Woman sitting on bed with 'brand tracker' text

IT IS POSSIBLE TO PAY THE WOMEN WHO MAKE OUR CLOTHES ENOUGH MONEY TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY

There are no valid reasons why brands shouldn’t do everything they can to ensure that living wages are paid to the women in their supply chains. The women make the clothes, the brands make millions of dollars, but the women continue to live in poverty. This isn’t right.

The What She Makes campaign is tracking the actions taken by the most popular brands being sold in Aotearoa New Zealand. We started with six well-known clothing brands. We want to create a race to the top by celebrating the companies that show leadership in this area and highlighting the gaps where brands need to improve. Each brand’s progress is tracked on their living wage journeys, based on publicly-available information. Explore below to see what some of your favourite brands are doing to create a fairer fashion industry.

We need your voice to make the most impact. Let these brands know you expect more from them.

Oxfam is willing to help brands on each step of their journey because we care about #WhatSheMakes

Brand Tracker

1
Get the
basic right
2
Create a
plan
3
Pay a
living wage
Make a
commitment
Be
transparent
Separate
labour costs
Create a
plan
Pay a living
wage
Demand
action

Glassons and Hallenstein Bros have been working towards a higher wage structure through a roadmap that aims to close the gap to a living wage. In their most recent sustainability report, Glassons and Hallenstein Bros have made an explicit comment to support a living wage by working with their suppliers to meet the living wage benchmark. The latest publication of their 2022 Sustainablity Report includes a clear definition of a living wage, milestones and timeframes, as well as a commitment to reporting results annually. These are strong indicators of a credible, public commitment to working towards living wages in the supply chain.

Glassons and Hallenstein Bros have been working towards a higher wage structure through a roadmap that aims to close the gap to a living wage. In their most recent sustainability report, Glassons and Hallenstein Bros have made an explicit comment to support a living wage by working with their suppliers to meet the living wage benchmark. The latest publication of their 2022 Sustainablity Report includes a clear definition of a living wage, milestones and timeframes, as well as a commitment to reporting results annually. These are strong indicators of a credible, public commitment to working towards living wages in the supply chain.

Since 2013, when H&M first made its public commitment to pay a living wage, the brand has been actively working on its wage strategy and improving the way they do business with its suppliers. While H&M has not succeeded in paying a living wage yet, their commitment to continue what they have started is evident. Their commitment to a living wage, which includes details on what they have achieved so far and what they are working on next, is outlined clearly on their website, and in their code of ethics and sustainability statements. However, H&M still needs to clearly state how they define a living wage, beyond “meeting the basic needs.” H&M is also a member of the Action, Collaboration, Transformation multi-stakeholder initiative that actively works toward the payment of living wages in their supply chain together with other clothing brands.

Kathmandu has provided a definition of a living wage on its website, but it does not include crucial elements of a living wage, like being able to afford a decent standard of living and provision for unexpected events. They have also acknowledged that a regular work week shall not exceed 48 hours in its Code of Conduct. While they have not explicitly committed to working towards a living wage, their membership with the Fair Labour Association (FLA), shows Kathmandu’s willingness to advance living wages in the supply chain. Kathmandu’s approach to living wages follows recommendations from the FLA workplace code of conduct. They require suppliers to progressively realise a level of compensation that meets workers’ basic needs if current wages are insufficient. This is a start. To make their commitment credible, Kathmandu needs to specify a timeframe and milestones on how these will be achieved, and show how they will transparently report on progress.

lululemon has adopted the Global Living Wage Coalition’s definition of a living wage and stated how the brand sees a living wage, but so far, this has not been reflected in their Vendor Code of Ethics. lululemon also needs to integrate the concept of families in their definition. Also, as part of their ongoing accreditation with the Fair Labour Association (FLA), we acknowledge lululemon’s ongoing work to advance living wages in the supply chain. lululemon’s approach follows recommendations from the FLA workplace code of conduct. According to their 2021 impact report, they aim to be accredited by the FLA by 2024. Their Vendor Code of Ethics requires suppliers to progressively realise a level of compensation that meet workers’ basic needs and some discretionary income if current wages are insufficient to do so. This is good – but lululemon still needs to detail a timeline and milestones, and make an explicit commitment to a living wage.

Macpac has provided a strong and credible commitment to a living wage. Macpac has indicated all the required elements of a living wage, including a clear definition of what a living wage is that is enough for the workers and their families to live with dignity, earned in a standard work week of no more than 48 hours. Macpac also includes measurable milestones with a timeframe. They have committed to publicly report on the progress of their living wage journey. It is a compelling commitment from Macpac to the wellbeing of the people who make their clothes and that of their families.

Click the ‘demand action’ megaphone icon to tell each brand what you think about their commitment! When we join together and make our voices heard, we show these major brands we want the women who make our clothes to be paid enough to afford a basic and dignified standard of living.

Oxfam Aotearoa will release each brand’s status for Be transparent in 2023, for Step 2 in 2024, and Step 3 in 2025/2026.

How we track their journey

We will give brands a star rating based on a 5-star scale. The number of stars a brand will get will depend on how the elements of the brand’s milestones meet Oxfam’s requirements. We also include an explanation under each brand to give context behind the rating.

How we measure progress

We need brands to signify their intention to change the lives of the women who make their clothes and make a public, credible commitment. A credible commitment to a living wage should include a clear definition of what a living wage is, measurable and verifiable milestones, and a timeline. By not committing to a living wage, brands allow poverty wages to be paid to the women who make our clothes.

Brands need to publish where they source their clothes from and to know where they need the changes to happen. If brands are not transparent about their sourcing, there is no way for us to know if human rights are being violated. They need to disclose their suppliers, including factory names and addresses, parent companies, number of workers and breakdown by gender, and types of products made, so we know where our clothes are being made.

We ask brands to separate labour costs in price negotiations. This way, it will be easier to identify if the wages being paid to the women who make our clothes correspond to a living wage or not. It also allows for a price negotiation that does not affect workers’ wages.

Within 12 months of making a commitment, brands should publish a plan on how they will pay a living wage. This plan should include a step-by-step strategy with measurable milestones and a timeframe. We also encourage brands to develop it in consultation with workers’ representatives, factory management and other stakeholders.

Now we get to the best part. If the brands have diligently followed the journey, paying a living wage is the logical next step. We expect brands to pay a living wage within four to six years from making a commitment.

Engaging with the brands

We’ve reached out to these brands and asked them to join us on a journey to a living wage. We provide them with technical guidance and knowledge and support them in addressing different challenges in paying a living wage to their supply chain. We have developed a Brand Guide (link) and have communicated what the campaign expects from them. We will continue to demand action from brands and support them to succeed in paying a living wage to the women who make our clothes.

Image with fabric scrap

Oxfam Aotearoa does not endorse nor have any affiliation with the companies that are featured in this campaign. Oxfam Aotearoa acknowledges that the copyright in the logos is the property of these companies.

 

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All images by Fabeha Monir, except where stated otherwise.