What do modern slavery, climate change, and COVID-19 have to do with each other? They’re all issues impacting garment workers around the globe, and will be put under a spotlight in this year’s upcoming Ethical Fashion Report. Published annually since 2013, the Ethical Fashion Report is Australia’s leading publication on ethical fashion and sustainability, helping consumers make better choices.
‘The fashion industry is a huge global industry with enormous influence on people’s lives and the environment,’ said Peter Keegan, Director of Advocacy at Baptist World Aid Australia. ‘It’s crucial that companies work to improve their supply chains to minimise risk to their workers and to the environment. Our informed decisions put pressure on them to act.’
This year, the Report shines a light on modern slavery, climate change, and 18 months of COVID-19. It explores how the fashion industry has – or hasn’t – addressed each of these pressing issues in their supply chains. Below are some themes and questions that we explore:
- Right now, there are more than 40 million people trapped in modern slavery. 2021 has seen the first suite of Australian Modern Slavery Statements submitted to the government from businesses with revenue greater than $100 million. With modern slavery now a topic of importance at company board level—and a real concern in countries where many of Baptist World Aid’s partners work— how have fashion industry practices changed, and what does this mean for affected workers?
- COVID continues to wreak havoc across the globe, with ongoing lockdowns both in Australia and in countries where our clothing is made. Last year, the COVID Fashion Report uncovered the dire circumstances supply chain disruption exposed garment workers to, and what fashion companies were doing to minimise this impact. A year and half on, how are companies addressing this impact?
- When it comes to climate, we know the global fashion industry contributes up to 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. But what are Aussie fashion companies doing to reduce their climate impact? The Ethical Fashion Report unravels the detail behind climate commitments, emissions reduction targets, and the tangible actions companies are taking to reduce their contribution to the climate crisis.
This year is also the first time that Baptist World Aid is releasing the raw score grade brackets. These show the criteria for each grade and why companies have scored their respective grades.
Following last year’s special COVID edition, this year’s Ethical Fashion Guide has returned to its usual format. Our Ethical Fashion Team has been hard at work over the past nine months researching and working collaboratively alongside 98 companies—which represent more than 400 brands— assessing and grading them on their efforts to address forced labour, worker exploitation and environmental harm.
‘As individuals we do have agency to contribute to the solution through our own advocacy and purchasing,to encourage companies to prioritise fairness for everyone involved in making their clothes,’ Keegan said. Let’s get to it.
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