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MP's to revisit fashion sustainability inquiry

Tom Shearsmith
06 October 2020

The Environmental Audit Committee has confirmed it will follow-up its work on the 2018 inquiry, Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability.

The Committee has chosen to revisit the issue to monitor progress due to continued concerns around the environmental impact of the fashion industry and working conditions in UK garment factories.

The Government rejected most of the Committee’s recommendations in 2019, which ranged from a producer responsibility charge to requiring due diligence checks across fashion supply chains to root out forced or child labour.

The Government has however identified textile waste as a priority area to address its Resources and Waste Strategy.

The global fashion industry is estimated to have produced around 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018; the equivalent to the combined emissions of France, Germany and the UK.

While two thirds of clothing is either donated or collected for resale or low quality recycling, around 336,000 tonnes is disposed of in household bins destined for landfill or incineration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on garment factories in Leicester. Reports of poor working conditions suggests there has been little improvement since the Committee’s report, which recommended regular audits.

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne, said: “Two years, four fashion seasons and billions of tonnes of harmful emissions from textile production later, my Committee has decided to revisit its fashion sustainability work.

“Two years on, I hope there have been some improvements in the fashion industry. We will be unearthing whether this is the case, and what more needs to be done to secure our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The Committee is inviting written evidence, including answers to the following questions:

  • What progress has been made in reducing the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry since the 2018 report came out?
  • What impact has the pandemic had on fashion waste?
  • What would be the most effective measures industry or Government could put in place to ensure that materials made with forced labour are removed from the supply chain?
  • How can any stimulus after the Coronavirus crisis be used to promote a more sustainable fashion industry?
  • What actions could the Government take to incentivise the use of recycled or reused fibres and materials in the UK fashion industry?

The Committee’s follow-up work will consist of gathering written evidence and a one-off oral evidence session. Details of the evidence session will be announced in due course.

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