MPs name and shame fashion industry’s sustainability laggards

Sports Direct and JD Sports are among a group of UK retailers that are failing to promote environmental sustainability and protect their workers, MPs have revealed today.


Amazon UK, Boohoo, TK Maxx and Missguided are also singled out for lagging behind the rest of the industry in a report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).  

The cross-party group of MPs warned that ‘fast fashion’ business models are encouraging over consumption and generating excessive waste, and called for an end to exploitation of workers.

EAC chair, Mary Creagh, said: “It’s shocking to see that a group of major retailers are failing to take action to promote environmental sustainability and protect their workers.

“By publishing this information, customers can choose whether they want to spend money with a company that is doing little to protect the environment or promote proper wages for garment workers.”

None of the six “least engaged” retailers singled out in the report are signed up to the SCAP (Sustainable Clothing Action Plan) to reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints.

They are not party to the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) agreement for labour rights and the living wage either, although Missguided is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) to improve working conditions globally.

ASOS, Marks and Spencer, Primark, Tesco and Burberry are rated the “most engaged” retailers in the industry, all of which use organic or sustainable cotton and recycled materials in their products.

All of these retailers have store ‘take back’ schemes and are members of the ETI, and are all signed up to SCAP targets, except Burberry, although the company was praised for being involved in a range of other sustainability initiatives.

Next, Debenhams, the Arcadia Group and Asda are named as being among the “moderately engaged” retailers. All of them are ACT members except Asda, while both the Arcadia Group and Next are signed up to SCAP.

“We hope this [information] motivates underperforming retailers to start taking responsibility for their workers and their environmental impact,” Creagh continued.

“We want to see a thriving fashion industry that employs people fairly, inspires creativity and contributes to the economic success of the UK.”


Image credit | Shutterstock

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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