Go Transparent

Transparency leads to greater accountability and can reduce the need for audits and social compliance initiatives. It also enhances consumer trust. Here is how to get started.

Types of Transparency

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Go transparent

The Three Types
of Transparency

Transparency can be categorised into three types, each requiring the disclosure of different information.

production/Sourcing Locations
Production/
Sourcing Locations

Supply chain transparency is the disclosure of names, addresses and the parent companies of suppliers producing for brands and retailers.

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production/Sourcing Locations
Factory Performance

Transparency of performance is the disclosure of information about the working and environmental conditions in factories.

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production/Sourcing Locations
Purchasing
Practices

Transparency of purchasing practices is the disclosure of actions taken in the relationship between buyers and their suppliers.

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How to go transparent checklist

Download a PDF with the full checklist for the three types of transparency.

Download full checklist
production/Sourcing Locations

Production/
Sourcing Locations

Supply chain transparency is the disclosure of names, addresses and the parent companies  of factories in the supply chain of brands and retailers.

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In 1995 only two apparel brands disclosed the names and locations of the first-tier suppliers cutting and sewing their garments. In 2022 this had grown to over 200 brands. The growth in transparency has led to brands consolidating their supply chains and taking more responsibility for the conditions in the factories producing their goods.

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Names and parent companies of individual suppliers

The list should include all manufacturers used at any time during the year, including subcontractors.

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Addresses of individual suppliers

The list should include all manufacturers used at any time during the year, including subcontractors.

The address needs to be included because spelling of factory names and naming conventions may be inconsistent.

It is also important to disclose the labour intensive production site, rather than the marketing department or the head office of the factories.

Most brands and retailers begin by disclosing their first-tier facilities (the last stage in the production process), but this is only the start. However difficult, it is imperative that second and third tier suppliers are also disclosed.

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Standardise or use a common template

The data should be standarised, so that users can compare peers on a like-for-like basis. 

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Use an open licence

Give permission for the reuse of the data by third parties. See the Open Data Standard for the Apparel Sector (ODSAS) for further guidance.

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Machine readable, searchable and downloadable

In either csv, json or xlsx formats, to allow quick aggregation of data.

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Updated regularly

Tell people how often you will update the list.

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Publish the list on your website

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Upload the list to the Open Apparel Registry

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Sign the Transparency Pledge or join a campaign

Factory Performance

Factory Performance

Transparency of performance is the disclosure of information about the working and environmental conditions in factories.

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Factory working conditions

Disclosure should include legally mandated rights, remuneration and safety requirements, including the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

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Factory environmental conditions

This can include: environmental management systems, water use, waste water disposal, emissions, chemical management etc.

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Named

The data should be associated with a specific factory.

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Standardised or in a common template

The data should be standarised, so that users can compare peers on a like-for-like basis. 

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Detailed

With sufficient granularity to be able to challenge accuracy and take actions.

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Easily accessible

Such that it does not require special knowledge, membership or fees to access.

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Publish supply chain audit reports on your website

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Join private initiatives that publicly disclose factory performance information

Public disclosure of performance has been implemented through private voluntary schemes such as: Better Factories Cambodia Transparency Database and BetterWork Transparency Portal

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Collect existing data and compare factory or supply chain performance

You can compare your supply chain performance via initiatives, such as the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE China)the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and Gajimu Indonesia.

Purchasing practices

Purchasing
Practices

The transparency of purchasing practices is the disclosure of actions taken between buyers and their suppliers.

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Does the buyer pay on time and at the agreed contract price?

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Is the price offered by the buyer enough to cover production costs and sufficient compensation for the supplier to meet codes of conduct and legal requirements?

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Does the buyer provide production forecasts and plans to the supplier?

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Named

The data should be associated with a specific brand or retailer.

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Comparable

The same information provided by buyers, retailers and suppliers.

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Detailed

With sufficient granularity to be able to challenge accuracy and take actions.

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Easily accessible

Such that it does not require special knowledge, membership or fees to access.

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Publish purchasing practice policy on your website

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Consider publishing data as part of relevant supply chain initiatives and compare your purchasing practices with other buyers

For example: Fair Wear Foundation members are required to disclose their purchasing practices and Fashion Revolution's Transparency Index rates brands on their purchasing practices.

SanMar Corporation has become the first BetterBuying subscriber to disclose its purchasing practices scores in 2021.