Fashion brand H&M has become the first major retailer tolist individual supplier details for each garment on its website to increasetransparency in an industry with high risks of slavery and labour abuses.
The Sweden-based multinational's move was hailed by workersrights groups who said it was a step forward, but added that the data may notbe particularly meaningful to shoppers without additional information to put itinto context.
"This is innovative and good," Anna Bryheradvocacy director at Britain's Labour Behind the Label, which campaigns forgarment workers' rights, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"Maybe H&M need to think a bit more about how tomake that information live and useful to consumers – adding information forexample about wages paid at suppliers and comparing that to the living wagebenchmarks or their promises on living wages."
A growing number of big brands, from sportswear giant Adidas to fashion retailer ASOS, are sharing information about their complex supply chains amid mounting regulatory and consumer pressure on companies to ensure their products are slavery-free.
However H&M is the first major fashion chain to listsupplier details for each individual garment.
Online shoppers can see where clothing was made, includingthe production country, supplier and factory names and addresses as well as thenumber of factory workers.
The brand's app can be used to access the same data forclothing in stores by scanning an item's label.
Customers can also see information about the material usedin clothing, although H&M does not list specific sourcing details for rawmaterials.
"We want to show the world that this is possible,"Isak Roth, the head of sustainability at H&M, said in a statement.
"By being open and transparent about where our productsare made we hope to set the bar for our industry and encourage customers tomake more sustainable choices."
This week marks six years since Bangladesh's Rana Plazafactory collapsed, in a disaster that killed about 1,100 people and increasedawareness of the risks faced by many garment workers.
A British parliamentary report last year found the country'sfashion industry was exploitative and unsustainable, urging big brands to domore to tackle labour abuse and waste.