Which Apparel Companies Make Ethical Fashion?

Free2work has compiled a comprehensive report on supply chain ethics in the apparel industry. It’s an impressive and useful document that can help you make more confident decisions in your holiday shopping. Below is more about the report. And a sample of one of the data charts—this chart is an overview; there are more specific ones for each topic. I love how the charts can give me a quick sense of how well a company’s efforts match my commitment to ethical fashion.

Free2Work grades are an indication of the extent to which companies have traced their suppliers and established management systems throughout their supply chains. If used together, these systems can theoretically prevent child and forced labor. It is important to note however that, outside of a few metrics, Free2Work is only able to gather information on management systems and not on the working conditions they are designed to ameliorate; this is because the overwhelming majority of companies are not transparent with working condition information. Except in a few cases, companies have not made monitoring reports, corrective action plans, or line-by-line statistics on the implementation of code standards available to the public. Without this information, a direct analysis of the impact of these management systems on child labor, forced labor and many broader worker rights is not possible.

Free2Work does gather information on one concrete working condition that is also arguably the most accurate impact barometer: wages. Wages are of chief concern to workers, as evidenced by the fact that the payment of a living wage is demanded by virtually every major labor rights group. …

This report provides detailed information on fifty apparel companies’ CSR practices: it assesses each management system in four categories: Policies, Traceability & Transparency, Monitoring & Training, and Worker Rights. Each Free2Work indicator correlates with a piece of a system that should, if appropriately used, enable improvement in working conditions and the elimination of modern slavery. We hold that child and forced labor are far less likely in supply chains that are highly visible to companies and where workers have a voice to negotiate working conditions and speak out against grievances.



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Emily founded Stop Traffick Fashion in 2009. She’d been becoming more and more involved in the abolitionist movement, and she decided to start STF as an opportunity to bring together the best of all products made by survivors of trafficking. She hopes her response to trafficking will inspire others to take action, even in a small way. Emily lives in Bend, Oregon, enjoys traveling, and has visited Hagar International and StopStart in Cambodia.

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