Kmart, Aldi, Target, David Jones get a high score in the ethical sourcing guide; Myer, Boohoo are languishing
Kmart, along with Aldi and Target, tied David Jones on a new in-depth retailer scorecard with Myer and a host of other big names left languishing.
Discounter Kmart has risen to the top of the ranking of Australia’s most ethical and sustainable clothing retailers.
News.com.au can exclusively reveal that the department store, known for its inexpensive shopping, scored a B on the 2021 Ethical fashion guide, the same as high-end retailer David Jones.
Target, which like Kmart is owned by the Wesfarmers conglomerate, has also done well, as has Aldi. Big W, who is part of Woolworths, was in the middle of the pack.
But all performed better than their rival Myer while brands such as Billabong, Roxy, Bardot, Jeanswest and Sheike all ranked lower in the class, with most not answering questions about how their clothes looked. manufactured and whether foreign workers were exploited or paid a living wage.
However, a number of retailers, including Myer, rebuffed their poor ranking.
Big names rated from A + to F on ethical references
The Guide to ethical sourcing is produced by Baptist World Aid, an international Christian development organization that focuses on poverty reduction.
âWe’ve seen huge strides in the industry,â said Chantelle Mayo, Baptist World Aid project manager, who helped produce the survey.
“But there are huge gaps between the ethical sourcing policies that retailers put in place and the results for garment workers that show the status quo is not working.”
The guide explored the ethical practices of dozens of department stores and brands in Australia and New Zealand.
The companies were rated on their ethical policies, supply chain traceability, labor standards, and oversight of overseas factories that produced clothing. He examined whether brands were doing enough on forced labor and fair wages as well as the environmental impact of production.
âCompanies needed a score over 50 percent to get an ‘A’, with a ‘B’ just above the average line,â Ms. Mayo said.
“” C “is where they are committed to improving, and” D “and” F “is where companies don’t get the job done or where they aren’t transparent. “
Bonds, H&M, Zara, Country Road – up the ladder
Retailers that received an A included H&M, the owner of Bonds Hanesbrands, Zara, Kathmandu, Politix, Rodd & Gunn, Country Road and Witchery.
Only a few brands achieved an A + score, including Outland Denim, a company whose jeans became an instant hit when worn by Megan, the Duchess of Sussex, when she and Prince Happy toured Australia in 2018.
âWith the A + brands, ethical sourcing and sustainability are really part of their brand identity,â Ms. Mayo said.
âWhereas the very large companies that operate gigantic supply chains and that have been around for a long time now have to retroactively improve those chains. “
Kmart, DJs, Target, ASOS get a B
Along with Kmart and David Jones, Cotton On, Uniqlo and Supre earned a B.
Ms Mayo said it shows consumers don’t have to pay a premium price for more ethically sourced clothing.
âWe are really happy that very large companies are getting involved in this area. They realize that it’s a priority for consumers, that people want to know that the products they buy are made by workers who are safe and happy.
“But that B rating still means there are some pretty big gaps and room for improvement.”
Big W shared a C rating with Best & Less, Rivers, Rockmans, Dotti and Peter Alexander. These retailers often talked about ethical sourcing and sustainability, with strong policies, but less scrutiny of the details of their supply chains.
“We are proud of the progress we have made in responsible sourcing over the past three years, but we recognize that there is still work to be done,” a Big W spokesperson told news.com .to.
The channel said it was “committed to protecting and improving working conditions” and would seek to improve its ranking next year.
Myer challenges the low ranking
A spokesperson for Myer told news.com.au the store was “puzzled” by its low D score.
“Myer does not agree with this year’s ratings as they do not accurately reflect our program and the continuous improvements made, the result also being inconsistent with the results and benchmarking of previous years.”
The chain said it has a “well-established” ethical sourcing program.
“We will meet with Baptists to better understand their significant change in the evaluation of our sourcing program.”
There was a noticeable difference between retailers in the same space. Online retailer ASOS got a B, but Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo were only able to get D’s.
Track and field giant Lululemon topped the table with an A but Australian icon Lorna Jane languished with a D.
In a statement, Lorna Jane told news.com.au that she chose not to engage with the organization and adopted the government’s statement on modern slavery as the primary method of reporting.
âThe D grade we received is the result of not participating in the survey.
âWe are focused on continuous improvement and will continue to invest in our ethical sourcing program. “
‘This is the result they got ‘
Lifestyle clothing brand Industrie saw its ranking drop sharply last year from A to D. Like Lorna Jane, Industrie chose to ignore the survey and “questioned the methodology.”
In a statement to Baptist World Aid, Industry said it “does not accept or recognize this result” which “does not reflect Industry’s ethical sourcing program.”
Ms Mayo said if a company chooses not to engage, it would be judged solely on the information available – which often wasn’t much.
âWe rated Industry on their public information and unfortunately that’s the result they got.
“We would really like to know more about them because in the past they have been a very well ranked company.”
Boardriders, which includes the Quicksilver and Billabong surf brands, was one of the worst performing companies with a chain of its brands doing no better than an F. The company was contacted for comment.
Women’s clothing retailer Sheike also got an F. A spokesperson said he just didn’t have the resources to participate.
âWe are a family business that strives to do the best we can within our business constraints. We are not backed by private capital or large conglomerates with deep pockets.
“While we don’t strive to be known as a sustainable fashion brand, we certainly do try to do our part to minimize our impact on the planet.”
25% admit throwing away their clothes after just one use
Ms Mayo said an emerging problem was with Category A companies leading to Category F buyers.
Many fast-fashion retailers launch new clothing lines several times a year, which the organization says encourages consumption and makes the lives of garment workers more difficult.
Baptist World Aid said 25% of people admitted to wearing certain clothes only once before throwing them away.
âThe guide gives consumers more information on how to become more ethical buyers.
âBut that doesn’t mean that just because a business gets an A rating, you should be licensed to buy as many clothing products as you want,â she said.
âWe want people to think about why they’re buying – you don’t have to always have the newest clothes and never wear something twice.
âBecause it’s not a super ethical way to consume and it’s going to contribute to more waste in the end. “