Glassons, Hallensteins lagging behind international transparency standards on where their clothes are made - Oxfam

Pedestrians walk past a Glassons store on Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.
Pedestrians walk past a Glassons store on Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Photo credit: Getty Images

Popular New Zealand clothing brands Glassons and Hallenstein Bros failed to publicly disclose basic information on where their clothes are manufactured and the workers in their factories, lagging behind the transparency standards seen in the likes of Australia and Europe, according to a new report. 

Released on Tuesday by Oxfam Aotearoa, the report reveals that several household name clothing brands in New Zealand are failing to meet international transparency standards regarding where their clothes are manufactured.

The report reveals supply chain transparency ratings for six of New Zealand's top fashion brands based on public data available to consumers. While some brands performed extremely well, receiving a full five-star rating, Glassons and Hallenstein Bros received just two stars.

New Zealand-founded brands Kathmandu and Macpac, as well as multinational brands H&M and Lululemon, all received a five-star rating, with their transparency extending to full lists of their Tier 1 factories - the factories that directly supply the brands - their locations, and data regarding the people working in them. 

However, Glassons and Hallenstein Bros chose not to share the most updated information, Shalomi Daniel, Oxfam Aotearoa's campaign lead for gender and economic justice, said in a statement. 

"It is disappointing that Glassons and Hallenstein Bros have chosen not to share the most updated transparency information with their customers. Through not meeting all our basic criteria, unfortunately they received only a two-star rating. We hope to see them improve this as soon as possible," Daniel said.

"More and more, customers are expecting their favourite brands to be upfront about where their clothes are made. Transparency is the foundation of an ethical supply chain - it allows workers, unions, and groups of people like us to scrutinise the working conditions of these factories and ensure that women who make our clothes are treated and paid fairly. 

"If a brand doesn't share this data, that doesn't mean the working conditions in their factories are bad – but it does make it that much harder for anyone to find out." 

Pedestrians walk past a Glassons store on Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.
Pedestrians walk past a Glassons store on Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo credit: Getty Images

The report was commissioned by the 'What She Makes' campaign, an initiative led by Oxfam Aotearoa that calls on locally sold clothing brands to pay a living wage to the women who make their clothes, who often live in countries such as China and Bangladesh. 

Through the campaign, Oxfam works directly with the brands to help them achieve a series of milestones, with a brand tracker and star-rating system designed to hold the brands accountable and keep them on track. The tracker includes five milestones the companies will be evaluated against over several years, with the ratings providing an insight into how well each brand is performing at each stage. It also allows consumers to choose and support brands who are ethical.

The first milestone was issued in November last year, where the brands were asked to make a public commitment to paying workers in the supply chain a living wage. The 'Be Transparent' milestone was set for May this year, and the next milestone, 'Separate Labour Costs', will be in May next year, when the brands will be asked to separate their labour costs in price setting and negotiation. The end goal is that the brands should be paying a living wage within their supply chains four to six years after making their commitment. 

"The good news is this is not the end – we will continue this journey with the brands to ensure that they pay the women who make our clothes a living wage," Daniel said.

Full list of brand ratings from the What She Makes Brand Transparency Report: 

  1. Hallenstein Bros – 2 stars  
  2. Glassons – 2 stars 
  3. Kathmandu – 5 stars 
  4. Macpac – 5 stars 
  5. H&M – 5 stars 
  6. Lululemon – 5 stars.