Your 2019 Ethical Fashion Report… coming soon!
Later this month, Baptist World Aid Australia will publish the latest edition of its Ethical Fashion Report and accompanying Ethical Fashion Guide.
The fifth of its kind, the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report will continue and expand on the work of its predecessors, evaluating labour rights management systems in the fashion industry.
“This year, our research assesses 130 companies, representing over 400 brands,” reveals Baptist World Aid’s lead Ethical Fashion Researcher, Jasmin Mawson.
“Each company will receive a grade (from A to F), based on the strengths of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour and exploitation in their supply chains. Australian consumers can use this information to help make more ethical choices, every time they have need to shop for clothes.”
The first Ethical Fashion Report was published in the wake of the fashion industry’s most tragic disaster, the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 garment workers.
However, the research itself did not grow out of a response to the collapse.
“Baptist World Aid had long understood the need for research of this nature,” says Mrs Mawson. “At the time of the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, the organisation was already preparing to launch the first Ethical Fashion Report.”
When news of the deadly collapse broke, it threw the issue of exploitation in the fashion industry into a global spotlight. People began to ask the questions: ‘Who makes my clothes?’ and ‘How are the workers who make my clothes treated?’
In Australia, there was a newly published report with the answer.
“Because of this, the reception to the first Ethical Fashion Report was way beyond anyone’s expectations,” says Mrs Mawson. “Since then, the research has continued to grow go from strength-to-strength.”
In subsequent years, the Ethical Fashion Report has benchmarked and tracked the efforts of fashion companies to ensure that the rights of the workers who make their products are upheld. These rights include a safe workplace, a living wage and freedom from slavery.
Each year, the research continues to grow in scope and industry engagement. The 2019 Ethical Fashion Report will assess more than three times the number of companies assessed by the initial report, with 75% of companies being actively engaged in the research process. And, for the third time, the report will also be released to our neighbours in New Zealand.
But one of the most exciting new developments in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report, is the inclusion of an environmental metric of assessment.
“We know that a truly ‘ethical’ company not only ensures that their supply chain empowers its workers and pays them a living wage, but it also understands its impact on the environment and manages it’s footprint to steward natural resource wisely and keep our planet healthy,” says Mrs Mawson.
“Last year, for the first time, Baptist World Aid began an initial assessment of company policy in the area of environmental management. However, this preliminary research was not counted toward a company’s final grade. In the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report, that will change.”
The 2019 Ethical Fashion Report is due to be released soon. You can register to be notified of its publication here.