Blog: Leonie BarrieTransparency taking centre stage

Leonie Barrie | 30 June 2014

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has described efforts to ensure workers in its garment supplier factories are paid a fair living wage as an "ever-moving feast". But it is making progress, as executives explained during an update to the group's Plan A sustainability initiative last week.

Transparency is also becoming ever-more important to the retailer, which is planning to publish an annual list of its clothing suppliers across the world by 2016. It says the move will take time due to the sheer volume of information that needs to be processed.

But the milestone has already been reached by fashion firm G-Star, whose interactive manufacturing map shows its production countries and factory locations - and lets online shoppers see where each product is made.

Growing opportunities in the US for African clothing and textile producers require a long-term preferential trade agreement in order to develop supply chains that can meet demand, industry experts at the Source Africa trade show have said.

Even though the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is currently due to expire next year, Madagascar has had its eligibility for the preferential trade pact reinstated - but Swaziland's has been withdrawn.

Central America is increasingly nervous about Vietnam's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks, with some experts claiming its inclusion could bring losses of around $6bn to its bread-winning textiles and apparel sector.

Meanwhile, underwear maker HanesBrands is to buy European lingerie leader DBApparel - owner of the DIM, Playtex, Wonderbra and Shock Absorber brands - in a EUR400m (US$545m) deal. The move reunites Hanes and DBA into one of the largest basic innerwear apparel companies in the world.

And sporting goods giant Nike says there are no shortages of growth opportunities for the group, and that it will continue to elevate innovation in its supply chain and product portfolio going forward. The comments came as fourth-quarter earnings rose 1% to US$698m

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