Almost no fashion brand owns factories any more. The business model is one of contracting out: a brand places an order at a supplier, who then often subcontracts this out even further.
Yet, when garment workers face problems, it is often the garment brands that can (and should) use their influence. Brands also recognize this; they have elaborate Codes of Conduct that should, in theory, make sure that no human rights violations occur. As we all know, this is far from the case. From poverty wages to unsafe factories to union busting, all kinds of violations are endemic within the global garment industry.
Therefore it is vital that workers, worker rights advocates and others have accurate information on what brand produces where.
Of course, transparency alone does not resolve in improved working conditions, higher wages or accountability. But transparency is a necessary precondition to effectively campaign for those other goals.
Consumers are also demanding answers; in a world that is ever more connected, they deserve an answer when they ask #WhoMadeMyClothes
What we do
CCC has been advocating for more transparency for years. We join forces with other organisations, and lobby both brands and policy makers to take meaningful steps. Some of our activities:
- Together with eight other partners, we form the Transparency Pledge Coalition. This coalition is pushing brands to commit to the Transparency Pledge, a minimum standard for supply chain disclosure.
- We are on the board of the Open Apparel Registry, an open source tool which maps garment facilities worldwide.
- We advocate for transparency to become a mandatory part of Multi Stakeholder Initiative membership requirements, and for any form of meaningful certification schemes.
- We have directly campaigned on the streets, in front of high street stores.
With success! The narrative around transparency has changed. Only a few years ago, almost no brands disclosed their supply chain. Now, a large number of major brands do.
More work needs to be done. Some brands have made no effort at all, and the growing online marketplaces bring new challenges. Yet, under the UN guiding principles, all brands and retailers will have to do their due diligence, of which transparency is a necessary part.
The garment and footwear industry stretches around the world. Clothes and shoes sold in stores in the US, Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world typically travel across the globe. They are cut and stitched in factories in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, or other regions. Factory workers in Bangladesh or Romania could have made clothes only weeks ago that consumers elsewhere are eagerly picking up.
When global supply chains are opaque, consumers often lack meaningful information about where their apparel was made. A T-shirt label might say “Made in China,” but in which of the country’s thousands of factories was this garment made? And under what conditions for workers?
In and of itself, knowing where a piece of clothing was made will not tell you under what circumstances. Yet it is a vital instrument for when human rights violations occur. Workers and worker rights advocates can determine much more quickly which brands produce there and start engaging these brands to rectify the situation. And of course knowing where these factories are in the first place is essential for any kind of meaningful improvement in building safety.
Latest news on transparent supply chains
Results: 14 Items
October 14, 2020
A new position paper on supply chain transparency in the global garment industry, pleading for mandatory disclosure and advocating for better rules to enforce human rights due diligence.
September 23, 2020
Our new report brings data from the Fashion Checker transparency tool to life, detailing the stark contrast between fashion brands' big claims, and the reality of their supply chains.
June 22, 2020
New website puts the fashion industry’s low wages in the spotlight, accelerating the campaign for living wages.
The Clean Clothes Campaign has launched a new website for labour rights activists and consumers to gain deeper insight into where clothing was made and the working conditions in which it was produced. The Fashion Checker website goes live today and gives garment workers, activists and consumers access to real data from supply chains of the worlds’ biggest fashion brands including Primark, Bestseller and Topshop.
February 10, 2020
The first out of five brands targeted in a new campaign push led by Clean Clothes Campaign and Human Rights Watch to publish their supplier list has signed the Transparency Pledge last week. UK garment brand River Island is committing to disclose their supply chain information according to the minimum standards laid down in the Transparency Pledge by end of March 2020. It is now time for the other four targets of the campaign, American Eagle Outfitter, Armani, Carrefour and Urban Outfitters, to take the same step.