Too many brands in the fashion industry exploit our planet and millions of people to meet our never-ending demand for clothing.

 

This Guide is a practical tool you can use to demand change by supporting brands that are investing in ethical and sustainable practices in their supply chains. It grades brands on their efforts to protect the people making their clothes and reduce their environmental impact.

It empowers you to buy clothes that align with your values and make change for makers.

When you buy from brands with good grades, you're supporting fairer working conditions and environmentally conscious production.

Download the guide

If you'd like to order physical copies of the EFG in bulk, please email info@tearfund.org.nz.

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The fashion industry is improving on the basics but significant outcomes for workers are not being achieved.


This means that more brands we buy from know what factories are producing their clothes and workers are being provided with safer conditions. This has been achieved in spite of the on-going challenges posed by Covid-19.

The problem is that 98% of workers in clothing factories do not earn enough to meet their basic needs and complex problems, liked forced or child labour, are not being resolved. We know that the fashion industry is among the top five industries most likely to have modern slavery happening in supply chains. Poor business practices are allowing this injustice to flourish.

The people who make our clothes, and their families, remain trapped in a cycle of poverty by a system that is exploiting them for profit.

It's not just people who are suffering. The fashion industry contributes up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is the second largest water polluter on earth. We've found that most companies are still not taking responsibility for the environmental damage caused by the process of making their products and from consumer use and disposal of clothing.

The fashion industry faces major challenges and there is much work still to be done.

Download the Ethical Fashion Guide to find out how you can help solve these problems.

 

Download Now

Read more about what our research has uncovered in the Ethical Fashion Report.

 

Read the report

Read the appendix

2021 insights at a glance

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How brands are performing

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Nargis's story

My name is Nargis* and I am 40 years old. I have been a garment worker for about five years.  I have two sons and a husband. My five-year-old son is disabled and the other is two. I am anxious about how I can get good treatment for him. My husband works as a helper on the bus.

We live in a small two-room slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We share two toilets and one kitchen with 30 families, and there is one open place for a bath.

I started in the button section and was there for one year until I fell pregnant. An officer from the factory told me go home, take a break and your job will be here for you when you come back.  But that leave was without pay, I didn’t get any help from the factory. There was also no job for me when I returned.

When I worked there my salary was 1500 taka (NZ $25) a month. I got another job at a different factory working in the sewing section where my salary was almost the same 1600 taka ($27) a month.

My working hours there were 8am to 8pm and sometimes 10pm. I worked long hours and then overtime and sometimes overnight. There was a lot of pressure to get things finished. It was possible to go to the toilet and have a drink of water, but we had to be very quick, otherwise, the supervisors would shout at us.  There was verbal abuse and there was child labour.

Whenever a buyer or compliance officer visited the factory, they would keep all of the children out of sight.  These children were getting paid 700 taka (NZ $11) a month. The supervisors would shout at the children if they made any mistakes.

A couple of years later, I left that factory and got another job. It had a better salary, but the hours were the same.  I lost my most recent job 18 months ago due to Covid. My salary was 3000 taka (NZ $50) a month.

About two years ago the working conditions of factories in Dhaka improved, because of compliance. Now there’s less shouting, less verbal abuse and not as much child labour. There’s also less overtime now and the factories pay workers their salaries on time. We used to wait a month before getting our salary.

Because of the new regulations, the rules are a lot stricter. Factories cannot get away with as much. Garment workers can place a complaint now and many companies will take action.

I cannot go to work nowadays because who will look after my children? My husband is the sole income earner.

My dream is to give my children a better education and a better future.

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The Report

The Ethical Fashion Report holds large fashion companies accountable for the effort made to protect the people making their clothing and the environment. For this research, 98 companies representing 420 brands have been assessed and A+ to F grades awarded.

A complete copy of the Report can be downloaded here or
you can jump into different sections of the Report below.

Methodology at a Glance: how we grade brands in the Ethical Fashion Guide

Methodology at a Glance: how we grade brands in the Ethical Fashion Guide

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

If you've ever wondered what makes one brand an A+ and another an F, then this is a must-read!   

 

Read more

The Modern Slavery Challenge

The Modern Slavery Challenge

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

Every year NZ $184 billion of clothing produced by forced labour is imported into countries like New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Modern slavery is rife within the production of clothing, but why? 

 

Read more

The Climate Challenge

The Climate Challenge

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

Consumption of clothing has increased 400% in the past two decades, with 80 billion garments purchased annually around the world. The truth is, our planet can no longer keep up. 

 

Read more

The Covid-19 Challenge

The Covid-19 Challenge

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

Shoppers are eagerly returning to malls and many countries are getting used to a new “normal”, but Covid-19 continues to put the people who make our clothes at risk. 

 

Read more

Living Wage—what it is, the complexities and the path forward.

Living Wage—what it is, the complexities and the path forward.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

According to Oxfam, it takes just four days for a CEO of one of the top five fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in their entire lifetime. The question remains...why don’t these profits reach the workers?

 

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Resources

Resources

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

If you want to learn more about everything ethical fashion then this is the page for you! We've got loads of resources you can use below. 

 

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