Transparency remains a problem in the fashion industry

Sustainability is generally distinguished by its environmental aspect for all sectors including fashion, but it also has economic and social dimensions. In this sense, transparency is of great importance for consumers to know what they are wearing and who is doing it, under what conditions their clothes are made and with what impact on the environment. Fashion Revolution, a non-profit organization, shared developments in transparency in the fashion supply chain in its 2021 update to Out of Sight: A Call for Transparency from Field to Textile. The report said that supply chain transparency has increased among 63 major fashion brands and retailers, but progress has remained rather slow and shallow.

Only 2 out of 63 brands reveal the full list of their textile production sites.

Only 2 of the 63 brands revealed the full list of their textile production sites, an increase of 1 compared to last year, while 49 of them revealed the top-tier manufacturers where garments are cut and sewed, an increase of 2 compared to last year. to last year, according to the report. 29 brands disclosed processing facilities such as dyestuffs, while only 28 brands disclosed production sites such as textile mills and 44% of brands disclose at least some of their textile production sites. This means an increase of 13 percentage points over last year.

Fashion brands’ opaque impedes accountability

The report notes that the lack of clarity in supply chains allows unsafe working conditions and environmental destruction to flourish, as well as obscuring who has responsibility and authority to address these problems. For many years, there were reports of labor abuses that continued to surface in the textile mills, informal workshops, tanneries, dyestuffs, and plantations around the world that supply the global fashion industry. Recent investigations into the forced labor of Uyghur people to produce cotton and textile products in Xinjiang, China, are among the most recent notable examples in this sense. The lack of transparency from international fashion brands surrounding where cotton is produced is blocking the chain of accountability for the human rights crisis.

Transparency remains a problem in the fashion industry

“There is a real need for transparency beyond the first level of industrialization”

Ciara Barry, Fashion Revolution Policy and Research Coordinator said. “There is a real need for transparency beyond the first level of industrialization, with millions of hidden workers facing labor abuses to manufacture the fabrics in our clothes.” Barry stressed that brands must urgently take responsibility for environmental impacts and human rights across entire supply chains, and stated that this begins with disclosure of all textile production facilities in their supply chains.”

Who made my clothes?

Fashion Revolution was founded after the Rana Plaza building collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing 1,134 garment workers and has since been calling for greater transparency and accountability in the global fashion industry. The organization is calling for everyone to be able to know how, where, by whom and under what conditions their clothes are made, wherever they are, and is working to raise awareness in the field through the #WhoMadeMyFabric campaign.

The report calls on major brands and retailers to expand supply chain transparency by disclosing all textile manufacturing facilities in their supply chains, with citizens everywhere calling for greater transparency beyond the first tier by asking brands #WhoMadeMyFabric? on social media. They are also inviting producers to share their stories using #IMadeYourFabric so that people can connect more closely with the people who produce the fabrics and raw materials in the clothes they wear.

Photo: Athena Korda

Carbon emissions in the supply chain must be traced back to raw materials

The report also discusses the issue of transparency with the aspect of environmental impact and states that more than 70% of emissions in fashion supply chains occur during the production and processing of raw materials. However, only 17% of brands publish their carbon footprint at the raw material level and 26% at the production/process level, while 62% publish emissions for their own operations and facilities. While 44% of brands disclose data on renewable energy use in their directed operations and only 7% disclose data on renewable energy use in the supply chain, only 18% disclose data on the absolute limit of energy in the supply chain. The report notes that this may be due to the difficulty of capturing carbon and energy data down the supply chain, as brands need to rely more on estimates, as environmental data may not be monitored and measured within their suppliers’ facilities. He argues that major brands cannot accurately measure their climate impacts if they do not track carbon emissions in the supply chain down to the level of raw materials.

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