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How sustainable is American Apparel ?

American Apparel & sustainability


American Apparel
Dont buy Click here for score rapport: 3 out of 34

Sustainability summary

American Apparel has achieved the E-label. American Apparel has earned it by communicating hardly any concrete about the policies for environment, carbon emissions or labor conditions. For us as consumers, it is unclear whether American Apparel is committed to sustainability or not.

Brand owner: Gildan Activewear Inc.
Head office: Los Angeles, California, USA
Sector: Casual clothing
Categories : Male, Female, Kids, Baby
Free Tags: Bags, Shirts, Pullover, Jeans, Dress, Shoes, Boots

What's your sustainability news about American Apparel?

American Apparel sustainability score report

Last edited: 21 April 2017 by Mario
Last reviewed: 21 April 2017 by Mario

Questions about Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions

0 out of 6
1. Has the brand (owner) disclosed the annual absolute climate footprint of its 'own operations', and has it accomplished an overall absolute climate footprint reduction compared to the result of the previous reporting year? Although American Apparel states it has a smaller climate footprint than its competitors, the company does not publicly provide the details of this carbon footprint (or where to find it) on its website. Source
2. Is at least 50% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? American Apparel reports to use 15% renewable energy on total electricity consumption. This was generated by the brand's own solar panels. Source
3. Is all the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? See remark for carbon emissions policy question 3. Source
4. Has the brand (owner) disclosed the annual absolute climate footprint of its supply chain that is 'beyond own operations? American Apparel does not communicate any information on target reductions for its greenhouse gas emissions. Source
5. Has the brand (owner) accomplished a reduction of this annual absolute climate footprint 'beyond own operations' compared to the result of the previous reporting year? American Apparel does not communicate a policy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the production chain that is beyond own operations. Source
6. Has the brand (owner) set a target to make at least its own operations fully climate neutral by 2030, and is the brand on track to achieve this target? Score-unknown   Source

Questions about Environmental Policy

1 out of 12
1. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 5% of its volume? American Apparel has an 'Organic Collection' made from 100% USDA Certified Organic and pesticide free cotton. Furthermore, American Apparel states its always looking for more ecologically sound materials. Nonetheless, it is not clear what percentage of the total volume this represent. Source
2. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 10% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
3. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 25% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
4. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 50% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
5. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 75% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
6. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 90% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
7. Is there a policy for the brand (company) to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures to make the clothes and footwear? The production of American Apparel's clothing is GOTS certified, which means that high standards are maintained for suitable chemical use and water policies during production. This certification is applicable to some products of its entire collection. Source
8. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least one suspect chemical group, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? Although some of American Apparel's collection GOTS is certified, it remains unclear whether the target chemical groups can be considered as entirely eliminated from the production of American Apparel's entire garment production. Source
9. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least three suspect chemical groups, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? See remark for environmental policy question 8. Source
10. Does the brand (owner) report what percentage of its consumer packaging materials are renewable or made from recycled materials, and does the brand implement best practices or concrete policies which have reduced the environmental impact of their packaging materials? American Apparel doesn't report on the annual results of its consumer packaging policy. Source
11. Does the brand (owner) publish its absolute waste materials footprint and implement concrete policies to minimize waste, by reducing, re-using and recycling, thereby decreasing its waste footprint compared to the previous reporting year? American Apparel implements several measures to minimize the environmental impact of its waste, like using recycled fiber yarns, and estimates (effective by 2014), that per week on average 125,000 lbs of textile and 25,000 lbs of paper, plastic and cardboard is recycled. This is almost all their manufacturing waste. But, more recent figures are not published. Source
12. Does the brand (company) encourage the return or re-use of garments? American Apparel doesn't report whether the return or re-use of garments by its customers is encouraged. Source

Questions about Labour Conditions/ Fair Trade

2 out of 16
1. Does the brand (owner) have a supplier Code of Conduct (CoC) which includes all standards to ensure workers' rights such as no child labour, no bonded labour, a safe workplace and no excessive overwork? And is there at least a progress report once every two years on implementation of this Code of Conduct? American Apparel provides a Code of Conduct (CoC), but this is not a supplier CoC. Furthermore, regarding its own operations in the US, this CoC does not meet all required standards. Source
2. Does the brand (owner) have a policy to make sure there is a proper grievance mechanism in place for factory workers and are at least 25% of workers informed about their rights regarding this mechanism (e.g. through training)? Score-unknown   Source
3. Does the brand (owner) have a published list of direct suppliers, that have collectively contributed to more than 90% of the purchase volume? See remark for labor conditions policy question 1. Source
4. Is this supplier list specific? Are e.g. the addresses of direct suppliers included, and/or are the specific products mentioned per factory? Score-unknown   Source
5. Is the list of direct suppliers extended with suppliers further down the supply chain, with a minimum of 40% in number compared to the direct suppliers? See remark for labor conditions policy question 1. Source
6. Is the brand (owner) a member of a collective initiative that aims to improve labor conditions, in which civil society organizations like NGOs and labor unions have a decisive voice, or does the brand purchase at least 50% from certified manufacturers with improved labor conditions? Score-unknown   Source
7. Does this initiative require clear minimum performance levels for member brands? American Apparel communicates it is vertically integrated. This means manufacturing, distribution, marketing, accounting, design and retail are under the same roof (in LA). The company controls almost every step of the production chain. Source
8. Is at least 25% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? American Apparel refers to the certification scheme GOTS (which also includes social standards), but it is not clear what percentage of annual volume is certified. Source
9. Is at least 50% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? American Apparel does not communicate any information about being part of a collective initiative or purchasing from an accredited supplier, on its website. Source
10. Is at least 75% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? American Apparel does not report whether measures at its (supplying) production facilities are implemented to achieve improved labour practices with respect to product and / or production process quality. Source
11. Is at least 95% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? American Apparel does not publicly report clear results of its implemented measures to improve labor conditions at its (supplying) factories. Source
12. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy for the leather, yarn and fabric production phases, including a reasonable overview of the number and region of workplaces covered by the policy in relation to the total production volume? Although of American Apparel's collection is GOTS certified, it remains unclear whether at least 25% of the production volume is verified as compliant against the standards from eligible third parties or certification schemes, such as SA8000 or GOTS. Source
13. Does the brand (owner) publicly commit to a living wage benchmark with defined wages per production region or factory? See remark for labor conditions policy question 9. Source
14. Does the brand (owner) set a target to establish the payment of living wages at its apparel manufacturers, and is the brand on track to achieve this target? American Apparel reports to pay 12-14$ per hour for its factory workers in California, which is clearly above the minimum wage level in California (10,50$ in 2017). Source
15. Has the brand (owner) realised payment of living wages for at least 10% of its production volume? American Apparel does not publicly report clear results of its implemented measures to improve labor conditions at its fabric manufacturers. Source
16. Does the brand (owner) adhere to buying practices that enable living wages and good labour conditions, such as long-term relations with factories, and concentrating production at limited number of factories? It remains unclear whether at least 50% of the production volume of American Apparel's fabric manufacturing is verified as compliant against the standards from eligible third parties or certification schemes, such as GOTS. Source