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Apparel companies ranked on human rights, M&S, Adidas top the list

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark has ranked apparel companies in the world on human rights issues. Marks & Spencer and Adidas figure high followed close behind by H&M, Gap, and Nike. At the bottom of the pile are Kohl's, Macy's, Walmart, Under Armor and Fast Retailing.

Businesses were assessed on human rights policies, governance, processes, practices and transparency as well as how they respond to serious allegations. CHRB aims to make corporate human rights performance easier to see and simpler to understand for a wide range of audiences - inside and outside companies.

Leading companies are those that have recognised the moral imperative, business case, and commercial viability of taking action on human rights. There are a large proportion of companies that are performing poorly, with an average score per measurement theme of between 20 and 29 per cent. Thirteen out of the 30 apparel companies assessed fall in this category. These low performing companies spell dangers of human rights abuse of workers.

In the CHRB's apparel industry criteria, the highest scoring area was transparency, followed by policy, with companies scoring lowest in remedies and grievance mechanisms. The main finding is that many companies are yet to implement the UN guiding principles and other internationally recognised human rights and industry standards.