fashion revolution transparency index
Photograph courtesy of H&M

H&M is the Most Transparent Fashion Brand in the World, According to a New Report

The report looks at how much information brands are sharing with consumers on important issues like supply chain, animal welfare and more.

H&M has been named as the most transparent fashion brand, according to the new Fashion Revolution Transparency Index report. The report looked at 250 fashion and apparel brands across the world to determine how much they disclose on policies like animal welfare, biodiversity, living wages, gender equality, as well as its supply chains.

The Swedish high street giant scored 73 per cent on the report, followed by Belgian-German high-street chain C&A on 70 per cent, Adidas and Reebok on 69 per cent, Espirit on 64 per cent, and Patagonia and Marks & Spencer on 60 per cent. According to WWD, the brands included in the index were chosen “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.”

Gucci was ranked as the most transparent luxury fashion brand, scoring 48 per cent on the report – an eight per cent increase from its 2019 score. Interestingly, the Alessandro Michele-helmed label was the only brand to ace the policy and commitments criteria.

In its key findings, Fashion Revolution notes that “out of the 98 brands we have reviewed since 2017, we have seen their average score increase by 12 percentage points”. It also adds that there were fewer low-scoring brands in this year’s report compared to last. Additionally, 40 per cent of the brands on the list are now publishing their manufacturers, 24 per cent are publishing some of their processing facilities and/or mills and seven per cent are publishing some of their raw material suppliers – each of which is up between two to five per cent from last year’s report. It said it was seeing promising growth in the luxury sector with Gucci, Balenciaga, Hermès, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent all increasingly sharing information around suppliers.

There were a handful of brand who scored zero on the index, meaning they disclose no information pertaining to the reports five key areas of investigation: policy and commitments, governance, traceability, spotlight issues, and know, show & fix. This list included Bally and Elie Tahari.

Now more than ever, it’s becoming more important for consumers to know key details about the brands from which they’re buying. With retail stores shut indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, shopping has pivoted to online and with more time on their hands, consumers are increasingly taking a harder look at the brands they support with their now-limited incomes. “The crisis has brought to light the systemic problems within the industry and revealed just how fragile the system really is,” says Carry Somers, the operations director at Fashion Revolution. “For decades, brands have chased ever-cheaper production and factories operating on impossibly tight margins, consequently, workers’ wages and rights have been squeezed.”

The report also highlights concerns over how excess product will be dealt with in the aftermath of COVID-19. “We wonder what will happen to all of these clothes considering that our research shows only 27 per cent of brands publish information about the steps they are taking to reduce the amount of waste created before clothes hit the shelves, and only 18 per cent of brands explain what they are going to develop circular solutions that enable textile-to-textile recycling,” it notes in the executive summary.

Fashion Revolution was born after the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, with the aim to urge brands to know the origins of their clothing and the conditions in which it is being made, and to be transparent with consumers about who is making their clothes, and how.

See the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index report in full here.

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