Adidas and Reebok have again claimed the top spot in Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index, which reviews and ranks 150 major global brands and retailers according to their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts.
Since 2016, Fashion Revolution has tracked leading global brands and benchmarked their performance on five key issues: policy and commitments, governance, traceability, know show and fix, and spotlight issues. Adidas and Reebok scored highest followed by Puma, H&M, Esprit, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, C&A and Marks & Spencer scoring in the 51-60% out of a possible 250 points.
ASOS came shortly behind the top ten, having significantly increased their level of disclosure since last year, followed by Levi Strauss and then The North Face, Timberland, Vans, Wrangler (all owned by VF Corp.), G-Star, Tchibo and Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius and Zara (all owned by Inditex), scoring in the 41-50% range.
In the past two years of conducting this research, we noted that the luxury brands publicly disclose relatively fewer social and environmental policies and practices than other major brands and retailers, but we are starting to see this trend change. Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, YSL and Burberry scored in the 31-40% range, with Hugo Boss increasing its score by 11%, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger increasing their score by 9%, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and YSL increasing their score by 8% and Burberry increasing its score by 7% this year. Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger published a list of their Tier 1 suppliers, whilst Hermès discloses its tier 1 suppliers as well as fabric suppliers and processing facilities.
The way fashion is made, sourced and consumed continues to cause suffering and pollution. Fashion Revolution believes that this urgently needs to change and that the first step is greater transparency.
Transparent disclosure makes it easier for brands, suppliers and workers, trade unions and NGOs to understand what went wrong when human rights and environmental abuses occur, who is responsible and how to fix it. However, it is clear that not enough has changed and change is not happening fast enough. Most companies are still operating in broadly the same way that enabled the Rana Plaza disaster to occur five years ago.
Only 55% of brands and retailers published measurable, time-bound goals on improving environmental impacts, whilst only 37% published goals on improving human rights. Fashion Revolution believes that more brands need to report on progress against these goals. Without this, we have no way of knowing if their policies and procedures are actually driving improvements for the people making our clothes.
More brands and retailers (12% in 2018; 7% in 2017) — but still very few — disclosed how company employees’ incentives are tied to improvements in human rights and environmental management.