What is transparency in the fashion industry?
When we think of environmentally friendly fashion the first word that comes to mind is sustainability. Another word of equal importance is transparency. The fashion industry is well known for its exploitation of workers and horrible impacts to the environment. Transparency means brands disclose their impact to the planet and people at all stages of the supply chain and more - everything from start to finish in the fashion life cycle. Unfortunately, there are no legal regulations that enforce brands to disclose this information and it often takes tragedies like the Rana Plaza collapse killing 1,132 factory garment factory workers in Bangladesh to bring them to light.
Fashion Revolution’s yearly transparency report looks into 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and what information they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts, in their operations and supply chain. These brands achieved an average score of just 24% meaning much more work still has to be done. Some other key findings include:
The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions but only 62% publish their facilities footprint
The fashion industry uses 4% of all global wastewater but only 5% disclose their facilities footprint
Only 30% of brands are disclosing their commitment to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals
Less than half (47%) disclose the manufacturers they work with
When brands do or don’t publicly disclose their operations, it allows us as consumers to hold them responsible. At any point in time we should be able to research who made our clothes, in what conditions, with what materials and what environmental impact buying those clothes has. Transparency allows consumers to make better decisions and how their consumption impacts people and the environment.