This is the fourth report produced by Baptist World Aid Australia examining labour rights management systems in the fashion industry. It grades 106 companies, from A to F, on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour, and exploitation in their supply chains.
The first report was published in the wake of the industry’s most tragic disaster; the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which claimed the lives of 1,134 garment workers.
Since that time, the 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 including a safe work place, a living wage, and freedom from slavery. The report has grown in scope and industry engagement every year since its release. It now assesses more than 2.5 times the number of companies of the first report, with 83% of companies being actively engaged in the research process. And this year, for the first time ever, the Ethical Fashion Report is being released in New Zealand, expanding beyond its traditional Australian release.
Since the tragedy in Bangladesh, efforts to improve conditions for fashion workers have accelerated, spurred on by increased public scrutiny and concerted consumer calls for change. But the need remains pressing.