Here are the best and worst brands according to the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report

Image via Baptist World Aid Australia
Words by Tara Smith

The naughty and nice list.

Read our rundown of the 2019 and 2020 Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Reports here and here.

Baptist World Aid Australia has published its fifth annual Ethical Fashion Report, revealing which brands are on the naughty and nice list.

Since the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, companies are now graded on their commitment to workers’ rights and supply chain transparency.

While only 41 companies participated in the report’s first year, numbers have risen up to 114 in 2018. Similar to your high school report at the end of each year, brands are graded from A to F. It’s also important to note that those who refuse to participate are automatically graded an F.

So, what does this year’s report tell us?

You can expect all the usual suspects on the A-grade list, from Outland Denim, Cotton On Group, Kowtow, Hanesbrands (Bonds, Champion, etc.), adidas, Country Road Group and Inditex (Zara).

A notable mention goes to Cotton On Group, which has demonstrated continuous improvement since the first edition of the report. In 2013, the brand received a B- for its efforts. It is now the best rated large multinational headquartered in Australia. Big props. APG (JAG, SABA, Sportscraft) and Country Road Group have also displayed continual growth.

While the median grade of all companies is C+, transparency is up from 26% in 2017 to 34% in 2018.

Companies that have begun publishing their supplier lists include ASOS, Factory X (Gorman, Jack London, Dangerfield) Kathmandu, Hallenstein (Glassons, Hallenstein Brothers) among others. Another commendable effort goes to Kmart Australia, which has benchmarked wages in a few of its Bangladeshi factories, and is now implementing initiatives to raise wage levels.

Now onto the not so good stuff.

For the first time, the Ethical Fashion Report has assessed companies on their gender policies and strategies. It has found that while women represent 80% of global garment workers, just 22% of companies have a robust gender strategy in place. It also found that all countries in the Asia-Pacific region report a gender pay gap. This gap is most significant in countries like Pakistan (66.5%), India (35.3%) and Sri Lanka (30.3%).

Several companies have also been placed on Baptist World Aid Australia’s naughty list for consecutive years in a row. Ally Fashion, Bloch, Decjuba, Wish and Voyager Distributing Co have all received F grades for a number of reports. Again, these brands refuse to participate and have little public transparency. Therefore, they automatically score a zero.

Another new addition to the report is data on the fashion industry’s environmental performance. Etiko, Common Good, H&M, Kowtow, Outland Denim and Patagonia were among those with outstanding environmental management.

The overall findings from this report show an increased effort from a number of global companies for greater transparency, and a fight for workers’ rights across the board. Big ups to the brands that have shown improvements, and a thumbs down to those that haven’t.

In preparation for Fashion Revolution Week, read the report and brush up on your ethical responsibility here.


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