Customer interest in sustainable and responsibly-made clothing is on the rise ©123RF
Customer interest in sustainable and responsibly-made clothing is on the rise ©123RF

Fashion firms should be legally bound to protect supply chain workers

23 November 2018

New research from Fashion Revolution reveals that consumers want fashion brands to address environmental and social issues within their supply chains.

Conducted ahead of Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping events on the retail calendar, the research shows that customer interest in sustainable and responsibly-made clothing is on the rise, with more than one in three consumers considering the environmental (38%) and social (37%) impacts when buying clothes.

The survey, in five of the EU’s largest markets (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy), found green factors including environmental protection (88%) and climate change (85%) were considered the most important issues for fashion brands to address, closely followed by social issues such as global poverty (84%) and gender inequality (77%).

Of those surveyed, 68% of people believed that the government has a role to play in holding fashion brands accountable and ensuring that clothing, shoes and accessories are sustainably produced.

Furthermore, the majority of people believe that fashion brands should be required by law to respect the human rights of everybody involved in making their product (77%) and protect the environment at every stage of making their products (75%), as well as making information available about the environmental impact (72%) and social impact (68%) of their business.

According to Sarah Ditty, policy director at Fashion Revolution, the fashion industry is slow to react to consumers’ desire for more responsibly-made clothing.

She said: “People have an urgent, emotional desire to know more about how their clothes are made, and that they haven’t harmed the environment, the people who made them nor were they tested on animals. And they want governments to hold brands and retailers to account to ensure this happens.”

Ditty added: “We’d like the general public, companies and governments to use our research to help drive change in the fashion industry, to better influence their peers to care more about social and environmental issues in fashion and start asking vital questions about the impacts of our clothing.”

The research comes as fashion search engine Lyst reports that searches including sustainability keywords such as ‘vegan leather’ and ‘organic cotton’ increased by 47% in 2018.

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