The first stop on my journey to answer the question, how do I shop like an abolitionist, is to visit Free2Work’s website and learn more about the brands I frequently buy. Free2Work investigates and grades companies on their efforts to reduce child and forced labor. It’s like a report card for the brands you shop.
If – by chance- you don’t want to read to whole thing, you’re in luck! I’ve done the work for you. Here are the highlights. (You’re welcome.)
Apparel Industry Report Card Review (2012)
It wasn’t that long ago that apparel companies publicly renounced any responsibility to the workers in its supply chain. Now, companies are putting standards in place that show they at least believe they have a responsibility to try to end modern slavery, though the impact of their current efforts are still minute and much more work needs to be done.
The companies were graded in four main areas:
POLICIES: they evaluate the brad’s code of conduct, sourcing and subcontracting policies, and involvement with other organizations working to combat child and forced labor.
TRACEABILITY & TRANSPARENCY: They look at how thoroughly the brand understands its own supply chain, and whether it discloses critical information to the public
MONITORING & TRAINING: They measure the adequacy of the brand’s monitoring program to address the specific issues of child and forced labor.
WORKER RIGHTS: They assess the degree to which the brand supports worker well-being by ensuring that workers are able to claim their rights at work through organizing, and whether workers earn a living wage.
High grades do not necessarily mean the supply chain is free of child and forced labor, but it means they are better managed relative to other brands.
WHO SCORED WELL?
Brands that got an overall A score include Maggie’s Organics, Hanesbrands (Hanes, Just My Size, Playtex, etc.), and Good & Fair.
Yeah – I’ve never heard of two of those companies either.
Brands that failed (in a worse way than the others) include Ambercrombie & Fitch (Hollister and Gilly Hicks) with an F score in almost every category. Skechers got a flat out F score. And to no one’s surprise, the Walmart brands such as Faded Glory, No Boundaries and Simply Basic, failed in almost every category, coming in with a D score.
Yeah – I’ve got some of THAT in my closet. Might even be wearing a shirt from one of those brands right now as I type… Yup. I am.
What can I do to shop well?
I can continue to educate myself at Free2Work.org.
I can use the Free2Work app on my smartphone to help me choose whether to buy from one brand or another.
SHOP WELL SERIES:
2: Report Card for Your Clothes