Fashion brands which had a long-term commitment to ethical trading practices embedded across their business tended to be more resilient to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research published today. The study, funded and published by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC), is a result of research carried out by the University of Leeds and Goa Institute of Management into the management of modern slavery risks in Indian fashion supply chains during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The analysis was underpinned by baseline data gathered across Indian fashion supply chains prior to the pandemic. The research found that Covid-19 had a strong impact on all tiers of supply chains in the sector, however, it was not evenly felt across all tiers and affected different parts of supply chains at different times. Brands, suppliers and others working in Indian fashion supply chains interviewed by the researchers often blamed unpredictable demand for an increased likelihood of unauthorised subcontracting, with its associated risks of unethical practices, on top of the direct impacts of Covid-19 on the supply chains such as job losses and pay cuts.