Slavery and the Apparel Industry: The good and the bad

free2work.org has come out with a report that ranks companies in the apparel industry in terms of slavery and child labour. The report has graded companies based on “the extent to which a company has traced its suppliers and established systems throughout its supply chain that can enable it to prevent and address modern slavery”. This is a composite score, based on company policies that address issues of slavery in the supply chain, traceability and transparency, monitoring and training, and support for workers’ rights. While there is a ton of detail on the report on their website (http://www.free2work.org/trends/apparel/), here are some of the findings. Of the following companies that scored a D or an F, many the ones you expect to see on the list:

  • Abercrombie and Fitch (current target of a labour rights violation campaign related to child labour in cotton production)
  • Aeropostale
  • Aramark
  • Armor Holdings
  • Blauer
  • Bob Barker’s
  • Carter’s (current target of a labour rights violation campaign related to child labour in cotton production)
  • Express
  • Forever 21
  • Fruit of the Loom
  • Garan
  • Lacoste
  • Propper
  • Quiksilver
  • Robinson Textiles
  • Rocky
  • Sketchers
  • Spiewak
  • Walmart (current target of a labour rights violation campaign, as always)

Companies that scored an A or a B also include the ones I would expect, like the Fair Trade lines, and also many others that surprised me:

  • Adidas
  • Alta Gracia
  • American Eagle
  • Eileen Fisher
  • Esteem
  • Gap (YET, current target of a labour rights violation campaign related to factory safety)
  • Gildan
  • Good & Fair
  • H&M
  • HAE Now
  • Hanesbrands
  • Indtex
  • Levi’s
  • Maggie’s Organics
  • New Balance
  • Patagonia
  • praNa
  • PUMA
  • Solidarity (Fair Trade line)
  • Timberland
  • Tompkins (Fair Trade line)

So here’s our shopping list: No Walmart, no Abercrombie and Fitch, yes Adidas and Gap.

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