LONDON — Luxury megabrands such as Dior, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Max Mara and Tory Burch are alleged to be among the least transparent about their supply chains in the latest Fashion Transparency Index published by Fashion Revolution, a U.K.-based social enterprise that promotes sustainability in fashion.
Fashion Revolution, which was set up five years ago following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, aims to stress the importance of brands being transparent about their supply chains as a means of spotting unauthorized suppliers, managing risks and preventing human rights and environmental abuses at factories.
Fashion Revolution said it relies on publicly available information and that there could be limitations to its “desk-based research.”
“Only on-the-ground research by NGOs, unions and academics can reveal the true impacts of brands’ policies and practices in real-world situations. The Fashion Transparency Index has been designed to give an illustrative look at how much brands know and share about their supply chains. We have deliberately chosen to focus specifically on transparency by means of public disclosure and not everything that brands and retailers are doing internally or otherwise behind-the-scenes across their companies and supply chains,” the report added.
Brands including Chanel and Versace could not be reached for comment at press time.
Armani said all its activity is aligned with Corporate Social Responsibility and the official international conventions. “The group requires that the same standards and commitments, above all the utter respect of human rights, are fulfilled in its supply chain and therefore suppliers are carefully selected and regular audit programs, both social and environmental, are constantly implemented in order to ensure full compliance of the company’s code of conduct,” a company spokesperson said. The company added that it’s working to add information about its supply chain on it web site.
According to the organization, without transparency there would be no means of monitoring working conditions at factories or minimizing issues such as unauthorized subcontracting; “The vast majority of today’s fashion brands and retailers do not own their manufacturing facilities. They may work with hundreds or even thousands of factories at any given time — and that is just the suppliers that cut, sew and assemble our garments. There are many facilities further down the chain that weave, dye and finish materials and farms that grow fibers used in our clothing. This can sometimes be used as an excuse for brands to evade responsibility for how their products are made,” the report said.
The results of this year’s index point to a big number of luxury brands that still don’t disclose any information regarding their production processes. On the other hand, a number of high-street retailers are paving the way for transparency, having attracted a lot of negative attention in the past and been the targets of pressure from the industry and consumers alike, to review their supply chains.
H&M, Marks & Spencer, Asos and Zara were among the highest-performing fast-fashion retailers, alongside sports brands such as Reebok, Adidas and Puma.
The luxury brands said to be moving toward transparency include a number of Kering-owned labels such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent, as well as Burberry, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, which all received 31 to 40 percent of the available points.
To calculate a brand’s score, the report takes into account a company’s social and environmental policies and their implementation; the availability of information on the suppliers it uses; its reaction to issues reported in supplier facilities, and initiatives taken to address issues such as gender equality, overproduction and the payment of living wages globally.
The brands featured in the report, which include 150 labels across the luxury, accessories, sport and high-street sectors, were chosen on the basis of having an annual turnover of more than $500 million.