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Fashion industry still has a “long way to go”: Baptist World Aid

The fashion industry has been graded on how quickly it is transitioning to a sustainable model and, once again, has been found somewhat wanting.

For the first time, Baptist World Aid’s annual Ethical Fashion Report has graded 420 brands individually and collectively – with the industry at large coming in at 33.6 out of 100.

The report found that there are strides being made in the industry in terms of customer facing initiatives, such as more companies publishing their supplier lists (41 per cent), more companies actively working to trace their raw material suppliers (69 per cent), and a massive 87 per cent of companies beginning to use sustainable fibers in their clothing.

However, only 15 per cent of companies can demonstrate paying a living wage to staff in any ‘final stage’ facility, and only 4 per cent can show paying it in all final stage facilities, while only 19 per cent can show they have plans in place for wage or overtime violations.

“[It’s a] reminder that there’s still a long way to go,” the report reads.

“We have witnessed continual improvement from the industry when it comes to foundational measures… however, key measures that deliver outcomes for workers remain stuck.”

According to the report, there are currently 40.3 million people trapped in modern slavery, with 152 million children forced into child labour.

And, with the issue of fashion’s impact on climate change predicated to only get worse: with 2.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions predicted to be produced by the industry in 2030, Baptist World Aid notes the issue can only be addressed by collective action.

“If the world is to limit warming to 1.5°C, as established in the Paris Agreement, responsibility must be shared between governments, private businesses and citizens,” the report said.

“The fashion industry, which currently contributes up to 10 per cent of global emissions – twice that of the global aviation industry – has a large role to play in this responsibility.”

In terms of how brands individually ranked: Adidas, Country Road Group, EziBuy, H&M and Kathmandu were ranked at an A; Asos, Cotton On, David Jones, Hugo Boss and Kmart received a B ranking; Showpo, Under Armour, Seafolly, The Iconic and Mosaic Group ranked at a C; Lorna Jane, Myer, Lowes, Ralph Lauren, and Sussan Group ranked at D; and Sheike, Jeanswest, Forever 21 and Bardot received an F.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said The Iconic had received a ranking of D, when it had in fact received a C. The story has been updated to reflect this.

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