Primark has published its global supplier list just weeks after the UK value retailer was amongst a number of fashion brands criticised for not publicly disclosing the factories that produce their clothes.
In a statement today (8 February), Primark said it has published information on its website about the factories that manufacture its products. The company sources from 1,071 factories across 31 countries.
“For a number of years, we’ve been working closely with industry partners sharing information about where Primark products are made,” a spokesperson for the retailer said. “This has included, for example, details of our suppliers, their factories, as well as our supply chain practices. Partners have extended from bodies such as the Ethical Trading Initiative, to organisations monitoring industry standards, notably the International Labour Organization’s Better Work programme.”
The latest information published on its website includes factory names, addresses, the number of workers and gender split of the workforce.
Primark says it only lists factories that have produced products for the company for a year and have become established suppliers. During the first year, a factory has to demonstrate that it can consistently work to Primark’s ethical standards, as well as meet its commercial requirements in areas such as quality and timely delivery. Factories featured on the map produce over 95% of Primark’s products.
A growing number of brands and retailers have caved in to industry pressure to publish the names and locations of the factories that manufacture their garments, but until now Primark has stood firm.
Katharine Stewart, Primark’s director of ethical trade, told just-style in an interview last year: “We’ve put a lot of investment into what we’re doing and we want to protect that. We are sharing our list where it’s appropriate to do so. Through the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) we share our supplier list, and through the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh we share our entire list. We do it where it makes sense, working collaboratively.”
A spokesperson told just-style of the retailer’s decision: “Primark has not published details of its suppliers’ factories up to now, as we regarded this information as giving us commercial advantage. However, with 98% of the factories making products for Primark also manufacturing for other brands, and with a number of those retailers now publishing details of their sourcing, we have taken the decision to share our information.”
Primark says it does not own any factories and requires all of its suppliers’ factories to meet its Code of Conduct, which is based on ILO standards. The company has an ethical trade and environmental sustainability team of over 100 people based in key sourcing countries that monitor compliance with its Code. This team will also be responsible for providing updates to the new sourcing map on a twice-yearly basis.
Peter McAllister, ETI executive director said of the move: “This is good news and Primark should be commended for their action. ETI recognises that embracing the transparency agenda not only takes commitment, but also requires significant time and effort to get right and in the case of global sourcing maps, keep up-to-date. Today, Primark joins the select but growing group of leading companies that disclose details of their supplier factories. It is one more step in meeting consumer expectations and we hope that other brands and retailers will follow this example.”
Click here to view the sourcing map.