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Fashion’s transparency continues to disappoint according to 2022 Fashion Revolution index

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: Unsplash

A new Fashion Transparency Index published by nonprofit Fashion Revolution has once again highlighted fashion’s lack of progress in transparency, with it this time emphasising the urgency needed to tackle both the climate crisis and social inequality.

Now in its seventh edition, the index has ranked 250 of the largest international fashion brands and retailers, collating data based on their public disclosure of human rights and environmental policies across operations and supply chains. Out of those ranked, nearly a third of brands scored less than 10 percent, with the average score being just 24 percent.

A staggering 96 percent of the brands were found to have not published the number of workers paid living wage in their supply chain, while only 27 percent have disclosed their approach to achieving living wages for their employees. As a response, Fashion Revolution said it was teaming up with its allies to launch ‘Good Clothes, Fair Pay’, a campaign demanding for living wage legislation across the garment, textile and footwear industries. The organisation is hoping to collect one million signatures from EU citizens via a dedicated site.

Go beyond lip service

Additionally, despite mounting pressure towards waste textile, 85 percent of brands have not disclosed their annual production volumes. The nonprofit also noted that almost half of major brands published targets on sustainable materials, however only 37 percent actually provided information on what sustainable materials actually were. Highlighting new legislations around greenwashing, Fashion Revolution expressed concern for brands not delivering in this area.

A further issue stressed by the organisation was that of brands using their channels to talk about social justice, with it stating that they needed to “go beyond lip service”. In its report, Fashion Revolution found that just eight percent of brands actually published their actions on racial and ethnic equality in their supply chains.

“It is frustrating to see brands’ continued lack of transparency on critical issues like their waste volumes, carbon and water footprints and workers being paid a living wage,” said Liv Simpliciano, Fashion Revolution’s policy and research manager, in a release.

Simpliciano added: “When there is a lack of transparency on the issue itself, we cannot reasonably understand if what is being done is robust enough to drive the impact we so urgently need. Transparency empowers civil society and workers’ representatives and until brands publicly disclose all the information necessary to hold them accountable for their impacts, being un-transparent feels like a deliberate strategy to reinforce the status quo.”

Tom Ford and Jil Sander among lowest scorers

However, despite the dire results, Fashion Revolution did state that there were some encouraging signs of changes, including nine brands disclosing their first-tier manufacturers for the first time this year. It also saw some brands significantly move up in its ratings. While Kmart Australia and Target Australia were tied with Italian brand OVS as the highest scorers, with 78 percent, Calzedonia Group, owners of Intimissimi, increased its score from 11 percent to 54 percent in just one year. Additionally, H&M, The North Face and Timberland also sat at the top of the list, each tied with a score of 66 percent.

However, a total of 17 brands scored a zero percent rating this year, including Jil Sander, Fashion Nova, New Yorker, Max Mara, Tom Ford, K-Way, Justfab, Mexx and Splash. A further 73 brands scored in the zero to 10 percent range, with Fashion Revolution stating that it needs to see a significant shift in the next 12 months if “brands are serious in their commitment” to tackling global issues.

Fashion revolution
Fashion Transparency Index