Unethical Brands

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Image is a garment factory with numerous South Asian women operating sewing machines

Below are a list of companies and brands that have been implicated in using sweatshop labour or been involved in other unethical manufacturing processes. It’s not possible to get a definitive list as most companies have policies that say the right thing……but in practice the story is often different.

The list below includes brands that scored a C, D, E or F on the 2016 Baptist World Aid Fashion Guide as well as those that scored a D, E or F on the 2015 Shop Ethical Guide.

Clothing:

  • Forever 21
  • Lorna Jane
  • General Pants Company
  • Quicksilver
  • Calvin Klein
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Roxy
  • Tree of Life
  • Lowes
  • Lululemon
  • Gap
  • Dotti
  • Jacqui E
  • Jay Jays
  • Just Jeans
  • Peter Alexander
  • Portmans
  • Levis
  • Metalicus
  • Milkshake
  • Miss Shop
  • Regatta
  • Sass & Bide
  • Valley Girl
  • Stussy
  • Dangerfield
  • Princess Highway
  • Revival
  • Temt
  • Katies
  • Lemonade
  • Roger David
  • Colorado
  • Seed Heritage
  • Billabong
  • Kookai
  • Lacoste
  • Speedo
  • River Island
  • New Look

Underwear and Socks:

  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Bonds
  • Rio
  • Hanes
  • Explorer
  • Jockey
  • Holeproof

Outdoor wear:

  • Macpac

Kids clothes:

  • Pumpkin Patch
  • Gymboree
  • Mambo
  • Urban Angel
  • Sprout

Shoes:

  • Converse
  • Vans
  • Macbeth
  • Emerica
  • Rivers
  • Asics
  • Brooks
  • Mathers

Toys:

  • Hasbro (Transformers, My Little Pony, Play Doh, Nerf, Playskool, Board games, Yokai, FurReal Friends, Littlest Pet Shop, Jurassic World, Marvel, Sesame Street, Star Wars)
  • Mattel (Hot Wheels, Barbie, Monster High, DC Universe, Matchbox,  Planes, Cars, Polly Pocket, Paw Patrol Toys)
  • Fisher-Price (Imaginext toys, DC Super Friends, Power Rangers, Sponge Bob, Power Wheels, Little People, Thomas and Friends, Think and Learn, Mega Bloks, Bob the Builder, Dora and Friends, Smart Toy)
  • Tomy (Pokemon toys, the Good Dinosaur, Zootopia, Sonic Boom, Chuggington, Lamaze)
  • Namco (Digimon, Ben 10, Tamagochi)
  • Little Tikes
  • Disney
  • Hello Kitty
  • K’nex
  • Meccano
  • Cabbage Patch Kids
  • VTech

Desktop Computers: Lenovo, Toshiba, Asus

Tablets: Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo, Asus, Amazon Kindle

Smartphones: Samsung, Motorola, HTC

Gaming Consoles: Nintendo Wii

Additionally, the following stores have been implicated in the use of sweatshop labour for some of their clothing and goods:

  • Big W
  • Target
  • Best and Less

If your favourite brand isn’t on this list or on the Ethical Brands list, then it’s probably scoring a B rating. Go ahead and put some pressure on the company by emailing them and writing on their social media pages to encourage them to clean up their act enough to make it to Ethical Brands list.

Please be aware that companies practices change all the time, with some improving and others being busted for unethical practices.

If you have any information on additional companies/brands that are suspected of using sweatshop labour, please let me know and I will add them.

Sources: Shop Ethical, 11 of your favourite fashion brands that use sweatshop labourHow do your favourite clothes brands rank on worker welfare?Oxfam Ethical Trading2016 Baptist World Aid Fashion GuideAussie Fashion Brands Named and Shamed over SweatshopsAn Investigation into Four Toy SweatshopsSweatshop Toy List Green America Campaign, Rank-a-brand

Ethical Brands

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Image of a Black Etiko high top sneaker

Below are a list of companies/brands that use ethical practices in the manufacture of their products. If you know of any others, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Clothing & Accessories: 

Denim

Kids Clothing & Accessories

Outdoor clothing and accessories

Shoes

Underwear, Swimwear & Sleepwear

Cosmetics & Skincare

Gifts & Homewares

Smartphone

Coffee & Chocolate

Toys

Browse Shop Ethical’s Guide and download their app to access ratings for most of the brands available.

You’ll notice that many things on the lists above are expensive compared to stuff made in unethical conditions. If you can’t afford to buy ethical, there’s a whole range of handmade products available at great sites like Etsy and Made It that are usually cheaper. Most cities also have specialty vintage or re-fashioned shops that are a great option. And don’t forget good old Op Shopping. Buying second hand does not put any extra money into the hands of the producer – whether it’s sweatshop made or not, and you have the added benefit of supporting a charity. 

Sources: Sweatshop Free Shopping Guide12 Ethical Sweatshop Free Brands that you’ll want to wear35 Fair Trade and Ethical Clothing Brands,  A Guide to Buying Sustainable, Fair-Trade and Cruelty Free ClothingShop EthicalGood on You Guide, Rank-a-brand