The Australian Fashion Report, due to be released on Thursday, shows that Fairtrade labels are again receiving top marks when it comes to protecting the rights of farmers and workers with Fairtrade certified brands Etiko and Audrey Blue topping the table as the only two Australian labels to be awarded A+ grades for the second year in a row.
The report, published by Baptist World Aid Australia, assesses 87 Australian apparel companies, on four key elements of labour rights management: policies, knowing suppliers, auditing and supplier relationships and worker empowerment. Just as they did in 2015, the only two brands to achieve an A+ grade are Etiko and Audrey Blue – both proudly Fairtrade certified labels. The consistently high marks received by these brands as well as other Australian Fairtrade certified fashion labels represented in this report, is reflective of the wider Fairtrade system which offers traceability, auditing and wage improvements at multiple stages of the supply chain.
“We’re thrilled – but not surprised – to see Fairtrade brands again leading the pack when it comes to ethical fashion,” says Fairtrade Australia CEO Molly Harriss Olson. “These results are a testament to Fairtrade’s rigorous standards.”
This year’s report focuses on the need for Australian fashion companies to increase measures in ensuring supply chain traceability. While Australian brands are improving in this area, the report shows that 79% of companies claim to have engaged in activities to know their input suppliers (up from 41% in 2013), more action must be taken to address this important global fashion challenge.
“The fashion industry holds in its hands the ability to change the lives of millions of farmers and workers involved in the production of their garments. This can only be effective if companies take concerted measures to know exactly who their suppliers are all the way along the supply chain,” says Harriss Olson.
“Reports like this from Baptist World Aid Australia are a vital first step in encouraging open dialogue and putting pressure on businesses to pick up their act and work harder to make the grade.” Not surprisingly, the report found that the only four Australian apparel companies which have traced all of their cotton supply chain are also Fairtrade certified.
Harriss Olson says “Internationally, Fairtrade is setting the standard in supply chain traceability and worker’s rights. Our new Textile Standard is the first in the world to require living wages be paid to workers within a set time period and holds brand owners contractually responsible for fair and long-term purchasing practices.”
This Sunday April 24th consumers from over 70 countries will take part in actions to celebrate Fashion Revolution Day. They will be raising their voices for supply chain transparency by asking apparel brands to answer the question #whomademyclothes?