IFRS Foundation

Apparel, Accessories & Footwear

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Current language: English
The Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry includes entities involved in the design, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing of various products, including adult and children’s clothing, handbags, jewellery, watches and footwear. Products are manufactured primarily by vendors in emerging markets, thereby allowing entities in the industry to focus on design, wholesaling, marketing, supply chain management and retail activities.

Relevant Issues (3 of 26)

Why are some issues greyed out? The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.

Disclosure Topics

What is the relationship between General Issue Category and Disclosure Topics? The General Issue Category is an industry-agnostic version of the Disclosure Topics that appear in each SASB Standard. Disclosure topics represent the industry-specific impacts of General Issue Categories. The industry-specific Disclosure Topics ensure each SASB Standard is tailored to the industry, while the General Issue Categories enable comparability across industries. For example, Health & Nutrition is a disclosure topic in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry, representing an industry-specific measure of the general issue of Customer Welfare. The issue of Customer Welfare, however, manifests as the Counterfeit Drugs disclosure topic in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry.
General Issue Category
(Industry agnostic)

Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Apparel, Accessories & Footwear

Product Quality & Safety
  • Management of Chemicals in Products

    The introduction of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in the U.S. and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals legislation in the EU demonstrates increasing regulatory and stakeholder concern surrounding the use of harmful or potentially harmful substances in consumer products, including apparel, accessories, and footwear. Finished apparel and footwear products have been found to contain traces of chemicals that have been banned or regulated. Depending on the chemical, the amount present in a product, and the type of exposure that consumers face, specific substances can be carcinogenic, and can disrupt hormone activity in humans and other organisms. Failure to manage this issue may generate additional regulatory oversight and impact an entity’s social license to operate. In addition, the presence of harmful chemicals in products can lead to recalls, litigation, and reputational damage. Entities in this industry can work in both the design and manufacturing phases to manage the use of chemicals of concern, develop safe alternatives, and eliminate those that have been banned. Given the industry’s reliance on outsourced manufacturing, this involves proactive partnerships with suppliers. In managing this issue, entities must balance the hazard posed to consumers presented by certain chemicals with the quality of a product and its costs of production.
Supply Chain Management
  • Environmental Impacts in the Supply Chain

    The Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry’s global supply chain contributes significantly to environmental externalities through water consumption and pollution, as well as air pollution. Water pollution results from the discharge of chemicals during water-intensive dyeing and tanning processes, while air pollution stems from the industry’s energy use. These impacts have the potential to damage an entity’s reputation and to affect cost structures over time. The scale of this issue has historically been intensified by the fact that the industry relies on manufacturing partners in emerging markets where environmental regulations and oversight are limited. However, enhanced scrutiny on the part of stakeholders and consumers, coupled with the development of more stringent regulation in certain regions, has led entities throughout the industry to work with suppliers to reduce their environmental impact. Apparel, accessories, and footwear entities that leverage their market power to work with suppliers to improve operational efficiencies and resource consumption and limit pollution will be able to mitigate costs associated with increased resource scarcity and regulation. Further, those that engage with suppliers through monitoring, auditing, and strict standards will likely be better positioned to protect shareholder value over the long term.
  • Labour Conditions in the Supply Chain

    The treatment of workers and the protection of worker rights in the Apparel, Accessories, & Footwear industry’s supply chain is of growing concern among consumers, regulators, and leading entities. Critical aspects of this issue include employee health and safety, fair pay, child labour, and forced labour. Although entities continue to improve performance on this issue, the industry’s reliance on a multitiered system of suppliers, subcontractors, labour recruitment firms, and part-time workers makes it difficult to manage. Because entities in the industry typically contract with suppliers in countries with the lowest direct costs, the industry’s products are often manufactured in countries that have limited regulations or enforcement protecting workers. This dynamic can heighten an entity’s exposure to reputational risks and impacts on short- and long-term costs and sales. Such effects can arise from increasing regulation and its enforcement in response to high-profile safety or labour incidents, production disruptions due to strikes and other labour-related work stoppages, or through a shift in demand away from entities associated with such incidents. Entities with strong supply chain standards, monitoring, and engagement with suppliers to address labour concerns may therefore be better positioned to protect shareholder value over the long term.
Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
  • Raw Materials Sourcing

    The Apparel, Accessories & Footwear industry relies on many raw materials including cotton, leather, wool, rubber, and precious minerals and metals, as inputs for finished products. Sustainability impacts related to climate change, land use, resource scarcity and conflict in regions where the industry’s supply chain operates affect the industry’s ability to reliably source materials. The ability of entities to manage potential material shortages, supply disruptions, price volatility and reputational risks can be more difficult when supply chains lack transparency. Failure to effectively manage this issue can delay shipments and depress earnings, reduce margins, constrain revenue growth or increase costs of capital. The types of risk associated with sourcing different materials can require different solutions, including engaging with suppliers, enhancing transparency by using certification standards, using innovative alternative materials, or introducing circular economy practices. Entities that are proactive may reduce their exposure to price volatility and potential supply disruptions, while improving their brand reputation and developing new market opportunities.

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Current Industry: Apparel, Accessories & Footwear

Consumer Goods
Extractives & Minerals Processing
Food & Beverage
Health Care
Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy
Resource Transformation
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