13 Nov

How Ethical Is Sportsgirl?

Popular Australian brand Sportsgirl is known for being on-trend, carefree and colourful. But are its ethics as pretty as its products? Read on to find out whether this fashion-forward brand is giving the environment, its workers and animals the respect they deserve.

Environmental Impact: Very Poor

Sportsgirl really falls behind in this category. Sportsgirl is a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant and has taken steps to reduce packaging and provide packaging from recyclable materials. However, without any other information about their environmental practices from wastewater management to greenhouse gas emissions, this fast fashion brand isn’t doing itself any favours in the eyes of conscious consumers.

Sportsgirl does not communicate sufficient information about their environmental policies to achieve a higher rating in this category. As a shopper, you have the right to know how their production practices impact the environment.

Labour Conditions: It’s a Start

Sportsgirl is making some progress in this category, though there is certainly room for improvement. Its labour rating is based on the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report which looks at criteria including payment of a living wage, transparency and worker empowerment.

Sportsgirl received the top score for their Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines its expectations for workers for things like payment of a living wage, child labour, and treatment in the workplace. While the code is a positive step, it is important to note that not all the points outlined are being carried out in all the factories across their supply chain, rather, “factories will be encouraged in their movement towards total compliance with the Code of Conduct and their progress will be monitored through the audit program.”

Sportsgirl is doing well to implement a living wage across its supply chain. Sportsgirl has also made a commitment to not use any Uzbekistan cotton in their products. It traces its supply chain across all of the final stage, most of the inputs but only some or none of the raw material stages.

Some of Sportsgirl’s suppliers are publicly listed, it ensures no subcontracting occurs (or at least that it adheres to code standards), and it audits most of its traced facilities over a two-year period. There are, however, minimal worker empowerment initiatives in place beyond basic rights such as no forced labour or working under the age of 16.

Animal Welfare: Good

Sportsgirl is doing well in this category by not using fur, wool, down or angora. In its Ethical Code of Conduct, Sportsgirl mentions that it does not use animals to test any products – that is something to be proud of! Unfortunately, the brand still uses leather without specifying its sources.

For a company that seems to be invested in treating our animal friends right, they could really benefit from, at the very least, sourcing their leather from Leather Working Group accredited tanneries. At best, they could look into introducing some eco-friendly leather alternatives into their clothing and removing animal leather altogether!

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

Rated: Not Good Enough

Overall, we rate Sportsgirl as 'Not Good Enough' based on information from the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report and our own research. While Sportsgirl is making progress in treating workers and animals right, its lack of information about environmental impact really drags down its overall ethical footprint. At the end of the day, Earth is home to humans and animals alike, and if we don’t prioritise it, what do we have left?

Editor's note: Feature image via Sportsgirl, other images via brands mentioned.

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