A new report from the Ethical Trading Action Group (ETAG) says Levi Strauss, Reebok, Mountain Equipment, Adidas and Gap Inc are among the best when it comes to telling consumers about their labour standards - but that more work is still needed across the clothing industry to tackle labour rights abuses. 

The report also calls into question the policy by most large companies to search for ever-lower prices and highly-mobile production, and the role that this might be having on persistent labour rights problems in the supply chain.

Revealing Clothing, ETAG's 2006 Transparency Report Card compares public reporting on labour standards compliance by 30 top apparel retailers and brands including Levi
Strauss, Nike, Adidas, H&M, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Roots, La Senza, Reitmans and 22 others.

The companies are assessed on the basis of their programmes to achieve and maintain
compliance with recognised international labour standards in the factories around the world where their products are made, and the steps they are taking to thoroughly, effectively and transparently communicate these efforts to the public.

"Over the past year, some major brands and retailers have improved reporting on labour standards compliance," said Kevin Thomas, a spokesperson for ETAG.

Canadian companies Mountain Equipment Co-op, Mark's Work Wearhouse and HBC all improved their scores in this year's rating.

"But despite improvements in reporting there is still a long way to go to improve actual labour conditions in apparel factories worldwide."

Thomas noted that supply factories receive negative incentives when retailers and brands shift production from factories that have made improvements in labour practices to other countries with lower labour costs, or ask factory owners to meet higher standards while
simultaneously demanding lower prices.

A complete copy of the report can be downloaded here