Australia: Ethical Fashion Report grades 130 companies based on efforts to mitigate forced labour, child labour & exploitation in supply chains

Baptist World Aid Australia has released its 2019 Ethical Fashion Report, which sheds light on what the industry and individual companies are doing to address forced labour, child labour and exploitation.

2019 Ethical Fashion Report

The report grades 130 Australian companies from A to F, based on the efforts undertaken by each company to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. Higher grades are given to companies with ethical sourcing systems that, if implemented well, should reduce the extent of worker exploitation and environmental harm. These assessments consider three critical stages of the supply chain as a proxy for the entire supply chain: raw materials, inputs production and final stage manufacturing. 

The findings reveal that Australian fashion brands are becoming more transparent about how they make their clothes, but there is still much more to be done on workers’ rights, living wage and environmental impact. 38% of companies assessed had improved their rating from the previous year and 24 of the 130 companies achieved an A rating (from A– up to A+). Top ranked fashion brands included Outland Denim, Etiko, Mighty Good Undies, Freeset T-shirts, Icebreaker and Liminal Apparel who all scored A+.

However, 34 companies were graded at either a D+ down to an F grade and the median grading of the companies on human rights and welfare was a D.

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Article
10 April 2019

Australia: Fashion brands found to need improvement on workers' rights, living wage & environmental impact

Author: Alexandra Spring, The Guardian

"Australian fashion brands must improve on workers' rights, report says", 10 April 2019

Australian fashion brands are becoming more transparent about how they make their clothes, but there is still much more to be done on workers’ rights, living wage and environmental impact... according to the findings in the latest Ethical Fashion report... which surveyed more than 130 companies with 480 brands...

[T]his year’s survey showed that 38% of the companies surveyed had improved their rating... led by customers calling for greater transparency as well as fashion companies changing their own practices and cultures.

...24 of the 130 achieving an A rating (from A– up to A+). Top ranked fashion brands included Outland Denim, Etiko, Mighty Good Undies, Freeset T-shirts, Icebreaker and Liminal Apparel who all scored A+.

The bad news... was that 34 companies were graded at either a D+ down to an F grade, although... “It’s not that they are actively exploiting people in their supply chain, they just won’t tell us, and they won’t give public information that we can assess separately....”

Unfortunately many company gradings on human rights and welfare remained disappointing... “The median grading of the companies was a D..."

Similarly those paying a living wage were few and far between: “Even though close to 50% of the companies are developing policies and expressing an intent, only 5% could actually demonstrate that they are doing this in the latter stages of the production process...”

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Article
10 April 2019

Ethical Fashion Report rates Australian fashion brands from A+ to F

Author: SBS News

"Ethical Fashion Report rates Australian fashion brands from A+ to F", 11 April 2019

...The sixth Ethical Fashion Report...graded 130 apparel companies, including 480 brands, from A+ to F on their policies, transparency, worker rights, and environmental management.

The 2019 report revealed Australia's best and worst performers... with Etiko, Outland Denim, Kookai, Cotton On and Country Road among those handed an A- or above.

...Poor Australian performers included the Noni B Group, which owns brands such as Katies and Miller, swimwear company Tigerlily and discount clothing store Lowes....

Brands with an A+ rating

Etiko, Freeset T-Shirts, Icebreaker, Kowtow, Liminal Apparel, Mighty Good Undies, Outland Denim, adidas

Brands with an F rating

Ally Fashion, Baby City, Bec and Bridge, Bloch, Camilla and Marc, C&M, Farmers, P.E. Nation, Lover, Cooper St, Rebecca Vallance, Jasmine & Will, Lowes, Beare & Ley, Merric, Pavement, Lemonade, Non Sense, Petals, Pom Pom, Co Co Beach, Zom-B, Scram, Wax, Showpo, 3 Wise Men, T&T, The Baby Factory, Cooper by Trelise, little trelise, Trelise Cooper, Jump, Kachel, Ping Pong, Wish

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Report
9 April 2019

2019 Ethical Fashion Report: The Truth Behind the Barcode

Author: Baptist World Aid Australia

"2019 Ethical Fashion Report", April 2019

...The 2019 Ethical Fashion Report grades 130 companies from A+ to F, based on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour, and exploitation in their supply chains... Most noteworthy areas of improvement in 2019 are:

Gender inequality 61% of companies (an increase of 22%) have created policies addressing gender inequality in their supply chain....

Responsible purchasing practices 45% of companies (an increase of 18%) have introduced policies addressing responsible purchasing practices....

Child and forced labour 35% of companies (an increase of 17%) have robust remediation plans to redress child or forced labour if it is found in their supply chain.

Manufacturing Restrictive Substance List (MRSL) 35% of companies (an increase of 14%) have a comprehensive MRSL that they test against to ensure workers are not exposed to hazardous chemicals with dire environmental impacts.

Traceability... remains a significant challenge across the industry. While 69% of companies could demonstrate tracing all final stage suppliers, only 18% have traced all inputs suppliers, and just 8% have traced all raw material suppliers.

Transparency... 37% of companies have published a complete list of all final stage suppliers, increasing to 50% when including companies that have published information about at least some suppliers...

Living wage...48% of companies assessed reported that they had started to develop a living wage methodology and 24% of companies had published a commitment to pay a living wage.

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