Good On You ratings updates includes fashion’s response to Covid-19
The Good On You platform and app empowers consumers to check brand ratings while they shop and learn about the impact of fashion brands on the environment, labour and animals. This week, Good On You updated how it rates brands to take into account how they are responding to the Covid-19 crisis.
Since the start of the pandemic, major brands and retailers have cancelled orders and delayed payments from their suppliers worth billions of dollars. As a result many suppliers have struggled to keep their doors open, while others have used the pandemic as an excuse to fire workers and crack down on unions. Millions of workers in the supply chain have gone unpaid, lost their jobs, struggled to find work and not had any social safety net to fall back on. Research from the Clean Clothes Campaign estimates the total value of lost wages to garment workers falls between $3.19 and $5.78 billion USD.
In response, Good on You has updated its methodology to reward brands that have policies to protect vulnerable workers in their supply chains from the fallout from Covid-19, and penalise those who don’t.
The update to Good On You’s ratings is part of a wider effort to address emerging issues across the industry and to incorporate research by expert industry bodies such as Four Paws, the Carbon Disclosure Project and Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index (FTI) – which we are excited to announce today.
The FTI is a benchmarking tool designed to push major brands and retailers to be more transparent by publicly disclosing credible, comprehensive and comparable information about their social and environmental policies, practices, impacts and supply chain.
Through creating the FTI, our mission is to incentivise greater disclosure of social and environmental information by large fashion brands and retailers so that stakeholders, such as Good on You, can use this information to increase corporate accountability and drive positive change.
We are excited to see FTI data integrated into the Good On You methodology as part the assessment of major brands’ impact on labour.
Below, we answer some key questions on the partnership between Good On You and Fashion Revolution.
What’s the difference between the Fashion Transparency Index and Good On You?
The Fashion Transparency Index scores 250 of the world’s largest brands and retailers according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices, impacts and supply chain. It does not assess which major brands are the most sustainable but rather who discloses the most information about what they’re doing and what impact they’re having. Transparency is not the same thing as sustainability. However, transparency is an essential building block of sustainability because without it we cannot see and protect vulnerable people and the living planet nor can we hold brands accountable.
Both Good On You and the FTI champion the need for greater transparency from the brands that people buy. We share the same belief that people care about working conditions, animal welfare and the environment, and we both want to make it easier for people to access this information from major brands and use it to drive change.
The FTI puts the spotlight on the world’s largest brands and retailers because we believe that they have the most significant and often negative social and environmental impacts and historically have been highly opaque about their policies, practices and impacts on people, communities and the environment. We designed the methodology to be relevant to brands and retailers with large annual turnover, currently over $400 million USD. Whereas Good On you rates thousands of small, medium and very large brands.
Furthermore, Good On You uses information published by third parties, which the FTI currently does not. However, neither tool considers information that is not in the public domain. If brands give us information that is not in the public domain, we encourage them to publish that information and take account of it only when it is publically available.
We believe that both tools compliment each other and collectively build on our joint aim for improved transparency and accountability among major brands.
Why might a brand achieve a high score in the Fashion Transparency Index but perform poorly in Good On You’s ranking?
The FTI does not use publicly disclosed information to determine whether certain brands are to avoid, making a start, or doing great; it is not a shopping guide, whereas Good on You uses data in this way. This is where we differ and why our scoring is not directly comparable.
Good On You calculates the ‘Labour’ rating includes the following topics:
- Worker Rights
- Living Wage
- Gender Equality
- Worker Empowerment
- Knowing Suppliers
- Supplier Relationships
- Purchasing Practices
- Production Risk
- Covid-19 response
The FTI methodology covers all of these same topics, with an exception for Covid-19 responses which we intend to include in the next edition.
What is the benefit of Fashion Revolution and Good On You aligning methodologies?
In the Fashion Transparency Index, major brands and retailers are scored on 220 indicators. Good On You covers more than 500 data points and have now updated their methodology to include the FTI’s labour-related indicators.
The more we can align our methodologies the better. This is because it sends a stronger signal to brands about what information consumers and other stakeholders expect brands to be publishing. Essentially, it’s power in numbers.
We know that big brands receive hundreds of requests for social and environmental information from industry bodies and campaigning groups like us every year. If we can align our demands and share research, then brands seem more likely to take action.
Aligning our methodologies also helps us to avoid duplicated efforts and instead focus on improving and scaling up activities in other areas.
How can the Fashion Transparency Index and Good On You be used to encourage brands to improve their practices?
At Fashion Revolution, we know that brands (especially the big ones) are most inclined to make changes when they believe that their profits are on the line. Writing an email to a brand, dropping into their DMs, or tweeting them to let them know you are their customer and that you care about these issues is a powerful way to get results.
If you’re writing to a brand, let them know that you’ve checked their score in the Fashion Transparency Index, looked them up on Good On You, and that you’ll be watching for them to improve their ratings.