LONDON — H&M tops the list as the most transparent fashion brand, according to Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index report that reviews and ranks 250 of the largest fashion and apparel brands on how much they disclose on their social policies.

The report grades brands against key indicators that include animal welfare, biodiversity, climate, due diligence, forced labor and living wages and were ranked by 55,000 data points. The 250 brands that were selected for review were based on the criteria that their annual turnover was more than $400 million across the sportswear, luxury and high street categories in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.

According to Carry Somers, operations director at Fashion Revolution, the Fashion Index Transparency is more vital now than ever as the coronavirus has exposed issues in the value chain such as canceled orders, leaving resounding social and environmental impacts.

“The crisis has brought to light the systemic problems within the industry and revealed just how fragile the system really is. For decades, brands have chased ever-cheaper production and factories operating on impossibly tight margins, consequently, workers’ wages and rights have been squeezed,” Somers said in a virtual press briefing this morning.

By having transparency and having brands publish information and supplier relationship as a norm, Somers believes that stakeholders can hold them accountable in situations like this.

H&M scored the highest with a 73 percent grading against their data points. According to the index, brands that score 70 and above display tangible steps to becoming more transparent about their social and environmental practices.

C&A came in second place with a score of 70 percent, while Adidas and Reebok both scored 69 percent. Esprit was given 64 percent, followed by Patagonia and Marks & Spencer at 60 percent.

While the average sat at a low 23 percent, 98 brands that have been reviewed since the debut of the index scored a 12 percentage point increase. These brands include Monsoon, whose score increased by 23 percentage points; Ermenegildo Zegna, up 22, and Sainsbury’s by 19 percentage points.

Of the luxury brands, Gucci scored the highest at 48 percent, up from 40 percent last year. It was also the only brand to score full marks in the policy and commitments section, while fellow Italian brand Zegna was also the first to publish a detailed list of suppliers.

“We are seeing notable progress made on transparency, there is still much more fashion brands can do to provide credible and comprehensive data that enables consumers to make better decisions, unions and NGOs to help brands do better for workers and the living planet,” said Sarah Ditty, policy director and report author of Fashion Revolution.

However, more than half of the 250 brands scored below 20 percent, with some scoring 0 percent. These include Bally, Max Mara, Tom Ford and Elie Tahari.

There is still a long way to go for the industry and the report reveals that while many brands are taking steps to becoming more transparent, only 6 percent of brands disclosed their pay policies to suppliers and only 2 percent paid the above minimum wage to workers in their supply chain. Patagonia was the only brand that disclosed data on their supply-chain workers being paid above the living wage.

“The Index has enabled us to have constructive conversations with major brands about what they can do to be more transparent. We believe transparency is the first step in holding them to account for the impacts of their business practices. We will continue to use the Index to measure brands’ annual progress on transparency and to push them harder and faster towards taking greater responsibility for their policies and actions on social and environmental issues,” added Ditty.

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