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  • Writer's pictureBethan Lloyd

Fashion Revolution Week: Covid-19 and the Fashion Transparency Index

Updated: May 22, 2020

Each year on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, a tragedy in Bangladesh that killed 1138 people on 24th April 2013. Fashion Revolution hosts a weeklong campaign questioning the fashion industry with the hashtags #WhoMadeMyClothes and #WhatsInMyClothes?

Uniting people and organisations to work together to change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. Collaborating across the whole value chain – from farmer to consumer. With the goal to transform the industry to be safe, clean and fair. This year, the focus in is built upon four pillars: Consumption, Composition, Conditions and Collective Action.

Fashion Revolution Week is the perfect time to kick start our ECO STORIES journal. To add our voice to the global dialogue questioning brands, factories and designers on where their clothes are being made and the treatment of workers in the supply chain. Along with the impact the materials are having on the environment.

This year the campaign is more important than ever. As the fashion industry is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since Rana Plaza, as Covid-19 has devastated the sector.

Many of the world’s biggest fashion brands are evading responsibility and its associated costs,” said Carry Somers, co-founder and global operations director of Fashion Revolution.

With the pandemic forcing the high street to close. Brands and retailers have cancelled billions of dollars worth of orders from suppliers, even refusing to accept shipments when they arrive. Western brands have left workers within the industry’s supply chain in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and other manufacturing hubs, facing a grim reality of unemployment. Leaving some of the world’s most vulnerable and poorly paid workers in dire poverty.

After pressure from organisations like Fashion Revolution, governments and consumers some companies have agreed to honour their previous commitments. Among them H&M, Target, Marks & Spencer, Inditex and PVH have all publicly confirmed that they intend to receive and pay for products already made alongside orders already placed. Which goes to show that organisations can work together to improve our fashion industry by holding companies accountable for their actions.

This week is also the publication of Fashion Revolution’s annual Fashion Transparency Index, which reviews and ranks 250 of the world’s biggest fashion brands and retailers. According to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices, impacts and supply chain.

The report has brought good news with companies receiving a two per cent overall average score increase from last year. With H&M Group as the highest scoring brand this year at 73% of the 250 possible points. While Gucci is the highest scoring luxury brand at 48%, up from 40% in 2019, and is the only brand to score 100% on Policy and Commitments.

As this is a transparency index, looks can be deceiving the average brand score for ‘Policy & Commitments’ is 52%, yet how much of this is green washing? The true test will be if these companies implement and enforce their policies and commitments to protect those in the fashion supply chain and the environment. As we have seen, the world will be watching how brands rebuilt post the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here at ECO STORIES we will be doing our part to raise awareness, keep the conversation flowing and most importantly telling stories.

Written by Bethan @ theecostories

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