Amazon took a useful first step toward transparency on November 15, 2019 by publicly disclosing on its website the names, addresses, and other details of over 1,000 facilities that produce Amazon-branded products, a broad coalition of human rights groups, labor rights organizations, and global unions said today. But the list is not easily accessible, sortable, or sufficiently specific to learn the type of products made in each of the listed facilities, limiting its value for consumers, workers, and labor advocates.
Amazon’s public disclosure adds to a growing trend of brands and retailers publishing information about their global supplier factories that manufacture their own-brand goods. The 2019 Fashion Transparency Index (FTI) reported that 35 percent of the 200 major apparel brands surveyed published their production locations, up from 12.5 percent of the 40 brands surveyed in the 2016 index. This increase in publicly disclosing supply chain data shows that companies are moving toward greater transparency.
“The decision by Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, sends an unambiguous message that transparency is critically important and here to stay and grow,” said Aruna Kashyap, senior women’s rights counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Brands that don’t publicly disclose their supply chains may not know where their products are made, making it harder to determine whether they are acting responsibly, and where the disclosure is not easily accessible, they make it difficult for workers to report labor abuses.”