The 47-page list includes the names and address of the retailers factories

The 47-page list includes the names and address of the retailer's factories

US apparel giant Gap Inc has published the names and locations of the factories which manufacture garments for its namesake, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta brands.

Gap Inc revealed supplier information, including the factory name and full address, in a 47-page document published last week, that includes facilities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Turkey, the US and Vietnam.

The retailer has previously been criticised for withholding information about its supplier factories for "competition reasons," but labour rights group Human Rights Watch has now praised it for "sending an important message that transparency should be the norm in the garment industry."

"The growing number of apparel industry leaders disclosing factories is good news for workers, the industry, and consumers," says Aruna Kashyap, senior women's rights counsel at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The San Francisco-based retailer joins the likes of C&A and Marks & Spencer which have also gone public with their factory lists this year.

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"When apparel brands are transparent about their supplier factories, it helps workers and advocates swiftly alert brands to possible labour rights violations in the factories, giving brands an opportunity to take corrective steps," HRW explains.

"Transparency about suppliers also makes it easier for workers to alert brands when factories subcontract production to others without brand approval – a widespread problem that companies have often struggled to combat. Apparel brands cannot monitor conditions in factories they do not know about, and subcontracting factories often have worse records for underpayment of wages, dangerous working conditions, and other labour rights abuses." 

While other brands and retailers such as Adidas, H&M, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Patagonia, Columbia, Kmart Australia, New Balance, Puma, Disney, Levi's, Nike, Target USA and Target Australia also disclose their factory lists, dozens more don't.

The labour rights group singles out Forever 21, Fast Retailing (Uniqlo), and Mango for criticism, with Kashyap adding: "Brands that do not disclose are holding out on a critical tool that can promote worker rights."