Ian Bertram- 28 4 19

Fair Trade

Baptist World Aid Australia has released its 2019 Ethical Fashion Report, examining labour rights and environmental management systems in the fashion industry. The report grades 130 apparel companies from A+ to F based on their systems and strategies to ethically manage their supply chains, with the aim of all workers having access to the correct working wage and basic human rights.

Following the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, the report highlights which Australian brands are making positive strides towards meeting these expectations and those that continue to fall behind. Although a third of brands have improved since the 2018 report, only 5% of companies can demonstrate they were paying a living wage to all workers at their final stage of production.

Australian brand Outland Denim ranked among the seven companies achieving an A+, while Kookai, Cotton On and Country Road achieved A- grades.

The report found that in the last year, 38% of companies have improved their overall grade, with a significant improvement across the industry in 79% of the areas assessed, including development in gender equality, responsible purchasing practices, child and forced labour, and transparency.

The 2019 report has seen the most substantial progress in traceability down the supply chain since conception of the report in 2013, a sign that accountability is starting to change behaviour.

Baptist World Aid Australia CEO John Hickey, said, “With the Modern Slavery Act set to cause waves in the Australian fashion industry, Baptist World Aid [is] excited to see Australia finally begin to meet the ethical standards that are demonstrated globally.

We know that the beginning of the supply chain is where the risk of child labour, forced labour and exploitation is most prevalent, so it’s encouraging to see from the report that more companies are taking proactive action to identify and mitigate these risks,” Hickey said.

To find out how your favourite fashion outlet ranks, go to baptistworldaid.org.au