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LONDON – Most fashion brands (85%) are failing to disclose production volumes – despite growing concerns about excessive textile waste globally. This is one of the stark findings of the latest Fashion Transparency Index by Fashion Revolution. The authors of the Index have called on fashion brands to increase transparency to tackle climate issues and social inequality. Brands assessed achieved an average score of just 24 per cent, with nearly a third of brands scoring less than 10 per cent according to criteria set out by Fashion Revolution.

Highest scoring brands in 2022 are Italian brand OVS with 78 per cent, tied with Kmart Australia and Target Australia, who increased their scores by 22 per cent versus 2021. This is followed by H&M, The North Face and Timberland who are tied at 66 per cent (although H&M publishes nothing on clothing volumes to our knowledge).

The seventh edition of the Fashion Transparency Index ranked 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers based on their public disclosure of human rights and environmental policies, practices, and impacts, across their operations and supply chains.

As new and proposed legislation focuses on greenwashing claims, almost half of major brands (45 per cent) were found to publish targets on sustainable materials, yet only 37 per cent provide information on what constitutes a sustainable material.

On microplastics, just 24 per cent of major brands disclose how they minimise the impacts of microfibres despite textiles being the largest source of microplastics in the ocean.

Most (85 per cent) of major brands still do not disclose their annual production volumes despite mounting evidence of overproduction and clothing waste

States the report: “Thousands of tonnes of clothing waste are found globally. However, brands have disclosed more information about the circular solutions they are developing (28 per cent) than on the actual volumes of pre- (10 per cent) and post-production waste they produce (8 per cent). Brands have sat by as waste importing countries foot the bill, resulting in serious human rights and environmental implications.”

On purchasing practices, just 11 per cent of brands publish a responsible purchasing code of conduct indicating that most are still reluctant to disclose how their purchasing practices could be affecting suppliers and workers.

Adds the report: “Greater transparency on how brands interact with their suppliers ought to be a first step towards eliminating harmful practices and promoting fair purchasing practices. The poor performance on transparency in this vital area is a missed opportunity for brands to demonstrate they are serious about addressing the root causes of harmful working conditions, including the instances where they themselves are the key driver.”

The report also found that despite the urgency of the climate crisis, less than a third of major brands disclose a decarbonisation target covering their entire supply chain which is verified by the Science-Based Targets Initiative. The report adds: “Many brands and retailers rely heavily on garment producing countries that are vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, yet our research shows that only 29 per cent of major brands and retailers publish a decarbonisation target covering their operations and supply chain which is verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative.”

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