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Mission and Service News

Who Made My Clothes?


During our service in Fair Trade Fortnight, we considered the fashion industry.

In autumn 2018 the Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons wrote to sixteen leading UK fashion retailers, among them M&S, ASOS and Boohoo, asking what they are doing to reduce the environmental and social impact of the clothes and shoes they sell.

Report Findings

Each retailer was asked about a range of actions and initiatives, including the use of organic or sustainable cotton, limiting the discharge of hazardous chemicals, and the re-use or recycling of unsold stock.


Retailers were then grouped into three categories that reflect their commitment to sustainable fashion and living wage initiatives. These are: less engaged, moderately engaged and engaged retailers.


Least Engaged:   JD Sports; Sports Direct; TK Maxx; Amazon; Boohoo; and Misguided


Moderately engaged:   Next; Debenhams; Arcadia Group; and Asda Stores


Most engaged:    ASOS; Marks and Spencer; Tesco; Primark; and Burberry


It concludes

Current business model for UK fashion industry is unsustainable

Exploitative practices must end

Retailers must lead change through labour market and environmental sustainability practices

Retailers should show leadership through engagement with industry initiatives


By making informed choices when buying clothes, we can help to improve this situation.


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