UK environmental committee presses fashion bosses for answers on sustainability

Asos, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, Missguided and Amazon UK have been called on to give evidence in Parliament as part of an inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry.


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The Environmental Audit Committee sent letters to the five fashion brands requesting information on areas including staff wages, the life-cycle of the garments sold, and steps being taken to reduce the environmental and social impact of their businesses.

It comes after a hearing on 30 October raised concerns about the low-quality of some fast fashion garments, and the excessive waste this business model is generating.

“Our recent evidence hearing raised alarm bells about the fast growing online-only retail sector. Low quality £5 dresses aimed at young people are said to be made by workers on illegally low wages and are discarded almost instantly, causing mountains of non-recycled waste to pile up,” the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh, said.

“We will be calling some of these online retailers in front of the committee to answer questions, but in the meantime, my letters encourage them to face up to the social and environmental consequences of their business models. We want to know that they are fully compliant with employment law, that garments have a decent life-span, and that profit is not put before environmental damage. I look forward to the responses.”

The committee is set to hold an evidence hearing at the Victoria & Albert Museum next week, where leading industry experts including Claire Bergkamp, Sustainability & Innovation Director at Stella McCartney and designer Phoebe English, will discuss solutions for problems such as excessive waste and poor working conditions.     

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