Adidas Earns No. 1 Spot in Ranking of Fashion Firms’ Human Rights Performance

Adidas has earned the top spot in a ranking of global fashion firms’ human rights performance.

As part of its 2020 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark report, the World Benchmarking Alliance looked at the human rights disclosures of more than 50 boldface apparel and accessories companies in the world. Its evaluation spanned three areas: governance and policy commitments; embedding respect and human rights due diligence; and remedies and grievance mechanisms.

Through its assessment, the WBA found that Adidas was the No. 1 performer, with a score of 23 out of a possible 26 points. Supermarket Tesco, which also sells clothing, came in at second with a score of 21.5, while specialty retailer Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. and Gap Inc. rounded out the top five with their respective scores of 20.5, 19.5 and 18.5.

On the other hand, among the lowest rated players in the space were shoe seller Foot Locker, department store Kohl’s, athletic merchant Anta Sports Products and off-pricer Ross Stores — all of which had scores of 3 or less. Counting all 53 firms on its list, the WBA noted that the average company score was only nine out of the possible 26.

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed and exacerbated systemic weaknesses, inequalities and unacceptable practices throughout global value chains,” wrote Camille Le Pors, lead of the corporate human rights benchmark at the World Benchmarking Alliance. “We need all companies to participate in this effort and to place people and planet above the pursuit of profit at all cost.”

Each year, the CHRB report analyzes a total of five sectors: Beyond apparel, the WBA takes into account the human rights performances of the agricultural products, extractives, as well as the information and communication technologies manufacturing industries, plus automotive manufacturing for the first time. Nearly 230 companies were included in this year’s assessment.

The report’s release comes at a challenging time for the fashion industry: Over the past several months, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed some big-name companies’ purchasing practices and policies, which some labor groups claim are vague and inadequate. In April, Adidas was also named as one of the world’s most transparent fashion brands in the 2020 Fashion Transparency index by nonprofit group Fashion Revolution. The brand has ranked in the list’s top five for four consecutive years.

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