Covid-19 Tracker: Which Brands Acted Responsibly toward Suppliers and Workers?
This tracker and the underlying analysis were provided by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) in association with the Center for Global Workers’ Rights (CGWR) at Pennsylvania State University. This tracker reflects where brands stood as of April 2021.
Covid-19 meant a huge drop in demand for apparel. We recognized the financial challenges this created for brands and retailers; at the same time, corporations had a responsibility to manage the crisis responsibly and honor obligations to suppliers and workers. Many brands and retailers responded to the crisis by canceling (or “holding”) orders or demanding retroactive price reductions, for goods already in production or completed and ready to ship. In some cases, brands demanded large rebates, even on orders already in transit from the supplier. Research showed this led to large-scale dismissals of workers, often without legally mandated severance or furlough pay. To their credit, some brands and retailers committed to pay in full for all apparel orders already in production or completed, greatly reducing harm to suppliers and workers. Others did not made this commitment and either canceled all orders or imposed cancellations or rebates on a supplier-by-supplier basis. The WRC, in association with CGWR, monitored and reported on the positions of leading corporations from March 2020 through April 2021.
Committed to Pay in Full for Orders Completed and in Production:
- C&A for more info
- Cotton On Group for more info
- Gap Inc. (Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic) for more info
- Inditex (Zara)
- Levi Strauss & Co. for more info
- Lululemon Athletica
- Marks & Spencer
- Primark for more info
- PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger)
- Ralph Lauren Corporation (Polo)
- Under Armour
- VF Corp. (JanSport, The North Face, Vans, Timberland)
Made No Commitment to Pay in Full for Orders Completed and in Production:
- American Eagle Outfitters (American Eagle, Aerie) for more info
- Arcadia (Topshop)
- Bestseller for more info
- Camaïeu for more info
- Edinburgh Woolen Mill (Bonmarché, Peacocks)
- Hema for more info
- Kohl’s for more info
- Li & Fung/Global Brands Group
- Oscar de la Renta
- Ross Stores for more info
- Schulz Fashion (Colloseum) for more info
- The Children’s Place
- TJX (T.J. Maxx, Marshalls) for more info
- Urban Outfitters (Anthropologie) for more info
- Walmart (Asda) for more info
Note: Brand names in parentheses are owned by the listed company.
Last updated: April 21, 2021
Updates and Analysis
Cotton On Group reconfirms its commitment to pay in full
April 21, 2021
Cotton On informed the WRC that it is maintaining its commitment from last year.
Nearly all committed brands reconfirm their commitments
April 12, 2021
We urge all apparel brands and retailers to pay for completed and in-process orders and not to request additional discounts or deferments.
Hema cancels all orders
January 14, 2021
Dutch retailer Hema has canceled all orders and will pay 30 days late on goods already delivered.
Brands listed as having made a commitment to pay in full met the following criteria, with respect to all orders placed (and on which fabric was cut) prior to the inception of the crisis:
- The brand paid the originally agreed price for all in production, finished, and shipped orders, without any request for discounts or rebates;
- The brand did not cancel orders, except with full compensation to suppliers;
- The brand did not delay shipping dates, or, if there were any delays imposed, they were small in scale and length and the brand provided reasonable accommodation to affected suppliers; and
- If the brand delayed any payments relative to agreed terms, the brand provided affected suppliers with access to low-cost financing, so that suppliers’ cash flow was unaffected.
Determination of each corporation's status was based on one or more of the following sources: public statements by the corporation (including statements reported by credible news sources), direct correspondence with the WRC and/or CGWR, information provided by country-level associations of suppliers, information provided by individual suppliers. The WRC and CGWR continually monitored whether corporations that committed to act responsibly were honoring this commitment in their direct dealings with suppliers. If we determined that a corporation was not honoring its commitment, the supplier's designation was changed.