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Thursday 25 April 2019



MPs call ‘fast fashion’ retailers to give evidence

Written by Hannah McGrath

Leading ‘fast fashion’ e-tailers have been called to give evidence to parliament on the effect of cheap clothes on the environment and workers’ wages.

The Environmental Audit Committee has written to Amazon, Asos, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Misguided to invite them to contribute to its inquiry on the waste generated by discarded ‘wear-once’ fashion.

The letter highlights “shocking evidence” heard by the committee about the buying practices of some online fashion retailers, which could also be putting UK clothing manufacturers in a position where they can only afford to pay garment works illegally low wages, the committee said.

Labour MP Mary Creagh, who chairs the committee, asked retailers to provide answers to questions about their supply chains, sustainability policy and business models. The retailers were asked to respond by 15 November.

In a statement, Creagh 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.”

She said some of the retailers invited to contribute would be called to appear before the committee to answer questions, but said that in the meantime she hoped her request would 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,” Creagh added.

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