Bangladeshi suppliers ‘not afraid of transparency’ after an overhaul in wake of Rana Plaza and the RMG Industry focus should be on brands who fail to list their supply chains, not leaders, said a press statement quoting Mostafiz Uddin, owner of Denim Expert Ltd. He said this to the delegates at a recent London sustainability conference.
“Yes, we have seen a change since Rana Plaza, but it is not enough,” Mostafiz Uddin told the audience at Drapers Sustainability Conference.
“If you look at Bangladesh, we have more than 4,000 garment factories. Each and every one of them has been audited. These factories have nothing to fear now and are comfortable with transparency. I hear that brands are demanding transparency but if there really was a demand, the industry would already be fully transparent. So what are we waiting for?” emphasized Mostafiz.
We also have to catch the people who aren’t transparent. Retailers need to work with suppliers. Instead of saying, ‘You’ve done something wrong, so now we don’t want to work with you,’ they should say, ‘This isn’t what we want, but here’s how we want you to work.
Mustafiz used the example of product labeling on food packaging and asked the question of why manufacturers can tell us exactly where our food was made and by whom but such transparency has yet to arrive in the apparel sector.
“Transparency is possible,” said Uddin. “We have seen this already with progressive brands such as H&M and Marks & Spencer. Yet it is not right that these retailers continue to get shot down by the press. We have to stop this culture and instead focus on the brands which are not transparent and who are holding the industry back.”
Evidence of the point made by Uddin can be found on the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index which shows there are dozens of brands still not making their supply chains public. These include Forever 21, Lacoste, Khols, Valentino, Ross Stores, and Amazon. Many brands continue to disclose nothing of their supply chains, yet somehow manage to escape the spotlight.
Uddin said, “A lot of change is still needed. A couple of organizations are working hard, but it is not enough. We all need to stand up – retailers need to stand up, consumers need to stand up – otherwise, there will be no real change and just a lot of talk.”
“We also have to catch the people who aren’t transparent. Retailers need to work with suppliers. Instead of saying, ‘You’ve done something wrong, so now we don’t want to work with you,’ they should say, ‘This isn’t what we want, but here’s how we want you to work.’”