Use New Guide to Make Change

2022 Ethical Fashion Guide

Speak Out is the message in the recently launched 2022 Baptist World Aid (BWA) Ethical Fashion Report. The report’s authors are demanding fashion brands ‘escalate action to address modern slavery, worker exploitation and unsustainable environmental practices throughout their supply chains’.

The call to consumers to Speak Out comes after the report revealed:

  • Just 10 per cent of fashion brands pay a living wage at any factories in the final stage of the supply chain.
  • Fashion companies average just 29 out of 100 on the ethical supply chain benchmark.
  • 40 per cent of companies don’t know who supplies their raw materials and have no project to trace them.
  • New to the report in 2022, footwear brands performed well below industry average (23/100). None of the footwear companies pay a living wage at any stage of their supply chain.

The report states that, “millions of workers in the global fashion industry face injustice, abuse, low wages, and modern slavery. The way we produce clothes and shoes—and the endless demand for more—is having a detrimental impact on local communities, their lands and waterways, and even the air they breathe. While the industry is responsible for up to ten per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it’s a problem that affects us all. So we’re lifting the lid on what’s happening in the supply chains of the biggest fashion brands, to create momentum for change.”

BWA offers a compelling assessment of clothing brands. Read it at:  https://baptistworldaid.org.au/2022/10/17/ethical-fashion-report-media-release/

ACRATH’s Ange Duthie, who attended the launch said ACRATH supported the push for consumers to learn more and to Speak Out against brands doing very poorly. The speak-out tool on the Baptist World Aid website sends a pre-written email to brands, thanking them for their action or asking them to do better.

“We want our supporters to use the guide as a source of information about brands and as a call to action. There are some positive moves by some brands and they need to be congratulated. But where a brand is doing really poorly then we must Speak Out using that tool on the Baptist World Aid website. Consumer pressure has the potential to shift some of these companies.”

Living Wage

Sarah Knop, Corporate Advocacy Lead at BWA said, ‘Cost of living is a concern for many Australians in 2022, but for most of the world’s garment workers, earning a living wage is a lifelong struggle. Only one in ten fashion companies assessed pay a living wage in the final stage of production—even less in the earlier stages of the supply chain.’

Two of Australia’s most ethical garment manufacturers have boycotted the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Report this year, shining a light on the failure of too many in the industry to pay garment workers a living wage.

ETIKO and Outland Denim, which received the highest grade possible in last year’s report, have decried the progress being made by so many large successful companies in paying a just wage to workers.

Etiko’s founder and director, Nick Savaidis, said in his recent blog that,  “brands not paying a living wage to textile workers and supply chain staff – like cotton growers – they shouldn’t be given a pass mark in the report.”

Outland Denim said not being part of this year’s report was a difficult decision to make. It applauded some parts of the report, supported the efforts of BWA and encouraged consumers to use it (the report) to ‘Shop with impact’.

Outland Denim made a public statement on social media around the time the report was released. “Ultimately our worry was that brands who are not prioritising people were still able to get a good score, and this doesn’t best serve garment makers or you as a consumer reading the report,” Outland Denim said in the statement. It also encouraged readers to go beyond the social media ‘tiles’ and go to the report to better understand how a brand is progressing.

“We are encouraged to see that 63% of brands have made credible commitments to paying living wages in their final stage facilities,” Outland Denim said in its statement.

Speak Out

Speak Out to brands: Pleased with your favourite brand? Disappointed? Let them and your network know—good or bad.

  1. Go to the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Report site: https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/ethical-fashion-guide/
  2. Scroll down to Find Your Favourite Brands and fill in a brand you’d like to investigate
  3. Select that brand to find out their score in 2022 and send off the pre-written message to this brand asking them to lift their game.

This took four minutes to do. Speak Out! Use your consumer voice!