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A. Yadlapalli ± S. Rahman ( & ) School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017 S.S. Muthu (ed.), Textiles and Clothing Sustainability , Textile Science and Clothing Technology, DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-2182-4_4 89
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This circumstance has forced the apparel brands to extend their responsibilities beyond their organizational boundaries (Perry and Towers 2013 ). As social responsibility became an important aspect for the apparel business, there is a growing dialogue in apparel community regarding sustainability issues (Kozlowski et al. 2012 ). In recent times, social responsibility has emerged as one of the top agenda items for corporations all over the world (Aras et al. 2010 ). The importance given to social responsibility sustainability in corporate board rooms is noticeable through sustainable reporting (Barkemeyer et al. 2015 ). One such reporting system is to report through the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. In the current business environment, many fi rms consider social and environmental reporting practices as an investment for sustainable development (Chen et al. 2015 ). The increased importance given to sustainability reporting can be not only seen in the number of reports published but also in the quality of the reporting. For example in 2011, over 80 % of the Fortune 500 companies and 95 % of the 250 global largest companies publish CSR or sustainability reports (Lii and Lee 2012 ; KPMG 2011 ); and the content of the reports has increased from just a page on sustainability to a detailed stand-alone sustainability reports (Qiu et al. 2014 ). The objective of this chapter is to provide an overview of the GRI framework and investigate the social reporting of apparel fi rms in the global context. Further, this study examines the reporting content against contextual factors such as the fi rm size and location. The remainder of the chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 provides an overview of the apparel industry and its sustainable practices and sustainable reporting in general. The methodology adopted for sample selection and the procedure to calculate social disclosure scores are discussed in Sect. 3 . Section 4 presents the results of the analysis. Finally, discussions on fi ndings and conclusions are drawn in Sect. 5 . 2 Apparel Industry & Sustainability Apparel trade is considered as one of the world s leading merchandise trade with a share of 2.6 % in 2014 (WTO 2015 ). Over the past 50 years, global export of clothing and textiles has increased from under $6 billion in 1962 to $797 billion in 2014 (WTO 2012 , 2015 ). Approximately, 70 % of the apparel is manufactured in developing nations. In the manufactured goods category, the textile and apparel industry has been rated as the single largest source of export income for the developing nations. This industry is driving the economic growth in many South and South-east Asian nations (Bhardwaj and Fairhurst 2010 ). The main reason for the trade shifts from developed nations to developing nations is the adoption of low-cost country sourcing strategy. Globalization in apparel industry along with the
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