What is the problem?
Do you know how to find out exactly where your clothes were made, and under what conditions? Neither do we!
We often lack meaningful information about where our clothes and shoes were made. A T-shirt label might say “Made in China,” but in which of the country’s thousands of factories was it made? What were the working conditions of the workers—mostly women—in these factories?
Demanding that apparel companies publish their supplier factory information could help workers by allowing unions and other labour advocates to alert brands to labour abuses in these factories. Knowing the multitude of brands that a factory produces for can help brands co-operate on solutions to labour rights problems.
If you want to know more about what level of transparency brands committed to, read our report and follow updates.
You can see the brand responses here.
NOTE: we are in the middle of updating our report, and will come out with more recent findings later in 2019.
Who needs to act?
In recent years, a number of brands have taken promising steps. Clean Clothes Campaign, together with eight other organisations, asked brands to sign on to the Transparency Pledge, and start publishing their production locations as a first step toward making the industry more transparent and fostering an environment of accountability and protection of human rights of workers.
Some brands have been very responsive, others only caved in after a public campaign and 70.000 signatures being delivered to their front door.
Currently, we are asking Multi Stakeholder Initiatives to make transparency a requirement for their members. After all, these MSI's say they want to work towards industry best practices, and being transparent should be high upon that list.
Also we are looking at the growing online retailers. For all of the data that giant platforms like Amazon generate, they give absolutely zero transparency towards their consumers.
The importance of transparency became all the more important after the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh in 2013. At first, most brands denied that they were producing clothes there.
Labour advocates had to literally rummage through the rubble for weeks and months, to find brand labels.
This should never happen again.
That is why this campaign was started, why the Transparency Pledge Coalition was founded and why transparent supply chains is one of our focal points.
Also in other situations, it is vital to know which brands are producing in which factory.
When a problem occurs, like workers being denied their payment, union busting, sexual harassment or any of a number of other rights violations, it is often the brands that can have the most influence to correct the situation, as these violations are often also explicitly against their own stated rules of business.
Trade unionists, worker rights activists and others can work much more effectively with this information.
And of course it should be a fundamental right of you, as a consumer, to have a simple answer to the question "Who made my clothes, and under what circumstances?"