Lobby group slams luxe brands for transparency gap, praises Kering, Adidas, Asos

Luxury labels are falling far short of sports and mass-market brands and chains on supply chain transparency a new report claimed on Monday.


Adidas

Transparency is everything in the modern supply chain when it comes to engaging ethically-focused Millennials. And while a lack of it doesn't have to mean brands have anything to hide, the most transparent brands clearly have an edge that will appeal to younger consumer groups.

And those brands, according to the UK-based Fashion Revolution lobby group set up after the Rana Plaza disaster half a decade ago, are mainly sports giants and the biggest high street fashion chains. Meanwhile some of the best-known luxury labels are letting themselves down by being secretive, although lack of transparency isn’t universal in the luxury sector.

Fashion Revolution looked at 150 of the world’s biggest labels and retailers, allocating scores based on information about governance, traceability, action plans and the impact they make, plus their supply chain policies. And the winners were? Adidas and Adidas-owned Reebok.

They scored 58%, which still places them well short of a perfect 100% score, but is as good as it gets at the moment. The rest of the top 10, all of which scored 51% and over, were fellow sports brand Puma, and retail chains H&M and Esprit, Gap-owned Banana Republic, plus Gap itself and its Old Navy chain, as well as C&A and M&S.

But a clutch of the biggest names in luxury came much lower down the list. The report said that Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Giorgio Armani and Chanel were among the least transparent businesses regarding their supply chains. However, as mentioned, this doesn't mean they’re doing anything wrong, it just means we don't know exactly what they're doing. They all scored below 10%.

Fashion Revolution was more optimistic overall with this report saying that of the 100 brands it surveyed last year, there was a 5% transparency improvement. 

Asos, at number 11 on the list, had a score of 50% and increased its transparency by 18%. Hugo Boss joined a group of brands scoring between 31% and 40% and also managed to increase its score by 11%. In this group, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger saw their scores going up 9%, while Kering-owned Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent rose 8%, and Burberry 7%.

Also doing reasonably well were the companies scoring between 41% and 50%, which notably included a raft of casualwear giants such as Levi Strauss, VF’s The North Face, Timberland, Vans and Wrangler, and Inditex’s Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius and Zara. VF’s brands increase their transparency levels by 22%.

But Fashion revolution still said that there is a lot of work to do and not enough has changed to give us the confidence that a Rana Plaza-type disaster won't happen again.

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