New Directory Compiles Human Rights Reviews to Aid Transparency

child labor

For most apparel companies, the value chain is long and complex these days, with product classifications produced in a variety of locations around the globe. Complicating matters further, many emerging regions have apparel industries that are relatively rudimentary, woefully under-regulated or growing at a rate that outpaces proper oversight. Keeping up to date on the countries, areas and factories that are doing the best job of upholding labor rights can be challenging for sourcing managers.

While there are a myriad of advocacy groups keeping tabs on the industry, the information is diffuse. To help create a one-stop destination for related reports, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) has released the Apparel Data Directory, which lists organizations generating public information regarding labor rights in the apparel, accessories and footwear industries.

“The impetus behind the directory came from a meeting that ICAR and C&A Foundation jointly hosted in October 2016, which was attended by data generating, gathering and policy advocacy organizations,” ICAR said in a release. “During this meeting, participants agreed that having a map of available data on labor rights in the apparel industry would help to facilitate collaboration, identify gaps in available information, and ensure that the data being produced is useful for policy advocacy organizations.”

The directory features reports that evaluate issues related to forced labor, child labor, slavery, wage abuses, freedom to unionize, discrimination and a host of other problems. It outlines how the organizations report the information, the frequency with which they update their reports, the number of metrics disclosed, the number and types of entities reviewed, where to access each report as well as a range of other characteristics.

Currently the directory includes 33 organizations, including Better Buying, Know the Chain and Violation Tracker, but the ICAR is actively seeking to grow the information available there.

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