Almost 70,000 people demanded that Armani and Primark reveal where they make their clothes as they called upon major garment brands and retailers Armani, Primark, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Walmart to make transparency a part of their New Year’s resolutions and publicly disclose the factories that produce their clothes.
Throughout January, activists will deliver golden boxes of signatures to luxury brand Armani and cost-cutter Primark in major European cities. Other targeted brands can also expect to find signatures left on their doorsteps. The golden signature gift boxes are the culmination of the global #GoTransparent campaign, led by Human Rights Watch, Clean Clothes Campaign and International Labour Rights Forum. The campaign launched a minimum global standard of transparency for the garment sector - the "Apparel And Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge" and convinced seventeen brands to commit to publish information on the factories they source from, including addresses and numbers of workers.
The #GoTransparent campaign specifically targeted the five brands Armani, Primark, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Walmart, which are considered to be among the most secretive about their supply chain data and who refused to commit to more transparent supply chains by signing the pledge. The information that the “Transparency Pledge” is meant to reveal is vital for workers and activists to be able to alert brands to labour rights violations in their supply chains. Transparency in supply chains will help prevent such dramatic gestures as needed after the Rana Plaza blaze in Bangladesh in 2013, when workers and activists had to re-enter the ruins of the building to search for brand labels. They had to risk their lives to establish who should be held responsible for the tragedy.
The five targeted brands appear to be out of sync with the growing trend towards more transparency in the garment industry. Ben Vanpeperstraete of Clean Clothes Campaign decries the non-cooperation, “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.”
The 17 brands that signed the “Transparency Pledge” are Adidas, Asics, Asos, C&A, Clarks, Cotton On Group, Esprit, G-Star RAW, H&M Group, Hanesbrands, Levis, Lindex, New Look, Next, Nike, Patagonia and Pentland Brands.