Only a tenth of the companies selling garments within Australia could assure their overseas suppliers were paying a living wage.
The second Australian Fashion Report, released today,
found the same proportion could trace their supply chain down to where cotton was
The report, released by Baptist World Aid
Australia, did note overall positives, such as two thirds of companies having
improved their labour rights management systems.
“Most of us are at risk of being connected to
slavery in the cotton fields because companies who we’re buying from haven’t
traced their cotton to make sure that there is no forced labour and child
labour,” the report’s co-author, Gershon Nimbalker, is reported by Fairfax as saying.
There were 59 overseas clothing companies (and over 200
brands) examined and graded on their transparency, worker rights, supply chain traceability and policies. The gradings were based on a set of 61 survey responses from each participant.
The first Australian Fashion Report was carried out in
2013 in response to the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh that year, which killed over 1,100 workers and is regarded as the second-worst industrial accident ever.