Seven leading fashion retailers in Australia are continuing to hide where their clothes are made by refusing to publish the names and locations of the factories they use around the globe, Oxfam’s latest ‘Naughty or Nice’ list has revealed in the lead-up to Christmas.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the seven popular companies were lagging behind their competitors, with 10 of the most popular fashion retailers in Australia now making the grade on transparency in their supply chains.
“As Australians start shopping for Christmas, many of us want to know whether our favourite brands have been naughty or nice when it comes to the workers in their factories,” Dr Szoke said.
“The good news is that since Oxfam’s report on this issue earlier this year, six big companies have made bold changes towards revealing where their clothes are made.
“But seven big companies behind iconic brands that include names like Just Jeans, Peter Alexander, Best & Less, Topshop, Uniqlo, Zara, Gorman, Dangerfield and Asos are still hiding their lists of the factories where their clothes are sewn.
“The companies still refusing to reveal where they make their clothes now have no excuse.”
Dr Szoke said that to make Oxfam’s ‘Nice’ list, a company had to publish at least 70 per cent of the factory names and locations where their clothes were made on their or their parent company’s website.
“As consumers, we want to feel reassured that when we purchase our special Christmas party outfit or socks, jocks and pyjamas to put under the tree, we are choosing from brands that lead the way on transparent, ethical practices,” Dr Szoke said.
“Oxfam is urging Australians to show that ethical production matters by asking their favourite brands that remain on the ‘Naughty’ list to behave better and make the switch to the nice list.”
Dr Szoke said publishing factory lists was good for workers and good for brands.
“It allows workers themselves and organisations like Oxfam to find and raise issues relating to underpayment, safety and excessive overtime much more easily,” Dr Szoke said. “This means problems are more likely to be addressed quickly, which is a win-win.
“Transparency exposes safety concerns and could prevent a repeat tragedy of the horrific Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed more than 1,000 workers in Bangladesh in 2013. A lack of transparency can cost lives.
“Last year, an Oxfam study into conditions in Myanmar showed garment workers were working on average 11 hours a day, six days a week, yet were being paid poverty wages – left without enough money to afford proper housing or food health and education for them and their children.
“Without knowing where our clothes are coming from, we cannot be sure even basic human rights are being respected.”
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