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European fashion brands renege on Transparency Pledge

Campaigners are demanding two of Europe’s biggest fashion brands should make transparency part of their New Year’s resolutions by revealing where their clothes are made. Activists have been delivering gift boxes containing almost 70,000 signatures to Armani and Primark stores in European cities, asking the two brands to publish information on the factories they source from, including addresses and numbers of workers.

The signatures have already been hand-delivered to shops in cities, including Hanover and Antwerp, with international labour rights alliance Clean Clothes Campaign, which co-organised the action, sharing photos of the gift-giving on social media.

In a statement Clean Clothes Campaign said it would continue delivering signatures to the luxury Italian and budget Irish labels as well as American brands Walmart, Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. The NGO said the brands were “considered to be among the most secretive about their supply chain data” and had refused to sign the Transparency Pledge, which is considered a minimum gold standard of transparency for the garment industry.

Advocacy coordinator Ben Vanpeperstraete noted, “Any brand that refuses to share information about their supply chain should be a huge red flag for consumers. What are these brands hiding? Do they even know where their clothes are coming from?”

“If brands are taking the necessary steps to prevent labour abuses in their supply chains, then they should eagerly want to share detailed information about the factories and workers who make their clothes with the public,” he added.

Armani announced, “The Armani Group has been and is actively working on all Corporate Social Responsibility aspects of its activity in line with the official international conventions and with the highest industry standards.”

“The Group requires that the same standards and commitments above all the utter respect of human rights, are fulfilled in its supply chain.” It added.

The brand promised that it would “progressively” report all available data on its website. Primark said it regularly shared information about its supply chain. “We take the issue of transparency seriously, and recognise that there is always more work to be done in ensuring our products are made with respect for workers’ rights and the environment, as well as how we communicate our work in this area.”