The report came about after the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1134 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 include 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 with 12 New Zealand based companies included.
The Asia Pacific has become the world’s garment factory, with more than 40 million workers employed in manufacturing apparel and textiles across the region. For the vast-majority of these workers, wages remain at levels well below what is needed to lift them and their families out of poverty.
- Kowtow A
- Liminal Apparel A
- Karen Walker B+
- Kathmandu B+
- Glassons B-
- Macpac B-
- AS Colour B-
- Ezibuy C+
- Max C
- The Warehouse Group* C
- Icebreaker* D-
- Farmers* F
Wellington-based label Kowtow and Liminal Apparel of Christchurch sit at the top, both receiving an A grade, with Karen Walker moving up from last years C to a B+ this year. At the bottom end of the scale, d Farmers received an F rating and Icebreaker a D-. Although the companies with an *means they are “non-responsive”, meaning they chose not to engage in the research conducted by Baptist World Aid Australia. (But, also check on a company's website to see if they make mention of their Ethical Code of Conduct, they may not take part in this research but may have their own policies set up.)
Of the bigger global brands that now have a presence in New Zealand, Zara leads the way receiving an A, closely followed by H&M with a B+, and Topshop and Topman falling behind with a C+. The improvements are a prime example of the report’s power to bring about change when information surrounding efforts for fair labour is made readily available to the public.
For the full New Zealand report, visit Tearfund, if you want to read more about their assessment procedures and work vist; Baptist World Aid.