The 2021 Fashion Transparency Index concluded that global fashion brands and retailers are not growing fast enough and need to do more to share information on their supply chain, carbon emissions, ethics, living wages, production and use of water.
The overall average score on the 250 brands measured in 2021 was 23%, which is the same score as in 2020.
The overall average score is based on 239 indicators in five key areas: Policies and Commitments, Governance, Supply Chain Traceability, Know, Show and Fix, and Highlight Problems. The hot topics for 2021 covered the response to Covid-19, gender and racial equality, sustainable sourcing and materials, overconsumption and business models, waste and circularity, water and chemicals and climate change and biodiversity.
This year’s index demonstrated that many improvements are needed in terms of supply chain transparency. Less than half of the brands participating in the index (47%) disclosed their manufacturing facilities and a quarter of the brands (27%) disclosed wet processing facilities and spinning mills located deeper in their production chains. supply.
These numbers represent a slight increase from 2020 when only 40% disclosed their top tier manufacturers and only 24% disclosed information about their processing facilities.
Just over 10% of brands in 2021 shared information about their raw material suppliers (11%), but this was a slight improvement from the 7% who disclosed this information in 2020.
In terms of carbon emissions, the fact that many brands do not share information down the supply chain makes it difficult to assess carbon emissions as up to 80% of the sector’s emissions occur at this stage.
Only 26% of the brands in the index published their annual carbon footprint at the manufacturing level and only 17% disclosed their emissions at the raw material level. The level of raw materials is crucial because this is where the greatest environmental impact occurs during a garment’s lifecycle, according to a report by Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and McKinsey.
In addition, only 18% of brands publish data on absolute energy reduction in the supply chain, which is essential for reducing emissions from the apparel industry.
Water is another critical issue for the fashion industry and 95% of brands have not disclosed their annual water footprint in raw materials. While only 30% of brands have disclosed their commitment to eliminate the use of dangerous chemicals.
The report explains that big brands have a clear responsibility to review their supply chain, identify risks and impacts on human rights and the environment. By not sharing information about supply chains, abusive, dangerous working conditions and environmental damage can occur without brands making any effort to recognize or address these issues.
The authors of the index stress that as a first step, brands and retailers must understand and disclose their own supply chain to allow greater traceability and transparency.
The environmental issue continues to be urgent for the global fashion industry. The authors of the index explain that brands need to show how they are reducing their environmental impacts by tracking this data throughout the supply chain and sharing it with stakeholders and members of the public in the future.
The brands with the lowest overall score in 2021 are: Belle, Big Bazaar – fbb, Elie Tahari, Jessica Simpson, KOOVS, Metersbonwe, Mexx, Youngor, Fashion Nova, Pepe Jeans, Semir, Tom Ford, Bilabong, Heilan Home, Quiksilver, Roxy, celio, Max Mara, the New Yorker and Tory Burch.
The brands that achieved the highest overall score in 2021 are: OVS, H&M, The North Face, Timberland, C&A, Vans, Gildan, Esprit, United Colors of Benetton, calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen (PVH), Gucci, Kmart Australia and Target Australia.
Click here for more information on how Brazilian fashion brands performed in the Fashion Transparency Index for Brazil.