant efforts to be more transparent, according to the report.

The number of companies publishing supplier lists also increased, with 70 brands disclosing their first-tier manufacturers, 38 identifying their second-tier processing facilities and 10 revealing their suppliers of raw materials.

The report also highlighted the responsibility of fashion brands to share information publicly about their own commitments and efforts to be responsible business partners for their suppliers.

Less than one in ten (9%) of brands disclose a formal process for gathering supplier feedback on the company's purchasing practices. And just 6.5% of brands publish a policy of paying their suppliers within 60 days.

Sarah Ditty, policy director at Fashion Revolution and author of the report said: “Detailed information about the outcomes and impacts of their efforts is still lacking. The average score amongst the biggest fashion brands and retailers is just 21%, showing that there are still far too many big brands lagging behind."

She added: “Major brands are disclosing very little information and data about their purchasing practices, which means that we still don’t have visibility into what brands are doing to be responsible business partners to their suppliers.” 

Fashion Revolution transparency index top performers:

1. Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia (64% each)

2. Esprit (62%)

3. H&M (61%)

4. C&A (60%)

5. ASOS (59%)

6. Puma (58%)

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