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Supply Chain
New Platform to Help Apparel Brands Illuminate Darkest Corners of Supply Chains

Laudes Foundation’s Transparency in Action portal features best practices, expert advice, tools and resources — including information on existing and upcoming legislation — for brands to take informed steps towards transparency and expand their current efforts.

Following the presentation of the Draft Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence by the European Commission last week, Laudes Foundation has launched a Transparency in Action portal. This free, industry-first online platform is designed to help fashion brands around the world understand the role of transparency in enhancing performance, improve their own disclosures and adapt to emerging legislation. The platform also navigates the current fragmented landscape of transparency resources.

Laudes Foundation is committed to enabling fashion brands to increase the level of disclosure as they face new transparency norms and standards. As new policies are announced globally and expectations from consumers and investors are rising, transparency and accountability are moving from the realm of best practice to one of compliance. As such, governments are increasingly shifting from voluntary to mandatory measures, meaning brands will soon no longer have a choice but to disclose information about their impact on the environment and human rights.

Transparency in fashion is improving, but more needs to be done

While individual brands have introduced transparency measures including “digital passports” (RFID tags), carbon footprint labels and materials certifications, the industry’s efforts as a whole have been piecemeal. According to a 2021 Fashion Revolution report, 32 percent of apparel brands monitored in the research disclosed their supply chains in 2017, while less than five years later the figure had grown to 47 percent. This signals positive progress, but more needs to be done. The same report reveals that in 2021, only 4 percent of brands disclosed data on supply chain workers being paid living wages; 27 percent of brands publish processing facilities beyond the first tier; and 26 percent of brands disclose science-based targets.

A one-stop shop for fashion brands

Designed by Laudes Foundation in partnership with knowledge partners WikiRate, Fashion Revolution and Open Apparel Registry, the Transparency in Action portal features best practices, expert advice, tools, and resources — including information on existing and upcoming legislation — for brands to take informed steps towards transparency and expand their current efforts.

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The platform takes a comprehensive approach to transparency — covering supply chain, factory performance and purchasing practices. Each have different transparency requirements and the platform offers dedicated guidance and checklists to help fashion brands navigate these.

The Transparency in Action portal also identifies and takes fashion brands through four key transparency steps to improve disclosure:

  1. Collecting and disclosing data in an open and standardized format

  2. Analyzing and comparing data to identify action points

  3. Taking action to continuously improve

  4. Monitoring and evaluation to review whether actions have been effective and adjust if changes are required

“As governments and investors across the world join and strengthen the call for corporate transparency, we see a steady increase in company reporting. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go,” says WikiRate Managing Director Laureen van Breen. “There is a serious lack of evidence in companies' reporting on the outcomes of their policies and commitments on ESG issues. It is therefore wonderful to see a thriving community of transparency initiatives that drive corporate accountability; and I'm delighted to see the arrival of the Transparency in Action website to help us keep track of the latest developments, projects and collaborations.”

Catalyzing positive systemic change within the fashion industry

As the dual crises of climate change and deepening inequality has intensified over recent years, championing efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of the fashion industry on society and the environment has been at top of Laudes Foundation’s agenda. The Transparency in Action portal is a key tool that will contribute to address these broader issues.

“Laudes Foundation is committed to accelerating positive change in fashion and has supported various initiatives that foster greater transparency in the industry, such as Fashion Revolution, the Open Apparel Registry, the WageIndicator Foundation, Solidar Suisse and Mapped in Bangladesh,” says Jill Tucker, Head of Labour Rights at Laudes Foundation. “We strongly believe in the long-term impact of effective transparency for fashion brands, and Transparency in Action seeks to facilitate that. We urge all brands to make use of this free-to-all resource, no matter where you are in your transparency journey. From supply chain, to factory performance and purchasing practices, the platform offers simple, step-by-step guidance on how to become more transparent. As expectations for transparency are rising, now is the time to get ahead of the curve.”

Access the portal for free here.