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BARRIER A

HIDDEN FROM VIEW Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories Are Only Visible to a Few

The environmental costs of the apparel industry and the working conditions on farms and in factories are seldom documented for public knowledge. Without robust information about conditions, it is nearly impossible for critical stakeholders—such as governments, auditors, businesses, and consumers—to know whether suppliers and manufacturers are in compliance with environmental and labor standards. Enabling timely access to reliable information—at every point along the apparel value chain—is an essential first step toward unlocking systemic solutions.

Brands have engaged in

thousands of audits, but this valuable information is typically never shared with the public.

The apparel industry’s pervasive lack of transparency has several key components, including: Apparel Supply Chains Are Complex and Difficult to Trace Apparel supply chains are incredibly complex and decentralized, which has made full traceability exceedingly challenging. Today, most international clothing brands outsource manufacturing to large contractors that have their own networks of subcontractors and sub-suppliers, which may further contract work to small factories and informal home workers. Brands often have no direct oversight of these increasingly fragmented tiers of supply chain relationships. Brands must invest significant resources and take proactive action if they want to ensure that entire supply networks are adhering to standards. However, some brands have little contact with any manufacturers and rely instead on middlemen to arrange all aspects of production. Some manufacturers use labor brokers to source workers, which makes rooting out human trafficking and other illegal activities even more difficult. In addition, fashion’s rapid production schedules mean that at any given moment manufacturers might use different subcontractors, including those that hire informal workers through personal networks, making conditions within the value chain incredibly opaque.

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ISEAL Alliance

Profile for Ashoka

Fabric of Change Report - Ashoka and C&A Foundation  

**Download link here: http://bit.ly/focreportpdf The global apparel industry is an important driver of economic growth and provides economi...

Fabric of Change Report - Ashoka and C&A Foundation  

**Download link here: http://bit.ly/focreportpdf The global apparel industry is an important driver of economic growth and provides economi...

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