Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) is urging consumers to check their fashion brands to ensure they are wearing ethical clothing.

What brands are you wearing? What are the company’s business practices? How can you shop more ethically? What brands will you buy (and which will you avoid) this year? Will you reach out to fashion companies you wear to encourage improved supply chain ethics?

These are some of the questions that inform BWAA’s annual ethical fashion guide, the sixth edition of which was released April 10.

The guide assesses 480 fashion companies, providing each with an A, B, C, D or F grade based on the ethical practices within the businesses’ supply chains.

“The grades … are a measure of the efforts undertaken to mitigate the risks of forced labor, child labor, worker exploitation and environmental degradation in supply chains,” the report states. “Each brand is assessed according to 44 specific criteria. These assessments consider three critical stages of the supply chain as a proxy for the entire supply chain: raw materials, inputs production and final manufacturing.”

A majority (61.9 percent) of the fashion brands received either a “B” rating (179) or “C” rating (118).

Grades for the remaining 183 companies were “A” rating (80), “D” rating (68) and “F” rating (35).

Brands receiving “A” grades include Adidas, C9 by Champion, Patagonia and Reebok.

“It is important to note that a high grade does not mean that a company has a supply chain, which is free from exploitation. Rather, it is an indicator of the efforts the company is undertaking and the strength of its systems to reduce the risk of exploitation,” an FAQ explains.

A sampling of companies that received a B, C or D rating are Abercrombie & Fitch (D-), Banana Republic (B), Calvin Klein (C+), Dockers (B), Fruit of the Loom (D+), GAP (B), H&M (B+), IZOD (C+), Lacoste (C-), Nautica (B), Nike (B-), Ralph Lauren (C-), Tommy Hilfiger (C+), Van Heusen (C+), Victoria’s Secret (B) and Wrangler (B).

“F”-rated brands were primarily lesser-known companies, such as Ally Fashion, Co Co Beach, Farmers, Lemonade and The Baby Factory.

The guide is available here.

Editor’s note: A news brief about the 2018 guide is available here, the 2017 guide here and the 2016 guide here.

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