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Global apparel brands come clean on suppliers

Brands are publicly disclosing their supplier lists. Popular online fashion retailer ASOS is set to publish a list of the factories where it produces its own-brand products. Uniqlo has revealed the names and addresses of 146 of its core factory partners.

Earlier Adidas, Converse, H&M, Levi Strauss and H&M have published a list of their manufacturers. Adidas and H&M have published the names and addresses of sub-contractors or fabric/yarn suppliers. Publishing supplier lists is important because it helps NGOs, unions, local communities and even workers themselves to alert brands of any potential human rights and environmental issues in their supply chains. This sort of transparency makes it easier for the relevant parties to understand what went wrong, who is responsible and how to fix it.

Marks & Spencer published an interactive map of its suppliers in both food and clothing, which spans 53 countries and covers 1,229 factories employing 787,331 workers. Gap, C&A, VF (which owns more than 20 brands including The North Face, Timberland, Vans and Wrangler) have revealed the names and addresses of the factories that manufacture their clothing around the world.

The information brands provide varies widely. Some publish every factory where their clothes are manufactured. Others may only reveal a selected portion of their manufacturers, such as their core high-volume suppliers, factories located just in one country or only the factories the company owns.