Clothing brands achieve sustainability score despite COVID: study

Even during a global pandemic like COVID-19, apparel brands can do business in a way that supports garment workers’ rights. This was revealed in an analysis presented by the Amsterdam-based Fair Wear Foundation. The results also clearly showed that more attention needs to be paid to the wages of workers in the garment industry.

Fair Wear analyzed 72 brand performance checks carried out in 2021. During the annual performance check, Fair Wear assesses how member brands have worked to improve working conditions and publicly reports on this progress. The 2021 issue of checks has proven to be extremely complex due to the many challenges that COVID has presented. The Performance Checks conducted in 2021 assessed brands’ practices in 2020. The results of the 2021 Performance Checks analysis are available on the Fair Wear website.

“Factories and clothing stores have had to close during the pandemic, which has forced garment workers to find themselves on the streets and fend for themselves,” Niki Janssen of Fair Wear noted.

Even during a global pandemic like COVID-19, apparel brands can do business in a way that supports garment workers’ rights. This was revealed in an analysis presented by the Amsterdam-based Fair Wear Foundation. The results also clearly showed that more attention needs to be paid to the wages of workers in the garment industry.

During the pandemic, most members were able to show that positive change is possible, even in times of crisis. A total of five leading brands were added and three placed in the correct category, bringing the total number of leaders to 28. Many Fair Wear brands have managed to limit the damage caused by the pandemic by being flexible and supportive of factories with which they work.

“Early on, we urged brands not to cancel orders ready to ship or already in production, which most members naturally respected. entered into discussions with factories and actively questioned what factories needed to survive. For example, Suit Supply did this in factories struggling with canceled orders from other buyers. The brand agreed with these factories that they would not fall below a certain minimum number of orders,” Janssen added.

The analysis also revealed that apparel worker wages remain a sticking point for brands. During the 2021 performance checks, members had to demonstrate that during the shutdowns, garment workers were paid at least minimum wage. “Otherwise, negative points were awarded for the minimum wage indicator in the performance check. This turned out to be the case for several brands. It is positive that we have been able to discover this through critical inquiries and by asking other questions. This means above all that more action is needed,” explained Janssen.

Fibre2Fashion (RR) News Desk

Michael O. Stutler