Home / Knowledge / News / Apparel/Garments / Apparel, footwear brands failing to tackle exploitation

Apparel, footwear brands failing to tackle exploitation

Dec '18
Apparel, footwear brands failing to tackle exploitation
Apparel and footwear firms are failing to tackle exploitation of workers in their supply chains, according to a report by KnowTheChain, a benchmark that measures companies' efforts to address forced labour. KnowTheChain's analysis gives the apparel and footwear sector an average overall score of 37 out of 100. More than two-thirds of firms scored below 50.

Eighteen companies scored 0 out of 100 on recruitment, which measures a company's approach to reducing the risk of exploitation of workers by recruitment agencies, eliminating workers' payment of fees during the recruitment processes, and protecting the rights of migrant workers.

While the 2018 benchmark shows improvement from the sector since KnowTheChain's 2016 benchmark, industry-wide progress is uneven and lacking on key issues like responsible recruitment, an area directing affecting vulnerable workers' lives, according to a company press release.

KnowTheChain is a partnership between San Francisco-based Humanity United, London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Amsterdam-based Sustainalytics and Verité in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Despite decades of public scrutiny over labour conditions in the industry, workers, particularly migrants and women, are often exploited through force, fraud or coercion, said KnowTheChain. Many work for little or no pay, cut off from their homes or families, and with restrictions on their movement or opportunities for recourse.

Workers are often charged exorbitant recruitment fees that they can never repay, further trapping them in debt bondage and forced labour.

"No one should have to pay for their job," said Kilian Moote, KnowTheChain project director. "We need to see stronger action from apparel and footwear brands to ensure vulnerable workers are recruited ethically and that their voices and grievances are heard across all their supply chains."

The apparel and footwear sector is increasingly reliant on migrant labour.

Adidas and Lululemon are the only companies that require the direct employment of workers in their supply chains, thus eliminating the risk of exploitation through employment agencies. These companies also offered evidence that their grievance mechanism is accessible to and actively used by workers in the second tier of their supply chains.

The lowest scoring companies include luxury brands Prada (5/100) and Salvatore Ferragamo (13/100), footwear companies Skechers (7/100) and Foot Locker (12/100), and suppliers Eclat Textile and Yue Yuen, both with 1/100. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

Must ReadView All

Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 12th Apr 2021

Singapore becomes first RCEP participating country to ratify agreement

Singapore has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic...

Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 12th Apr 2021

World economy stumbling towards two-track recovery: Report

The world economy is facing sharply divergent growth prospects across ...

Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 12th Apr 2021

2021 to be critical for European textiles and clothing sector: Euratex

2021 will be a critical year for the European textile and clothing...

Interviews View All

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Farmers who produce seeds earn 50 per cent more

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Blockchains will be in heavy use by early adopters by 2025

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Great step towards realising end goal of 'AtmaNirbhar Bharat'

Rajesh Vig & Ritu Vig,

Rajesh Vig & Ritu Vig

Rajesh Vig and Ritu Vig, promoters of the kidswear brand Happy Feet,...

Kriti Kanodia,

Kriti Kanodia

A TV show in 2012 where actor Sonam Kapoor <g...

Rishav Bajoria & Subham Sengupta,

Rishav Bajoria & Subham Sengupta

Launched in October 2020, the Gumti app could not have come at a more...

Wolfgang Plasser, Lenzing AG

Wolfgang Plasser
Lenzing AG

The Lenzing Group is an international company headquartered in Austria...

Kevin Young & Tom Lucas, Web Industries

Kevin Young & Tom Lucas
Web Industries

Web Industries is a precision formatter of nonwoven materials used in baby ...

Daniel Kaye, RocketLife

Daniel Kaye

<div>RocketLife, an award-winning developer of breakthrough visual...

Sandeep Gonsalves & Sarah Gonsalves, Sarah & Sandeep

Sandeep Gonsalves & Sarah Gonsalves
Sarah & Sandeep

Established in 2012, Sarah &amp; Sandeep is a luxury menswear label...

Suman Nathwani, Suman Nathwani

Suman Nathwani
Suman Nathwani

Designer <b>Suman Nathwani</b> talks about her journey of opening a...

Vidur Adlakha & Riccardo Bennidini, La Fuori

Vidur Adlakha & Riccardo Bennidini
La Fuori

With an active presence in US, Italy and India, clothing brand La Fuori...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


Letter To Editor

(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies


Leave your Comments

April 2021

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

Advanced Search