Transparency used to be a dirty word - at least, in the apparel industry. Eighteen years ago, three academics - Archon Fung, Dara O'Rouke, and Chuck Sabel - published a visionary plan to end poor working conditions in the industry's sweatshops.
It described an industry where supply chains, working conditions and audit quality would be transparent and published for anyone to see. The relevant factories, brands and auditing companies would be named so that managers would be publicly accountable for their company's performance. It was not a popular proposal.
Fast forward to today, five years after the Rana Plaza building collapse, and talk of transparency is everywhere.
Last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit wrote: "Companies seeking credibility with an increasingly well-informed and critical consumer base need to stop making excuses they must recognise that in the digital era, they can neither control the agenda, nor who can access information on their supply chains. Pressure on them for transparency and responsibility will only increase."
C&A Foundation has put together a timeline that illustrates the journey that the apparel industry has made on transparency. From the protests of the United Students Against Sweatshops in the late 1990's to today's Fashion Revolution Transparency Index. Transparency has come a long way.