Fostering Transparency

by Sarah Ong on Apr 24, 2018

The long, complex, and fragmented apparel supply chain can lead to a lack of transparency and accountability that allows poor working conditions and environmental problems to linger undetected. But we believe transparency can change that. Fostering transparency enables accountability, which in turn incentivizes decision-makers to consider the interests of everyone touched by the industry, not only the interests of the decision makers themselves.  

“Supply chain disclosure that names the buyers and suppliers enables anyone to challenge the accuracy of the data. This creates incentives for brands and retailers to make sure they have their house in order and can help brands and retailers detect unauthorized practices and subcontracting ”, said Sarah Ong, C&A Foundation programme manager. “When disclosure includes comparable information about practices – inside a brand or a factory – the information can be used by workers and their representatives to advocate for better working conditions and purchasing practices”. 

For consumers, credible, accessible and transparent information allows them to make informed choices and ask brands #whomademyclothes. 

“Supply disclosure which names the buyers and suppliers, enables anyone to challenge the accuracy of the data”

Programme Manager, C&A Foundation Sarah Ong

Third Global Fashion Transparency Index 

Together with the European Union, C&A Foundation has supported Fashion Revolution to produce its 2018 Transparency Index report*. Now in its third year, the Index ranks 150 brands and retailers on their public disclosure. Encouragingly, there was a 5% increase in overall level of transparency versus last year, with some brands noticeably improving their disclosure in some areas. 37% of brands and retailers published at least part of their supplier lists up from 32% in 2017 and 12.5% in 2016. At the same time, the authors observed “brands and retailers give a lot more time and space to explain their values and beliefs rather than their practices and impacts” and the “information shared by the main brands and retailers remains difficult to navigate, jargon-heavy and shallow”. There is still a long way to go. 

Read the 2018 Edition of the Transparency Index here

A Fashion Transparency Index for Brazil 

The apparel industry in Brazil accounts for 5% of its GDP. And although the industry benefits from local sources of raw material, such as cotton, and has more than 30 thousand garment workshops, it lacks in transparency. Believing this can change, the Brazilian office of C&A Foundation is supporting Fashion Revolution to launch a local version of the Transparency Index in September 2018.  Mirroring the global Index’s methodology, the Brazilian Index will include 20 brands and retailers present in the country. 

 

*Fashion Revolution ensured that C&A was treated in the same way as the other 149 brands evaluated and neither C&A nor C&A Foundation saw the index before it was published.