Fast Fashion’s Wild West days might be coming to an end, at least in Europe. CNBC is reporting that UK lawmakers recently questioned several online retailers about “the impact of their production processes on workers and the environment” as they consider policies to “[reduce] the harm caused by cheap garment production.”
According to the article, Mary Creagh, chair of the UK government’s Environmental Audit Committee, “wrote to five online-only fashion retailers — including global firms Amazon and ASOS — to request 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.”
According to Creagh, “Low quality £5 ($6.51) 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.” (A little late to the party on that one, but glad she finally got here nonetheless.)
“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.”
Amazon, because it’s Amazon, “declined to comment on the issue,” while an ASOS spokesperson said, “ASOS is looking forward to co-operating with the committee,” in an email to CNBC.
Whatever information those companies decide to disclose, this is the first instance of Western lawmakers actually cracking down on one of the most deleterious industries, well, ever. And that’s a very good thing.
You can read more about it at CNBC.