In 2016 nine human rights and labor rights organizations, together with global unions, formed a coalition to improve transparency in garment and footwear supply chains. Drawing on positive industry practices at that time, the coalition developed and endorsed The Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge as a common minimum standard for supply chain disclosure.
In order to drive uptake of the Transparency Pledge within the industry, the coalition: 1) conducts outreach to individual brands and retailers; 2) engages with key Responsible Business Initiatives (RBIs); and 3) carries out targeted, public-facing campaigns to put pressure on specific brands and retailers that are lagging behind.
Indiviual brands & retailers
Since forming, the coalition has reached out to more than 70 companies with own-brand label products, urging them to publish key factory-level information in alignment with the Transparency Pledge standard. These companies represent a cross-section of the global apparel industry. They serve a variety of markets including fast fashion, sports apparel, and footwear; and range from smaller brick-and-mortar brands like River Island to large supermarket chains and online retailers that sell their own apparel brands such as Aldi, Walmart, Amazon, ASOS, and Zalando. In addition, a number of brands & retailers have reached out to the coalition to sign on to the Pledge of their own accord.
Responsible Business Initiatives (RBIs)
In 2018 the coalition expanded its outreach to cover seven widely known company-backed responsible business initiatives in the apparel industry that purport to promote more ethical practices among their corporate members. The coalition urged these RBIs to require as a condition of membership that companies individually and publicly disclose information about their supply chains, at a minimum in alignment with the Transparency Pledge standard.
Several members of the Coalition have also jointly carried out public facing campaigns, mobilizing consumers to pressure companies that are lagging behind to #GoTransparent. Following these campaigns, companies including River Island and Primark improved their transparency practices. Learn more about the #GoTransparent campaign.
Building on the foundation laid by students in the context of university licensing, the Transparency Pledge and other initiatives have contributed to the tremendous growth of supply chain transparency in the apparel industry that we’ve seen over the last several years. This discernible shift toward publicly disclosing supply chain data signals greater transparency as the direction in which companies are moving.