Are Your Favourite Fashion Brands Paying Workers Living Wages? Only 34 Out Of 100 Are Committed To Doing So

Just four brands are reporting progress on achieving this aim.

Very few fashion brands have made public commitments to paying living wages to workers in their supply chain, according to a new sustainable fashion report.

Fashion Revolution has published its annual ‘Fashion Transparency Index’ report to deliver the good, the bad, and the downright ugly news about how the industry is doing in 2017.

One of its key findings this year was that only 34 brands (just over a third of those investigated) have made public commitments to paying living wages to workers in their supply chain.

And out of those 34, only four brands – H&M, Marks & Spencer, Puma and New Look - are reporting on progress towards achieving this aim, which is the real judge of how things are going behind the scenes, says the report.


Even then only two of those four brands - H&M and Marks & Spencer - actually have a policy to pay suppliers on time.

“This shows that much more needs to be done and faster by brands to ensure that workers, from farm to retail, are paid fairly,” the report states.

Tasking itself with checking up on 100 top high street and designer brands to see how they are progressing, the index ranks brands according to ethical practices in their supply chains and social policies.

Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

In March 2017, the government’s National Living Wage, paid to people over 24 in the UK, went up by 30p an hour to £7.50.

In many other countries, there may have a legal minimum wage in place, but this is often “far below a rate which enables workers to support themselves and their family”, says the report.

According to IndustriALL Global Union, over 90% of workers in the global garment industry have no possibility to negotiate their wages and conditions.

“Collective bargaining, meaning negotiations on the terms and conditions of employment between workers and employers, is essential to ensuring improved wages, better working conditions and sustainable livelihoods,” they state.

Adidas and Reebok score most highly across the board in the Fashion Transparency Index, followed by Marks & Spencer and H&M.

Three brands scored a total of zero, they were Dior, Heilan Home and s.Oliver.

The companies that scored best on traceability were Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy, followed by Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Jordan and Nike.

But brands that did not do so well were Abercrombie and Fitch, Gucci, YSL, Burberry, Monsoon, Next, Primark, Amazon, Anthropologie, Urban outfitters, Forever 21 and Topshop.

The research found that even the highest ranking companies on the list still have a long way to go before they could be considered fully transparent, with not a single one scoring above 50% in all the criteria.

There is some good news though, 32 of the brands are publishing supplier lists at the first tier — where clothes are typically cut, sewn and trimmed. But this drops to only 14 brands publishing their processing facilities where clothes are dyed, laundered, printed or treated.

As yet no brand is publishing details of its raw material suppliers.


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