The Ethical Fashion Report sheds light on what the industry and individual companies are doing to address forced labour, child labour and exploitation. Each report – since the launch of the first in 2013 – has tracked the progress within the industry. The change since 2013 has been significant. In this edition we have assessed 106 companies, awarding each a grade from A to F based on the strength of their labour rights management systems to mitigate the risk of exploitation in their supply chain. This report marks a significant expansion of the work of previous reports adding 50% more companies, updating the research and adopting a new and enhanced rating tool. 78% of the companies assessed directly engaged in the research process – up from 54% in the first report.
This is the fourth edition of the Ethical Fashion Report. It is being launched the week prior to the fourth anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, a tragedy which cut short the lives of 1,134 garment workers. When the factory came down, it simultaneously catapulted the poor and unsafe working conditions of the apparel industry to front page news and to the front of our minds.
The Rana Plaza shocked the collective conscience of consumers and decision makers across the world, helping to accelerate efforts to uphold the rights of workers throughout the entire apparel industry supply chain. Three years on however, the need remains pressing. There are presently 14.2 million people in forced labour exploitation and 168 million child labourers scattered across the global economy. Many of this number are forced to work in the farms and factories that feed the apparel industry. For millions of others working in the industry, wages remain so low that they are unable to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
The grades awarded by the Ethical Fashion Report are a measure of the efforts undertaken by each company to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains. Higher grades are given to companies with labour rights management systems that, if implemented well, should reduce the extent of worker exploitation.
Our research team assesses each company’s labour rights management system according to 40 specific criteria. These assessments consider three critical stages of the supply chain as a proxy for the entire supply chain: raw materials, inputs production and final manufacturing. To find out more about how we grade brands, read our FAQ section.
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