The Environmental Audit Committee has called on five leading online-only fashion retailers to give evidence as part of its sustainability of the fashion industry inquiry.
The Chair of the Committee has written letters, published today, to Amazon, Asos, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Misguided, and is inviting some of them to give evidence in Parliament.
The Committee is 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.
Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said:
“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.
“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.”
On 30th October, the Committee heard shocking evidence that the buying practices of some online fashion retailers may be putting British clothing manufacturers in a position where they can only afford to pay garment workers illegally low wages.
Concerns were also raised about the low-quality of some ‘fast fashion’ garments and the excessive waste that this business model is generating.
The Committee will publish the written responses once they are received.
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